rewriting my dictionary

Last week I posted about the deep-reaching nature of my healing process.  In that post I explained how perhaps the most difficult task for me is self-acceptance.

At the root of this struggle are some very rigid ideas about what it means to be successful, to be happy, to be good.

I first realized what my ideas about success and my beliefs about what a “good” life looks like were back when I was married to Mr. X and we were in the midst of dealing with infertility.  Suddenly, I realized that not only had I always thought I would be a mother, and not only that I had always thought that I should be a mother, but also that I must be a mother in order to have a meaning in my life.  It’s pretty heavy stuff to face the idea that you may never realize the path you thought was necessary for a meaningful life.

I don’t know how much I was actually able to challenge this belief of mine before the Great Escape and subsequent months of agony leading up to my divorce.  I do know that I realized somewhere in those months that I also had very harsh ideas about what it means to be divorced, and even what it means to be single past a certain age.  Ouch.  There is nothing more painful than being the object of your own rejection.

I don’t want to believe that I think a good life requires a (happy) marriage with children.  I don’t want to believe that being childless and divorced makes me somewhat pathetic.  I am becoming more and more aware all the time of the system of beliefs that under-girds much of my pain and want so badly to start over, to rewrite my dictionary of ideas, to release all that no longer serves me.*

I have a very difficult system set up for myself.  It’s a no-win way of living, and I’m tired of it.  It’s taken going through this last year (or thirty) of loss and angst to become cognizant of how much of my pain radiates from within, from my own worldview, and not from my circumstances.

More and more I am hopeful that I can change that worldview, that I can rewrite my internal dictionary, that I can learn a new way of being in the world.  It’s hard, but not as hard as not changing would be.

*Thanks to Lavender Luz for this phrasing.

6 responses to “rewriting my dictionary

  1. This is a great post. Fabulous. I often feel this way also. I don’t know where or how I developed the ideas of what I needed to be to be acceptable, loveable or whatever but I want so much to change that idea in myself.

  2. You are showing so much growth and strength in these new posts. You are amazing.

  3. We all have a script. Some think it was written for them, some have to go on and change it.

    Do well. It takes a lot of strength to bare oneself to oneself.

  4. This is such a wise post, QD. You have shed so much already.

    The flip side of releasing what no longer serves you is to embrace what DOES serve you. So as I consciously do a release, it might go something like this:

    “I release the belief that a good life requires a husband and children. I embrace the belief that I live a good life right now.”


    “I release the belief that being divorced and childless is pathetic. I embrace the belief that I am living joyously and with full consciousness.”

    The work you are doing is simple yet hard! Congrats to you for taking it on. Each day. You are inspiring to me.

  5. Well said. It’s very hard to turn a ship on a dime — to reverse the attitudes & beliefs we’ve absorbed over a lifetime & adopt a whole new way of thinking about ourselves. But it’s not that one is wrong & the other is right. It’s just recognizing & accepting that a different life is possible for us than the one we were led to believe would be ours. (((hugs)))

  6. Love this post! The concept of rewriting our personal dictionaries is awesome. There are so many beliefs we hold about ourselves, that we cling to, without really realizing if they are true or not. That’s so obvious, right? But what isn’t so obvious is finding those beliefs and figuring out why we’ve kept them around for so long! WIshing you the best and so happy you are doing the work!


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