09 July 2012

Those Aren't Fightin' Words

I read this  NY Times article a few months ago, and really admired and respected the author.  Then, when I co-worker of mine told me that her husband said he no longer loved her, I dug it up again to share with her.  As I read through it again myself I was reminded of the amazing truths she articulates. 

A quote:

"You see, I’d recently committed to a non-negotiable understanding with myself. I’d committed to “The End of Suffering.” I’d finally managed to exile the voices in my head that told me my personal happiness was only as good as my outward success, rooted in things that were often outside my control. I’d seen the insanity of that equation and decided to take responsibility for my own happiness. And I mean all of it."

And another,

"I simply had come to understand that I was not at the root of my husband’s problem. He was. If he could turn his problem into a marital fight, he could make it about us. I needed to get out of the way so that wouldn’t happen."

And one more,

"When life’s knocked us around. And our childhood myths reveal themselves to be just that. The truth feels like the biggest sucker-punch of them all: it’s not a spouse or land or a job or money that brings us happiness. Those achievements, those relationships, can enhance our happiness, yes, but happiness has to start from within. Relying on any other equation can be lethal."

If you are still struggling to understand detachment, or just need some courage or motivation, her words might inspire you.

But, for me it is just this ever-present struggle to fight self-pity.  I am STUCK on the idea that in fact, relationships, success and so-called beauty are the things that would make me happy if I had more friends, better behaved children, or more completed home improvement projects. 

I'm currently reading a book that is making me really ponder the idea that I am entitled to certain things, or that I deserve a certain life.  I'll write more about it later, but in the meantime I'm working hard to accept that a lot of time can be wasted in bitterness about being denied what I thought I deserved.  Just like she said, some childhood myths turn out to be just that.  I can let that sucker-punch knock me down, and let the disappointment justify my underlying sadness. 

Or I can duck. 

(Now go read the whole article, I promise this one isn't too long! And my last line will only make sense if you do.)



  1. I am in love with this! a mantra to live by. thanks for sharing.

  2. Um, wow.

    So this is at the other end of boundaries, I think...about really, truly respecting the space and agency of another, not "taking on" their stuff.

    WOW. Thank you for sharing this.

  3. I LOVE that article! The principle of not allowing other's UNHAPPINESS to affect YOUR happiness is so powerful! This is honestly by biggest endeavor in life right now! Even with shallow situations, like friends who get offended if I can't hang out because I have other plans. Sorry, not my problem. (Not to sound insensitive).

    I love this post so much! Thank you for sharing.

  4. I recently finished her whole book: "This is not the story you think it is". AWESOME. I loved every word.
    Thanks for writing this--the principles you wrote about today came at such a good time. My ex is in town and always pushes every single boundary I set down for Sam. I am playing hardball and standing my ground. Because his issues have nothing to do with us. And it's not my job to appease him. My job is to protect Samuel and myself. So, thank you for those reminders.

  5. Nora -- sending hugs and prayers your way!

  6. I love this! Thanks for sharing it. It was perfect for me today. Out of curiousity, what's teh book you're reading?