Every crisis, every major event holds a wealth of information about yourself, some of it good, some of it less than good. Seeing the less than good is an opportunity for change but, and it’s a big but … you have to be willing to see it and then want to change it.
When my current guest Kimberly talked about dating after divorce, she said it was six years before she was ready and that was due to a combination of the age of her children and self-work. Here’s Kimberly talking about her self-development:
I spent a lot of time working on getting over the marriage and getting over the relationship, did a lot of self-healing, took a lot of courses, did a lot of reading. I really worked on what it was about myself that I didn’t particularly like.
I thought, “This is the time I can devote to that.” I got myself in shape and did a lot of self-reflecting just trying to figure out what went wrong in the marriage, what I could learn from that experience and what I might do differently the next time around.
I learned that I was very much a controlling type person, very much a “Type A” personality and I realized that I could still be myself without having to be quite so controlling.
As an example, although one of my strengths is finances, I was probably a little bit too controlling telling him what he could and could not buy and what he could and could not spend. Rather than working together towards that, it was just “I do the budget and I’m telling you, you can’t spend that money,” kind of thing. That was the biggest thing that I worked on.
And “Type A” personality is a person too that if you have a goal in mind you do whatever needs to be done to achieve that goal and sometimes you’re not always the nicest person. So, I worked on not being quite so aggressive, being more diplomatic, less controlling.
After all of the self-reflection, there’s always the decision that you have to make. Do you want to stay the way that you are or do you want to change. I decided that I wanted to change. So, I worked on it. I took courses. I have a support system of friends, so I leaned on them to help me with it. I did a lot of reading.
A lot of it is one day at a time. Once you’re aware of things that you do and say, it’s a lot easier to change them, if you want to. It’s a very slow process and it starts with being aware of what you want to change and then everyday just working towards doing that. Some days were better than others. Even today, seventeen years later, there are some days where I’m better at it than others but I keep trying, I keep working on it.
What I particularly like about Kimberly’s approach and what makes it so doable for all of us, is that it didn’t involve any huge expense or participation in a formal program. If you’re interested enough in changing yourself it’s easy now, thanks to the Internet to find tons of resources and many of them are very accessible and affordable. Finding courses offered within your local community is also a great way of meeting new friends.
The most valuable source of self-learning for me has come from all my interviews for this blog. I didn’t start out to do that – I was simply collecting stories of significant accomplishments but I can honestly say that I have learned something about myself from each and every interview and I am sure my learning will continue. And were it not for my divorce, I would not have started this blog. I feel very grateful to all my interviewees for sharing their stories.
What’s been your source of learning?
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