Separation and divorce create many challenges. Financial, work/life balance, and solo parenting are a few examples. Aside from the obvious challenges, there are fears that develop as a result of this big life change. By facing these challenges and fears, there is the ability to develop or strengthen courage.
In the past 20 months of separation, I have recognized fears in me that I never felt as I faced the world with a partner. Last Saturday, almost 2 years after developing a fear as a result of my separation, I met one of my fears head-on and beat it; I went to a dinner party alone.
This may seem silly, but it was a very real fear I have been struggling with the entire time I have been separated. With few exceptions, I have declined dinner and party invitations repeatedly. I would build up the courage to attend on occasion, only to send a last minute note to a hostess that I was unable to attend. Fear would take hold and I could not follow through.
There is a new post at Singlemommyhood on this very topic; a mother is overwhelmed at the thought of registering her child for Kindergarten. She feels embarrassed to have separate addresses for each parent and other details she must share. For some this may seem laughable, but like my fear of socializing, it is a real fear for this mom.
“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”
— Anais Nin
What I have learned, after finally finding the courage to attend a dinner, is that it was ok. I enjoyed myself and didn’t feel awkward in the group. The conversations were lively and I laughed a lot. By giving way to this fear to socialize solo, my life had shrunk. I denied myself the chance to see friends and meet new people.
“We could never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world.”
— Helen Keller
I am learning to embrace the challenges of separation and divorce because I have the opportunity to grow as a result. This experience has changed my life for the better. Separation has allowed me to grow into a happier and more self-reliant person. For that and many other reasons, I am grateful.
There have been fears I have overcome and some I still have yet to conquer. But what I know is that I become stronger and more capable to tackle a fear with each one I beat. I am not sure what I will tackle next, but I know I will succeed.
Because I am courageous.