Finding Courage from Within

August 10, 2010

in Life Lessons, Singledom

Finding courage within can be challenging, but it is rewarding.

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.

Why?

Because I am courageous.

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Dr. Leah @Singlemommyhood August 10, 2010 at 4:47 pm

Bravo! Our fears can take many forms …you courageously faced your fear. I am so proud of you!

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Naked Girl in a Dress August 10, 2010 at 5:10 pm

Thank you Dr. Leah!

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Elana August 10, 2010 at 6:13 pm

I feel the same way you do about dinner parties and social gatherings, except I’m single and have been for years! I force myself to attend those things anyway, even though I know I will inevitably face the question ‘so, are you *still* single?’…I always have a good time and am reminded how important it is not to isolate myself. Single moms can be great at that! You are a brave and courageous woman and a wonderful writer. Thank you for having a voice, I’ve found it difficult to relate to alot of the single mom blogs out there. Keep it up!

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Naked Girl in a Dress August 10, 2010 at 6:27 pm

Elana~
Thank you for sharing your experience and for the kind words. I enjoy writing so I will keep the content coming!

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Alana Morales August 10, 2010 at 7:11 pm

Congrats and good for you! May you continue to build on your success and face your fears! :)

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Major Bedhead August 10, 2010 at 7:18 pm

The nature of my marriage in its last couple of years meant that I did most things alone, but they were always with tried-and-true friends. The real test came when I went to my first Tweet up, where I knew no one, alone. That was nerve wracking and scared the bejesus out of me. But I kept doing it because I knew if I didn’t, I’d become a total shut-in. I tend to be misanthropic at the best of times and going thru a divorce just intensified that urge. It still sucks and it’s still difficult but I keep doing it, in the hopes that it will get better one of these days. It will get better. Won’t it? *whimper*
Major Bedhead recently posted..The Night I Danced With Barack ObamaMy Profile

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Single Mom Seeking August 10, 2010 at 8:27 pm

I love your spirit! It took me a good two years to say out loud, “I’m a single mom.” But once I finally did, I finally started to meet other single moms. I really get it.
Single Mom Seeking recently posted..Snapshot- Are you still a single mom after you get remarriedMy Profile

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Naked Girl in a Dress August 10, 2010 at 9:44 pm

Thank you for the visit. I guess I am on track since it took me almost two years to go to a dinner party!

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How Does She Do It Mom August 10, 2010 at 9:30 pm

I remember those days like they were yesterday! All of a sudden out of the blue it seems you have no social circle left…you have to reestablish everything…then you get all the questions!!

When I separated from my ex 3 years ago I forced myself to jump on the socializing bandwagon fast…mostly because hanging out at home when the kids were not with me was NOT a good thing for me!

I created a new social circle of friends and while there were scary moments at the start it was the best thing I could have ever done.

Now dating…that was a different story…that took a LOT longer!!

Be strong you sound like you are on the right track!! :)
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Naked Girl in a Dress August 10, 2010 at 9:47 pm

Yes, I do relate to needing something to do when the kids are not with me. I have them most of the time, but it is still hard. I have eaten alone in a restaurant a few times (with a book) so that I didn’t have to be alone in the house. That was in the beginning. I am feeling better now. It’s funny because I didn’t have a problem eating out alone, but I couldn’t face the social aspect of dinner parties!

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singlemama_cc August 10, 2010 at 9:47 pm

Mhmmm you certainly are courageous and I like it…
You’ve got that fierce spark about you….keep it up MomStar!
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Grace August 10, 2010 at 9:53 pm

I had a harder time eating at a restaurant alone than I did going to dinner parties alone. I think the reason is that pretty much throughout my marriage, people thought my husband was odd, and social situations were less awkward when he wasn’t around. What’s that the comedian Bill Engvall says? “Here’s your sign!”

I’m sorry that was difficult for you, and I’m sorry you’re even going through this. But I will tell you this: it’s been 3 years since my divorce was final, and I catch myself feeling happy for no particular reason. My life is so much better now. And I hope the same for you.
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Naked Girl in a Dress August 10, 2010 at 10:17 pm

Thanks Grace. I am already happier now that we are separated, but I am frustrated with the divorce process. It can just drag me down at times. I am looking forward to putting the divorce issues behind me and moving forward with my life. Your support has been wonderful and you already know I love your blog!

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Robin G August 11, 2010 at 1:28 am

Way to go.

I am big on facing fears. I really don’t like having things that scare me. I have spent too much of my life afraid. So when something scares me, I know I have to face it. It’s the only way to reclaim my power.

I don’t always do it quickly. Sometimes I have to prepare myself emotionally or spiritually first, but eventually I do. And I am better.

I am glad you are opening yourself up to more possibilities by taking the power away from this fear.

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veronica lee August 11, 2010 at 1:55 am

Bravo and way to go! That’s the spirit, sista!

Hi! Stopping by from MBC. Great blog.
Have a nice day!
veronica lee recently posted..Miniland ZooMy Profile

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Jen August 11, 2010 at 9:59 am

You went AND you stayed out TOO late ;)
xo
JK

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T August 11, 2010 at 11:40 am

I went to my 20 year high school reunion as a single. I had no idea how I’d feel but instead decided to OWN IT and had a blast.

I love it. We DO have to face our fears. Sometimes I wonder if my divorce wasn’t the best thing that’s happened to me.
T recently posted..Lets continue this talk about sexMy Profile

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Momma Sunshine August 11, 2010 at 6:43 pm

This is one of my favourite quotes, one that I hold close to me because it’s so true:

“Whatever you fear most has no power – it is your fear that has the power.” — Oprah Winfrey
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Ash August 11, 2010 at 10:00 pm

Fantastic for you!

I had a friend explain to me that firing someone is kind of like throwing up – completely horrible until the moment of purge, then, sweet peace.

I have a feeling that metaphor could be applied to a lot – including taking that first step into a dinner party.

Way to be brave.
Ash recently posted..For ReidMy Profile

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Cheryl @ Mommypants August 21, 2010 at 5:13 pm

Good for you! Small bricks lead to a strong foundation upon which to build, right?

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Missy @ Wonder, Friend August 22, 2010 at 11:05 pm

You are courageous! Facing fears – aagh. We all need to do it, though. Sharing your story is certainly going to help someone else find their own courage.
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Naked Girl in a Dress August 23, 2010 at 10:24 pm

Missy,

I hope the piece is inspiring to others. That would be a wonderful gift I could share.

Thanks for visiting.

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Helena August 23, 2010 at 10:29 am

I love this post. You are very courageous. Beautifully written.

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Naked Girl in a Dress August 23, 2010 at 10:23 pm

Thank you Helena.

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Adelle @ ready...GO!...get set August 23, 2010 at 3:25 pm

This was lovely. Daily as I struggle getting my kids to and fro, I think of my MIL who did this all alone and I am in awe. You ARE courageous! And you are sharing that courage with the world. A good thing.

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Naked Girl in a Dress August 23, 2010 at 10:22 pm

Thank you Adelle!

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Stacey @ Entropified September 4, 2010 at 10:45 am

Keep going! Keep growing!

I am a person of many fears. But it can be kind of fun to meet them head on and see if you can obliterate them. :)
Stacey @ Entropified recently posted..ShrinkingMy Profile

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