So today marks the passing of Hour-72 since my break-up. And I'm not even sure I'm allowed to call it that since we never defined or labeled our relationship - at least beyond “Fashion Coach.” But there was an affinity, whether it was designated or not; so there is a coping process I have to navigate.
However, this is not a tear-in-my-beer piteous post about my wounded berries. Nor will it be an explanation of what happened or a venting of any sort. That would be tacky, and I've been uncivil enough to date.
But enough with the disclaimer and on to my point...I was discussing this with a friend when I mentioned I wasn't really that upset but it was curious how quickly habits form. What I meant was in only a month's time, certain patterns had already occurred. Now that I won't call or visit, there is a void where those behaviors happened.
This is where my epiphany occurred. And it's nothing new; people have acknowledged it for centuries, but somehow the idiosyncrasy of this change revealed the ancient wisdom to me. I was far less bothered by the “break-up” and more so for having to fill that above-mentioned void.
Further, the not knowing what to do and standing on unfamiliar ground created apprehension. Humans fear the unknown and the uncertain. Taking it even one more step, we don't like to have fear as an emotional state for long. We are biologically designed for a fight-or-flight response. Thus, often this apprehension turns to anger - and it did in my case as well.
Counselors will tell us that battered women will stay in abusive relationships because the fear of leaving the familiarity is worse for them than the physical and psychological abuse they endure. Often when they do leave, there is a scornful wrath associated with the exodus - perhaps a vindictive justice for the wrongs done to them, but also much anger comes from this fear of going into the unknown.
My mind then drifted to the animated scene in The Wall where Pink Floyd sings the lyrics, “What shall we use to fill the empty spaces where we used to talk?” And while this scene also refers to a break-up, it really is about coping with change. The change could be as painful as a death or as a simple as a change in the economy; it all promotes anxiety, fear and potentially anger. I wonder how often we blame our anger on occurrences when it is more likely our own poor coping method to something changing.
The ironic part of this free-associated writing is I called this an epiphany earlier, but it was only a week ago I explained this very concept to my daughter, just using different words. I told Rachel that stress is caused not by events but rather the unexpectedness of the events. Expected difficulties make us far less angry than when we don't get what we anticipate.
So in closing, I claim only that I have rediscovered the same truth spoken by the Father of Taoism a long time ago. Lao Tzu said, “Act without expectation.” How much happier I would be if I would follow that advice.
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