Starting Over

What does it mean to "work on yourself"?

What does it mean to "work on yourself"?  And to "know what you want & need" out of life & a relationship?

STBXH was MIA for the last year of our marriage w/ working full-time + taking night classes.  I spent TONS of time alone, developing my hobbies & interests, spending time w/ friends, deepening my sense of self.  As a person I feel confident & feel like I know myself very well.

Coming out of my marriage, I have learned what I want & need from a relationship: stability, someone responsible w/ finances, doesn't use drugs/have addiction issues.  I felt like a mother to my husband in my marriage.

Since ending my marriage, I've made a list of all the things I want to do in my life: places I want to visit, goals & dreams that I have for my personal life as well as my career, etc.

So I guess my question is, what advice do you have for someone recently coming out of of marriage?  What "things" do I need to work on?

Re: What does it mean to "work on yourself"?

  • image ReturnOfKuus:
    Nothing, looks like.

    I'm not trying to be smart.. I'm honestly asking what this means.  It just seems like a vague statement that people say after coming out a relationship.

  • image olive555:

    What does it mean to "work on yourself"? 

    Ha, I asked this same question at the end of my marriage.

    I think it's a phrase people use because it sounds right, not because they know exactly what it means.

    I also think many people assume it means therapy.

    image




    Good grief!
  • I would look back to the time before things got really obviously awful in your relationship for anything that now stands out to you as a red flag that maybe you missed or dismissed at the time.  This will help you to spot trouble in your future relationships.  I would also think about why you were attracted to someone who was so bad for you, and look for similar patterns across all of your romantic relationships.
  • image renegade gaucho:
    I would look back to the time before things got really obviously awful in your relationship for anything that now stands out to you as a red flag that maybe you missed or dismissed at the time.  This will help you to spot trouble in your future relationships.  I would also think about why you were attracted to someone who was so bad for you, and look for similar patterns across all of your romantic relationships.

    Okay I like this explanation. :)

    image




    Good grief!
  • image renegade gaucho:
    I would look back to the time before things got really obviously awful in your relationship for anything that now stands out to you as a red flag that maybe you missed or dismissed at the time.  This will help you to spot trouble in your future relationships.  I would also think about why you were attracted to someone who was so bad for you, and look for similar patterns across all of your romantic relationships.

    I would also use this time to scrutize your decisions in the past and how those decisions lead you the place you are now. If you are thoughtful about not being true to yourself, not honest about your feelings or squashing your feelings in lieu of someone elses than hopefully you will take time to relearn how to take care of yourself again. Putting yourself first, making good decisions for yourself and being honest about who the people are around you and why they are in your life. These questions lead to more questions, which hopefully will lead to making better decisions. Therapy, in my experience, has helped this process.

  • image doglove:

    image renegade gaucho:
    I would look back to the time before things got really obviously awful in your relationship for anything that now stands out to you as a red flag that maybe you missed or dismissed at the time.  This will help you to spot trouble in your future relationships.  I would also think about why you were attracted to someone who was so bad for you, and look for similar patterns across all of your romantic relationships.

    I would also use this time to scrutize your decisions in the past and how those decisions lead you the place you are now. If you are thoughtful about not being true to yourself, not honest about your feelings or squashing your feelings in lieu of someone elses than hopefully you will take time to relearn how to take care of yourself again. Putting yourself first, making good decisions for yourself and being honest about who the people are around you and why they are in your life. These questions lead to more questions, which hopefully will lead to making better decisions. Therapy, in my experience, has helped this process.

    This is my definition as well. 

    Spending time alone, picking up a new hobby, saying you won't date another drug addict, and making a bucket list is really surface-level stuff.  It's good stuff, don't get me wrong, but it's just the start of a longer conversation. 

    This is my siggy.
  • image olive555:

    What does it mean to "work on yourself"?  And to "know what you want & need" out of life & a relationship?So I guess my question is, what advice do you have for someone recently coming out of of marriage?  What "things" do I need to work on?

    What I can say is what I need personally since everyone's situation is different.  I desire to have good connections and relationships/friendships with others that are beyond the superficial surface that are healthy and prospering.  To achieve this, I need to be in tuned with what is going on inside of me and see how I am relating to others.

    I loved my marriage and my stbxh and I didn't have a choice with this divorce nor did I see it coming.  With that said my version of "things I need to work on" means not ignoring the grief process and face it head on. It also means realigning my identity/self without my stbxh before getting into another relationship or I will bring part of the past relationship into the new one and that can't be healthy.  Finding my inner balance and feeling connected with my heart mind and spirit.  What I mean by that is feeling alert and very aware of what my heart and mind is saying and taking action by making/doing clear choices on the path I want to go when encountered with sticky decision making.  Usually if I am sad or depressed, I feel so disconnected and dissociated.  I want to make sure I feel connected before getting into another relationship.  And honestly, I when I feel connected, I can see the red flags a lot quicker, I will also know what I want or don't want as each day comes by.  It also means I have to look at the hard truth of the things that are not so good about me and deal with those.

    I am achieving the above by staying close to good healthy friends, staying away from toxic people, and weekly therapy with someone who is really talented, and practicing the 4 agreements.  What made me decide to go to therapy was the fact I had so many failed relationship and I had to take responsibility that I am part of the reasons they didn?t work out.

     

  • I recently blogged about something similar to this.  I always thought I'd do work on myself for X amount of time and then poof, I would have "arrived" at a perfect state of self awareness.

    I now realize that everytime I think I've got it all figured out something comes along to make me realize that I can and need to learn more.  I don't think there's any point in time where we stop discovering more about what we want out of our lives or stop trying to become better people.  Or, at least, I don't want to reach that point. 

    That being said, I would say about two or so years after my separation I felt like I really started to 'get it' more.  I have been really focusing on bettering myself and my personal goals for life and my career.  I also have been really working on being honest with others and having conversations that need to be had, instead of avoiding things because I want everyone to like me.  I've also really examined motives for why I have and continue to do things and sometimes this is really uncomfortable (like I realized that I was so miserable at work because I was basically throwing an internal shiit fit that I hadn't been promoted and it ended up being completely counterproductive).

    Anyways, sounds like you're taking a lot of strides towards becoming a better person-good for you!

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  • Work on whatever the hell you want. Seriously, do what you want. If you want to take up a hobby, do it. If you want to plant a garden, do it. Paint your walls a bright color, get new bedding, whatever you want. This time is about you. Start doing the things on your list!

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  • I think it means different things for different people. Honestly, nothing in your post makes me think that you obviously need to "work on yourself". Some people obviously need therapy; others need to learn how to be alone. Some people have been so wrapped up in being a part of a couple that they lost sight of their own goals, interests, friends and hobbies. For some people, it can mean getting healthy or in shape. It really just depends on where you are in your life and if you're happy about that place.

    I think that it's intentionally vague because what one person needs is not what someone else needs. 

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