Once upon a time, I fell in love. But, alas, the promise of the happily ever after was never realized. I’ve been grieving that perceived loss for longer than I care to admit, and sometimes even shaming myself for it because my inner glutton for punishment enjoys judging a negative feeling. That period of grief has been punctuated by moments of anger that felt justified because I thought this man made me fall in love with him and believe in the possibility of a beautiful future together. After one of my recent, intermittent “woe is me” spells, I was reading a chapter in Glennon Doyle’s book, Untamed, and she shared a piece of wisdom that resonated so profoundly it brought me to tears. She says that anger delivers important information about which one of our boundaries have been crossed, and when we restore the boundary, we honor and liberate ourselves to live with integrity, peace, and power. I would offer that any “negative” or provocative emotion is a response to an attachment, resistance, or both. On the heels of my 35th birthday, I don’t have a wish, but rather an intention for this next year of my life and beyond: my beautiful future, and my present for that matter, is not dependent or attached to any one person except for my loving self.
Doyle describes a boundary as “the edge of one of our root beliefs about ourselves and the world;” and since what we believe we become, there is nothing more important than unearthing what we really believe to be true about ourselves and the circumstances of our life. Her hypothesis is that examining our anger is an effective way to do just that. When I take a hard look at my emotions, I recognize that I have held onto a belief that this novel feeling of love meant that it must have been the right love. Finally, I was convinced that I found the real deal – the one and only. He was my savior because he made me feel safe and protected.. I am angry because hindsight shows me that, in fact, I discounted my knowing self and renounced my power in order to capture and hold on for dear life to a feeling. That feeling was one of arrival; I found my partner to whom I bequeathed the authority to validate my lovability. Finally, I was somebody’s treasure and I was more than willing – excited actually – to give it all to him.
In reflecting back over previous relationships, I have masterfully guarded my heart inside of a protected treasure chest and I never allowed anyone to completely unlock it. Maybe all those Disney movies that idealize love ingrained some deep-seeded belief that Prince Charming was going to gallop up to the towering wall of my castle and free me. At last, my Prince did come, and I not only lowered the drawbridge, but I gave him the key to my treasure. I let down my hair and stretched out my hand so he could hoist me onto his horse and carry me away into the beautiful sunset of our future. I shed my armored warrior facade to reveal the delicate Princess yearning for salvation. I allowed him to open my chest, and I willingly gave him a piece of my treasure until it was clear that the real wealth was to be pursued elsewhere.
As I reach the final chapter of this story and look towards the sequel, I am being called to make a decision: what do I want to believe now? Further examination shows me that my subconscious construct has been that love is finite; there is only so much of it and only so much time to experience it. My sense of betrayal exposed an assumption that any man could steal both my love and my time. My empowered self tells me that it’s time to change the narrative from someday my Prince will come and give me love to whichever Prince comes next better have a horse fast enough to keep stride with me. Perhaps we will define a new destination together. And if not, I really like the space of love where I am heading, despite the arduousness of the journey. I am observing the blessed abundance in my life and what I have created, and no one can rob that from me. The gift of that relationship was not the package inside of the box, it was the process of opening it. My treasure was finally exposed and now I must decide if I am willing to keep it out in the open at risk of being pillaged by some hypothetical future heart pirate. Truthfully, I am scared. But it is so much more fun to play with my proverbial fortune than keep it locked away. Perhaps my Prince Charming is out there on his own treasure hunt as we speak. In the meantime, I am going to bask in the glory of knowing that I am my ultimate source of wealth.