Let your why be your way.
Long before I ever got divorced, I thought about leaving many (many) times. In fact, it wasn’t even a secret in my house. My ex and I spoke matter of factly about it multiple times. There were ultimatums, attempts at setting up counseling, packing bags and long weekends at my parents. I knew in my heart and soul, we were not better together, in fact it was quite the opposite. So, what took so long? If you had asked me then, I very quickly would’ve justified my actions by saying I stayed for my kids. They are the most important gift I have ever been given and it was easy to say (and truly think), they were best off with their parents under the same roof.
Before my children were even born, I was already accustomed to “mothering” everyone around me. My patients, my siblings, my friends. I took care of everyone. When Ben was born, that instinct expanded a million-fold. Bailey came so quickly after that my mama bear internal setting was off the charts less than two years after experiencing even being a mother. Everything I did was for my kids. Everything. If you asked me why I did something – worked extra shifts, skipped sleep after a night shift, and yes, even stayed in my marriage – I would have told you it was for them.
It’s taken a long time to accept the fact that my kids (my why) were an excuse to stay in my marriage. That feels so gross to say out loud. But I was afraid, and at that time I was not a person that became afraid. I lied to everyone, myself included. Staying for my kids was easier. Getting divorced is HARD. Being a single parent is hard. Living on one income is hard. Feeling guilty is hard. And I was afraid of all of it. So, my why was my excuse.
When I realized this, I began to see all the other ways I was letting all my whys become excuses. It wasn’t just my kids. I wanted to be a good example, so I fell in line and did things to be liked instead of to inspire. I wanted a magical relationship, so I jumped into the first relationship I found even though I knew it wasn’t the right one. And even still, I catch myself. I wanted to feel secure and content, so I stayed on a career path that was ready for the next step (yup, this just happened).
It’s also now easier to spot this in others. SO many people hold themselves back, blaming it on their why. Their children, their significant other, their financial security. I understand. They are afraid. And they don’t know yet. They don’t know that their why is THE WAY.
In the end, I left my marriage BECAUSE of my kids. I knew they deserved a better example of mutual love and respect. They weren’t my excuse any longer. They provided me with the way, and gave me the courage to be bigger than my fear. It wasn’t easy for any of us at first. There were sacrifices, as there are in anything that is worthwhile. But they now have THREE parents that love them AND the best example of how a relationship can be.
What is your why? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? Is it your kids? Your passion for your job? The desire to change lives? Ask yourself WHY you do what you do. Then look at the excuses in your life. We all make them. You know what they are. You might not call them excuses, but that’s what they are. Are you using your why to excuse you from action? Are you afraid of the work it might take to accomplish a goal? Are you afraid of failing? Are you afraid of what other people think? If you are ready to stop, do just that, STOP. Stop making excuses and definitely stop using the people and things you love most to account for them. Instead, try another way. Ask yourself what is really holding you back? And then … let your why inspire the way to your dreams.