I had an epiphany last night.
It started with my therapy appointment last night. My therapist thinks that I’m doing really well, and doing a great job utilizing all I’ve learned and all the tools available to stay on track. I know I’m determined to stay focused on my job, and I’m going to work as hard as I can to be the best one on my team. I must force myself to spend time alone and make sure I’m comfortable with it. I will not allow myself to get involved with anyone too quickly. As my new relationship grows, we will not have sex every time we get together. I will not allow lust to be the reason for being together. I have spent a lot of time identifying what I did wrong when choosing someone to be with, and I’m going to apply those lessons and not make the same kind of choices. I will not get married ever again. Ever. My illness will be controlled. I know what my mistakes have been, and I’m not going to make them again.
I’ve got it all wrong.
There’s nothing wrong with being determined that I get better. I certainly don’t want to keep doing the same thing over and over that has been so unsuccessful in the past. Learning from my experiences is important to understand how I got to where I am today. The goal of all my activities is to break past patterns. I don’t want to make the same mistakes.
It’s the way I’m going about it.
I am an overachiever, and very competitive when it comes to my job. It’s not enough to do what I’m supposed to do; I need to be better than everyone else. I must always exceed expectations. Instead of gauging my success by how much I’ve beaten everyone else however, I should really just try to do the best job I can for myself. If I do a really good job, then I’ll be successful regardless of what everyone else is doing. And that’s what is really important.
How relationships develop really depends on the circumstances. It is a good idea not to become so involved too soon just keep from being alone or throwing yourself into it. But sometimes connections can happen with the right person. If you are both able to come completely honest with each other and open up to be venerable, then there’s nothing wrong with sharing that emotional link. If I force myself not to open up, then I could be losing the chance for something special.
The same is true with physical intimacy. It’s not how often, it’s why. If it’s all about the lust, then the relationship becomes all about that. Intimacy can be a natural development to emotional connections however, and shouldn’t be governed by arbitrary rules. It’s also not fair to be the one deciding if and when it happens. Both have desires and wants, and no one person should dictate.
Never getting remarried? That’s a pretty strong absolute. At this point in time it wouldn’t be smart to think about that level of commitment. And I would have to be in a totally different place and relationship before it could ever become a possibility again. But never? Who knows what the future will bring.
Not making the same mistakes over and over is obviously something I don’t want to do. If I’m so intent on avoiding specific mistakes, then I’m not thinking about other things I’m doing or choices I’m making, and open myself up to making new mistakes. It’s another case of not seeing the forest for the trees.
Breaking old patterns and habits will help change my environment and perceptions. This illness I have is more than just chemical imbalances. Although that is a big part of it, the environment I choose to create affects the triggers that can set off an episode. If I put myself in a position to be able to avoid negative behaviors, I’m much more likely to be able to maintain a reasonable mood.
Here’s the bottom line. My goal shouldn’t be to focus on not making the same mistakes. I shouldn’t try to control who or how I interact with people based on past experiences. I don’t need to create hard and fast rules on developing a relationship. I’m not going to control my environment, my mood or my life through sheer willpower.
My goal is to be healthy.
The way I can become healthier is not to focus on what not to do, but what I should do. Instead of worrying about not repeating the same mistakes, I should make my decisions based on what I want the outcome to be. It shouldn’t be all about the negative, but being positive. If I’m in a good place, I’ll surround myself with good people who will be a good influence. Of course I need to pay attention to my history. There are lessons to be learned and applied. But if I base my choices on what’s healthy instead of what I don’t want to happen, those choices will be good ones. Needless to say, I don’t want to repeat past mistakes. I do want to establish a new approach to my life and break the old habits and patterns. What I’ve realized though is I’ve been too determined about the wrong things. The determination I have is going to be on what it takes to move me forward.
If I can live my life with the goal of being healthy, the rest will follow.