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Laura Campbell

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How Could I Do That? And Other Ways we are our Own Worst Enemy?

Posted: 06/15/11 05:55 PM ET

My divorce taught me more about myself than any other experience or time in my life. And for that I am grateful.

The years since my divorce (almost 7 of them), have been filled with questions and more questions, self discovery and more self discovery.

Not only did it cause me to work towards understanding what went wrong in my marriage, but on a much deeper and important level, it caused me to work towards understanding why I do what I do...then, and now.

I have asked myself over and over, why did I do it? Why did I choose to marry someone that I knew deep inside was not the right fit for me?

How could I do it? How could I not only choose it, but stay in a marriage that was not right for me? For a long, long time?

Or perhaps you are asking yourself, why did it end? What did I do wrong? Why did he leave me?

Have you ever asked yourself these questions?

I am proud to say, that during these almost 7 years, I have truly gained an understanding of why I do what I do and, I have learned how not to be my own worst enemy.

At the same time, in learning about myself, I have also learned why all people do what they do, and why. Understanding what motivates and drives people to do what they do is the single most valuable skill I possess.

No one told me to get married. No one told me to stay in my marriage.

However, like most of us, I never learned how to make difficult choices. And, I never learned how great relationships really work.

Nor, did I learn how to move through difficult transitions or to work through situations that are highly emotionally charged.

As a society, we don't have a curriculum for this in school (although it is my personal opinion that these issues should be taught at a high school and college level), and very few parents make teaching these skills a priority.

We make sure that we give our children all kinds of lessons (dance, music, art...) to enhance their skills and interests and of course, all young athletes have a coach to teach, guide and advise them.

But in the one area that can use a guide or coach the most, we have no training....and that is life. Yes, we all need to be taught, guided and advised on how to lead an exceptional life.

So, what did I learn over these years? I learned that often I, myself, am my own worst enemy. And that I am not the only one to do this.

I sometimes allow my fears; limiting beliefs and insecurities guide my choices.
When I got married, I was young, and "uneducated". Uneducated in life and love.
I didn't know any better.

And, my marriage was not the only time I have made a decision that was driven my "ignorance". Rather, I can name countless choices that I have made over the years because I had not yet begun my journey of self discovery. I was absolutely my own worst enemy.

Now, however, I am not. And I have my divorce to thank for that.

My divorce was the catalyst for my own personal journey of self discovery, awareness and growth. Essentially; it was the beginning of my education about "life".

Here are three ways that you can stop being your own worst enemy:

Take Responsibility -- the first step in getting out of your own way is to accept responsibility for being your own worst enemy. It is easy to blame others for all of the reasons why we made the choices we have. However the truth is that there are few decisions in life that we are forced to make by someone else. Living your ideal life means being accountable for your actions, words, and choices.

Reclaim Control -- once you accept responsibility for your life, it is necessary to gain control of it. If you don't feel in control of your life, you will be flooded with feelings of overwhelm, fear and anxiety. Ultimately, this can cause you to feel paralyzed, and unable to move forward with any decision. It is critical to develop the confidence and clarity around what you want so that you can be in control of all the choices that you will inevitably be required to make over the course of your daily life.

Go back to "School" -- now is the time to look at your future and learn how to live it the way that you want! Educating yourself in how to make choices, understanding why you (and all people) do what you do and how to most effectively communicate what you want will allow you the freedom to deliberately create what comes next.

While divorce may not be "fun", it can be an exciting time. Through the emotions, fear and overwhelm, you will also experience the greatest growth and transformation, if you open yourself up to it.

Can you remember a time that you were your own worst enemy? What fears, limiting beliefs or lack of knowledge have caused you to make decisions that did not turn out well?

What have you learned as a result of your divorce?

I look forward to sharing stories with you!