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“When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help”  – Thich Naht Hanh

Life is not fair.

Its not fair that my pain and suffering before I met my husband spilled over into our marriage. He didn’t deserve it. He didn’t deserve to be treated the way I did. He deserved honesty from me. Intimacy. He deserved the best of me.

Its not fair that I got cheated on. I didn’t deserve it. I did not deserve the lies. The betrayal. The pain. The way it makes me question everything. I deserved honesty and intimacy. I deserved compassion, not punishment.

After we got married, we planted a garden and didn’t tend to it. We didn’t water it. We didn’t pull the weeds. We didn’t prune. We didn’t keep the rodents out.We just figured nature would take care of it. It would get the water it needed from the rain. But we didn’t account for drought. We didn’t plan for the garden drying up. While we didn’t see it at the time, our garden died right in front of us. We were too busy. Too angry. Too resentful. Too complacent. Too naive. We didn’t fight for our garden. We just let it die.

The good news is that a garden can be re-planted. You can heal the soil. You can introduce nutrients that will help it regenerate. You can use proper tools to keep your garden healthy and growing. You can water it. Prune it. Tend to it. Show it love. Show it attention. But you need to put in the work. Some days will be exhausting. Some days you’ll be covered in dirt. Its a ton of work, but worth it in the end. In the end, you can enjoy beautiful flowers and food to nourish your body. The hardest part is starting. Tilling the soil. Re-planting the seeds. Hoping you learned from your past mistakes. Hoping you can see this garden flourish. Hoping you will feel fulfillment from it. Its a little bit of a leap of faith, sure. But more importantly its a decision and a commitment to try again. Try harder. Utilize the lessons you learned from your past mistakes to do better.

True healing, true forgiveness and moving on is not looking to justify your actions and/or blame your spouse. Its not looking to punish the person that hurt you. It doesn’t say that the hurt never happened. It doesn’t’ mean that the hurt was deserved or that the action was acceptable. Its saying the hurt doesn’t control you. Its letting go of fear. Its letting go of a prisoner and learning the prisoner was you.