Letting goI came across the following piece the other day quite by accident, but I thought that it was excellent, and wanted to share it with you all.  It’s called “The Awakening” by Virginia Marie Swift.

Virginia is a writer who has had a lot of experience with being wounded. She was sexually abused by her step-father from age 9 to 13. She was married to an emotionally and verbally abusive man for 29 years, until he died in 1991. She then became engaged to another abusive man for 4 years. However, she had grown enough to recognize how unhealthy he was for her and ended that.  She considers herself not just a survivor, but an “overcomer!”

I found “The Awakening” to not only be thought provoking, but inspiring as well, and I think you will too!

The Awakening

By Virginia Marie Swift

A time comes in your life when you finally get it… When in the midst of all your fears and insanity you stop dead in your tracks and somewhere, the voice inside your head cries out – ENOUGH!

Enough fighting and crying, or struggling to hold on. And, like a child quieting down after a blind tantrum, your sobs begin to subside, you shudder once or twice, you blink back your tears and through a mantle of wet lashes, you begin to look at the world through new eyes.

This is your awakening…

You realize that it’s time to stop hoping and waiting for something to change, or for happiness, safety and security to come galloping over the next horizon. You come to terms with the fact that he is not Prince Charming and you are not Cinderella and that in the real world, there aren’t always fairy tale endings (or beginnings for that matter) and that any guarantee of “happily ever after” must begin with you and in the process, a sense of serenity is born of acceptance.

You awaken to the fact that you are not perfect and that not everyone will always love, appreciate or approve of who or what you are … and that’s OK. (They are entitled to their own views and opinions.) And you learn the importance of loving and championing yourself and in the process, a sense of new found confidence is born of self-approval.

You stop complaining and blaming other people for the things they did to you (or didn’t do for you) and you learn that the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected. You learn that people don’t always say what they mean or mean what they say and that not everyone will always be there for you and that it’s not always about you. So, you learn to stand on your own and to take care of yourself and in the process, a sense of safety & security is born of self-reliance.

You stop judging and pointing fingers and you begin to accept people as they are and to overlook their shortcomings and human frailties and in the process, a sense of peace & contentment is born of forgiveness.

You realize that much of the way you view yourself and the world around you, is a result of all the messages and opinions that have been ingrained into your psyche. You begin to sift through all the junk you’ve been fed about how you should behave, how you should look and how much you should weigh, what you should wear and where you should shop and what you should drive, how and where you should live and what you should do for a living, who you should marry and what you should expect of a marriage, the importance of having and raising children or what you owe your parents. You learn to open up to new worlds and different points of view. You begin reassessing and redefining who you are and what you really stand for.

You learn the difference between wanting and needing and you begin to discard the doctrines and values you’ve outgrown, or should never have bought into to begin with and in the process, you learn to go with your instincts.

You learn that it is truly in giving that we receive and that there is power and glory in creating and contributing and you stop manoeuvring through life merely as a “consumer” looking for your next fix.

You learn that principles such as honesty and integrity are not the outdated ideals of a by gone era, but the mortar that holds together the foundation upon which you must build a life.

You learn that you don’t know everything; it’s not your job to save the world and that you can’t teach a pig to sing. You learn to distinguish between guilt and responsibility and the importance of setting boundaries and learning to say NO. You learn that the only cross to bear is the one you choose to carry and that martyrs get burned at the stake.

Then you learn about love. Romantic love and familial love. How to love, how much to give in love, when to stop giving and when to walk away. You learn not to project your needs or your feelings onto a relationship. You learn that you will not be more beautiful, more intelligent, more lovable or important because of the man on your arm or the child that bears your name.

You learn to look at relationships as they really are and not as you would have them be. You stop trying to control people, situations and outcomes.

You learn that just as people grow and change, so it is with love; and you learn that you don’t have the right to demand love on your terms, just to make you happy.

You learn that alone does not mean lonely. You look in the mirror and come to terms with the fact that you will never be a size 5 or a perfect 10 and you stop trying to compete with the image inside your head and agonizing over how you “stack up.”

You also stop working so hard at putting your feelings aside, smoothing things over and ignoring your needs. You learn that feelings of entitlement are perfectly OK and that it is your right, to want things and to ask for the things that you want and that sometimes it is necessary to make demands.

You come to the realization that you deserve to be treated with love, kindness, sensitivity and respect and you won’t settle for less. You allow only the hands of a lover who cherishes you, to glorify you with his touch and in the process, you internalize the meaning of self-respect.

And you learn that your body really is your temple. And you begin to care for it and treat it with respect. You begin eating a balanced diet, drinking more water and taking more time to exercise. You learn that fatigue diminishes the spirit and can create doubt and fear. So you take more time to rest. Just as food fuels the body, laughter fuels our soul; so you take more time to laugh and to play.

You learn that for the most part in life, you get what you believe you deserve and that much of life truly is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

You learn that anything worth achieving is worth working for and that wishing for something to happen, is different from working toward making it happen.

More importantly, you learn that in order to achieve success you need direction, discipline and perseverance. You also learn that no one can do it all alone and that it’s OK to risk asking for help.

You learn that the only thing you must truly fear is the great robber baron of all time; FEAR itself. You learn to step right into and through your fears, because you know that whatever happens you can handle it and to give in to fear, is to give away the right to live life on your terms.

You learn to fight for your life and not to squander it living under a cloud of impending doom. You learn that life isn’t always fair, you don’t always get what you think you deserve and that sometimes bad things happen to unsuspecting, good people. On these occasions, you learn not to personalize things. You learn that God isn’t punishing you or failing to answer your prayers; it’s just life happening.

You learn to deal with evil in its most primal state; the ego. You learn that negative feelings such as anger, envy and resentment must be understood and redirected or they will suffocate the life out of you and poison the universe that surrounds you. You learn to admit when you are wrong and to build bridges instead of walls.

You learn to be thankful and to take comfort in many of the simple things we take for granted; things that millions of people upon the earth can only dream about; a full refrigerator, clean running water, a soft warm bed, a long hot shower. Slowly, you begin to take responsibility for yourself, by yourself and you make yourself a promise to never betray yourself and to never ever settle for less than your heart’s desire. You hang a wind chime outside your window so you can listen to the wind, and you make it a point to keep smiling, to keep trusting and to stay open to every wonderful possibility.

Finally, with courage in your heart and with God by your side you take a stand, you take a deep breath and you begin to design the life you want to live as best as you can.


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    23 replies to "The Awakening"

    • Maribel

      That’s so beautiful!

    • ruth

      How I needed to read that today! Thank you. I printed it out so that everytime I feel fear I will reread it. I cried when I read that.

    • Jeffrey Murrah


      Well chosen piece

    • Last2know

      Thanks Doug, I love it. Since it will be 1yr since DDay for us this week I plan to print a copy for H.

      • Doug

        Last2know, You’re very welcome. Sorry to hear of our father’s death. It sure has been a tough year for you. You will be in our thoughts.

    • Last2know

      Jeffrey, Doug and Linda, I lost my father a week ago. I wonder how many different ways 1 heart can hurt. In the last ur from today back. I experienced betrayal and a pain that consumed every waking moment of my life (for many months). I had to euthanize my dog just two weeks after DDay. I lost a childhood friend and now my father. The pain was so strong each time yet so different. I know those have to come from the deepest part of my being, Christ in my heart. 51yrs and all those feelings in one year alone. I am certainly stronger than I ever gave myself credit for. It all still hurts but I am choosing to get up everyday. I just wanted to share and ask Jeffrey, how does the heart know where to hurt from?

    • Jeffrey Murrah


      Talk about a triple-whammy! You have had loss on top of loss on top of loss. Having so many losses in such a short time makes it difficult to sort out where the pain is coming from. All the incidents carry the similar theme of lost relationships.

      When so many losses hit in a short span, the heart has a difficult time bouncing back before the next one hits. When faced with such situations, I often start with the biggest hurt and work from there. In many cases, once the biggest one is dealt with, the others often work themselves out. When you start with the easiest or smallest hurt, it will seem like you go from one hurt to another, to another, with each being larger than the last.

      Which one hurts the most? That is the place to start. The pain is telling you something.

    • maryanna1962

      Beautiful and inspirational

    • Starting Over

      This piece is exactly what I needed. It hits home on so many levels. I haven’t been around in a while, been busy forging a new path for myself. I hope that everyone has been well.
      I am doing so good, I am actually to the point where I can point out all of the things and the reasons that my life and relationship is better being apart. It really doens’t make me love him less. I honestly think that we were meant to love each other. But I know that I will never want to be married to him or be with him again. He will always be a friend, but never more. I can honestly say, that I am not “in love” with him anymore. And that just happened recently.
      September marks one year since this all really started with the sleepless nights and accusations. One year. And while I don’t believe myself to be COMPLETELY over the whole thing, I do know that it is right around the corner and someday my heart wont ache EVER. My worry right now is that it is turning that time of year again, time for old associations to crop up old feelings. I am already experiencing them and so I am trying to keep myself busy.
      I am sure it is time to start coming back so I will see you more often. Thanks again Doug and Linda, you are both inspirations to be able to let your pain help others!

      • Doug

        Starting Over, Good to hear from you. I was actually wondering aloud to Linda the other day about what was happening with you lately. I’m glad that you are doing well and that you are starting your new life on the right foot. I guess except for the nasty triggers that pop up. Like you mentioned…keep yourself busy and your mind occupied and they won’t be as harmful. Hope to hear more of your successes.

    • Last2know

      Doug/Linda, My one yr is this weekend. I am so nervous and I don’t know why. Things are 100% better. I guess this time holds deep hurt for me. I plan to do a reflection of this last year with H
      just to see how far we have come. In one of my other posts I spoke about my loses this past year.

      • Doug

        Last2know, even though things are so much better the year anniversary is still painful. I wasn’t too bad on our year anniversary it was the Christmas, Mother’s Day, our anniversary, my birthday, holidays that were so difficult for me because I knew that he was thinking or talking to her when his focus should have been with me. I looked at our year anniversary as a time when the power of the affair began to diminish, it was out in the open and we could begin to make some decisions about our marriage. You may of not realized it at the time but this was the date when you finally gained some power in your relationship and had the opportunity to make it the way it is today. Your year anniversary should be a triumph to you and your strength, think about how far you have come this last year and where you want to be a year from now. Celebrate the day, don’t let the affair take another day away from you. It’s just another day. Linda

    • last2know

      You are right about that. It is just another day. But I do want my H and I to share with each other how things have changed and what we have both learned from the first year. Do you think that part is okay to do? Jeffrey said to chose the loss that hurt me the most and work on that. I lost my Father, he was 89 and had Alheimers for 11 yrs, so I really lost him 11yrs ago, it is still painful but he is free now, My dog, he just loved me and he was very sick, my childhood friend she was very ill. None of these losses were out of a decision they made. They were part of “the cycle of life”. What my H did, well that has caused me more pain than anything else I have ever been through and I think he needs to know that. I think he believes that my father dying was so painful that it “trumps” what he did, not so. I never in my life would have thought that it would be like this. Thank you Linda, you are right where I need you-when I need you. All my Love L2K

    • Liz

      I can’t help but think will we make it a year? Some days I think we will but most days I don’t like him very much! I know I still love him but it will never be the same and it pisses me off. I am happy if I get through a whole day without being pissed! I do hope we make it through the next year but I have made no promises!

    • Gill

      I could do all those things for myself but what I want more than that is to do what is best for my child. I have risked my life for my child’s health, by donating one of my kidneys to him, and so I will do anything I need to if it means he grows up healthy, happy, well-balanced. My cheating husband doesn’t seem to see it that way. That is my grief, my anger, my tears. That is why I can only do so much for myself.

    • Linda

      I feel like I am going to explode. My heart cannot take this kind of betrayal. I am 2 years from DDay and it still just tanks me inside to think my husband was capable of this with someone who could be his daughter! We are still trying to work through it, but I struggle MUCH MUCH MUCH more than he does. He is genuinely sorry and just doesn’t know how to help me/us heal. I am not sure I can heal. I truly feel that I will die of a broken heart, and right now really don’t care if that day is tomorrow. I’m so tired of living with this anxiety and pain inside. It just won’t quit despite anxiety medication, anti-depressants, therapy, transcendental meditation, reading, journaling, etc. I have panic attacks still and also HPV thanks to the selfish bastard decisions of my husband. I want to move forward but seriously just don’t know how. There is such anger still inside me – how do I shake it. PLEASE HELP!!!

      • TheFirstWife

        I just passed 2 yrs from DDay 2. I understand where you are coming from.

        You are correct in that your H does not know how to help you. My H has been trying very hard but I recently went through a period where he coasted or appeared to be coasting. I was upset and angry w/ him that major trigger days went by recently w/out any acknowledgement such as the days he asked for a divorce from me.

        I felt like he was sweeping it under the rug. It made me soooo mad.

        In any event I started to spiral downhill (due to other things as well). It was a sad and lonely place.

        Until I realized I was letting Him define Me. My marriage is not about my existence or status. I had to separate the two. My relationship does not define my existence. I have many roles and they are ever changing. Kids will go to college soon and may never return.

        So I viewxmy marriage as one aspect. I believe if either of us are not happy then we should leave. Him or me.

        But take a step back. Can you understand what drove your H to cheat? Not in a blame yourself but what character flaw or justification allowed him to cheat?

        My H had a mid life crisis. Plain and simple. Hated his job, made less $, turning 50, etc. met some much younger woman in a bar and well the rest is history. Year long affair.

        His issues and his choices. Nothing to do with me. Never had anything to do with our marriage. It was his ego and justification. Plain & simple.

        Maybe taking a step back can help you understand the affair was not b/c of you it was in spite of you. He did not see what was the best thing right in front of him. Like George Bailey in its a wonderful life.

        Now I am sure your H sees all he had after he has destroyed things. But they can be repaired and restored and fixed and healed. But we all know it will never be the same. So sad.

      • Pat

        Hi Linda! See my reply below in this post. Hope it helps!

      • Amy

        Dear Linda,
        I felt the same way for a long period of time. My biggest issue was trying to accept the man who totally disregarded the marriage and consequences of his actions on the family and me. The moment I realised I cannot make him change and stopped the expectation, things changed for me. I am not living with my husband anymore but we co -parent our kids amicably.
        I some how feel empowered and at peace to have taken that decision. Believe me , with no job in hand, in a foreign country and with two kids to take care it was really difficult to do but I needed to end the anxiety, pain and anger in me.
        It takes time and effort on your part to love yourself and be responsible for your own well being. What happened cannot be changed but be true to yourself of what you want now and take a decision. I hope you feel better soon. God bless you with peace.

    • Pat

      Linda, I am so sorry to hear of your pain and anger. I am 7 years out from finding out about the EA, and other significant major impact events which ocurred within months of the day I learned of the infidelity. I was a stay-at-home mom, with no family nearby. My world imploded…I very nearly had a nervous breakdown. The double betrayal component (she was my best friend 8 months prior) was awful. I was hanging by a thread. I dealt with major anxiety and my central nervous system was severely impacted. My body was in hyper-reponse mode all the time. When encountering stressful situations, bright lights, loud noises my body reacted as if I were being chased by a lion. I was very quick to anger. I would start to shake when I got overwhelmed or even thought about dealing with a difficult situation. (Which is ironic because I’ve always had a Type A personality.) It wasn’t until this past summer when, thru this site, I followed a link to a post that lead me to realize I had been suffering from PTSD for the past 7 years) I was finally able to heal. I started to move past the anger/anxiety and take control of my emotional health and well-being, along with my physical health. I changed my therapy approach to deal with the trauma, my diet to eliminate foods that caused an inflammation response/stomach upset. It wasn’t until I realized I had PTSD that I was able to truly heal. I thought I was crazy…prior to this…nothing worked! I mean, it had been 7 years, for crying out loud!!

      If you haven’t already purchased the Journey to Healing program available on this site, I urge you to consider it. Linda and Doug’s books enabled me to finally move past the fallout from the EA. Also, I love Louise Haye’s book “How to Heal Your Life” (Gift Edition with beautiful illustrations) and her Heal Your Body A-Z iphone app for affirmations on the fly. These books were life-changing for me.

      By choosing to take back my power, choosing happiness, choosing each day to do things that truly make me happy, radically changing my diet, choosing each and every thought that crossed my mind and pushing away the negative thoughts, and replacing them with positive affirmations, I was able to heal. By remaining angry, I realized I was giving away my power. I am much calmer now, I rarely shake. I can only control my own actions and reactions. I have learned to set boundaries and not be manipulated.

      I have chosen to stay with my spouse. He is, or was, anyway, very sorry. I’m not convinced it will be forever but for now, while my children need an intact family and I am doing well, it works for me. It was easier for my spouse to move past this. He’s still in denial that I have PTSD; he can’t face the fact that his actions cause it. But for me, I was finally able to get the right help I needed when I realized what I was dealing with. I wish someone had told me much sooner that I had PTSD so I could have gotten the help I so desparately needed years ago. I hope this helps you. I would’ve have never made the connection if I hadn’t found this emotional affair web site. Sending you light, love, and most importantly…peace.

      Doug and Linda, thank you…I love The Awakening. I keep a copy of it in my purse and it helps me.

      • Doug

        Yeah, I think that The Awakening is pretty inspiring. Thanks for sharing your story, Pat, It’s inspiring as well!

    • Rachel

      Great article! Happy New Year all!

    • Amy

      This was truely beautiful, motivating and absolutely true. When I said to myself enough is enough, I felt liberated. “Slowly, you begin to take responsibility for yourself, by yourself and you make yourself a promise to never betray yourself and to never ever settle for less than your heart’s desire. ” profound.

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