It's hard not to blame yourself when things go wrong. Small things, big things, every thing in between. It's so easy to get into a pattern of "If Onlys."
There's a lot of traffic on the way to work. "If only I'd left earlier!"
Your kid gets bad grades on a book report. "If only I'd helped her more!"
Your husband has an affair with a morbidly obese woman who has a mullet and back hair. "If only I'd been a better wife! If only I'd stop biting my nails, start wearing make up, learn how to walk in high heels, been a better cook ..."
I am doing a lot of If Onlys these days. And now that the initial shock of discovering the affair is wearing off, I'm ready to start healing. Part of healing is erasing the If Onlys. The past is gone. It is never coming back. The future may never arrive. You only have THIS one moment, this one breath. I refuse to waste this moment on If Onlys. They don't help. They never help.
And in the case of infidelity, the If Onlys will only serve to hurt you more. No good can come of it. They will haunt you, drive you insane, tease you in your dreams and slap you in your face when you least expect it. You must recognize them for the false thoughts that they are. Don't give them power. Giving power to false thoughts is like giving credence to false words.
I have been taking the time to recognize these false thoughts and tell them, sometimes out loud, "Stop. Go. You are unwelcome." Sometimes I have to visualize the thoughts leaving my head. I imagine a stream of letters dancing out the side of my head and going away out into the hills like on cartoons. Sometimes I snap myself into reality with a pinch on the wrist or a tap on the temple.
It's hard. I think the hardest thing is the pride. I don't like worrying what others think of me, but you can't help it. Even the most devout, skillful practitioner of the Dharma is going to have those feeling occasionally and it's hard. I don't want people to think I am a pushover, simply because it appears that I am doing nothing about the problems I'm facing. I don't want to them to think I am naive simply because I have started the process of forgiving. I don't want people to misunderstand that my feelings of compassion and love for my husband are separate from his actions, that I love him and feel compassion for him simply because he is another human being and all beings deserve our love and compassion, regardless of their actions.
The Husband has a broken arm and continually misunderstands when I bathe him. He can't get his cast wet and therefore can't properly bathe himself, so I have been bathing him, washing his hair and body and rinsing him, shaving him, and drying him off. He thinks these actions mean that everything is going to be okay in our relationship - and I can't guarantee that. I would bathe anyone who needed a bath. If a homeless person showed up at my door needing a bath, I would bathe him. If a dog or cat or any other animal showed up needing a bath, I would bathe it. It's simple human compassion.
I am working my way through this volcano of pain. In this moment, right here, right now, as I drink my coffee and watch my children playing on the floor, everything is okay. And this moment is good enough for me.