I was sitting on my deck after having a “discussion” with my boyfriend.
A week prior, I had asked him to move out. I couldn’t live with him anymore, no matter how much I loved him. I finally realized I loved myself more, and I was deserving of more.
We had agreed we would sit down together on this Sunday afternoon and discuss how we would divide the property. He was on the mortgage to the house, and had done a lot of work on it as well. I knew he would want a substantial part of the equity.
So on a beautiful summer afternoon, I waited for him to get home so we could talk.
He came home, showered, ate, and then finally joined me on the deck. The discussion was quick. He wanted half the equity in the house—or we would “do it the hard way.”
I was seething.
I had put the down payment on the house; I paid the mortgage every month! And I had done almost as much work on it as he had! I told him I didn’t have that kind of money. He got up and left after restating we would do this the hard way. Now I knew why he ate and showered before coming to talk. He had this planned out.
I just sat there. So angry—at him as well as myself.
Why did I ever put him on the mortgage?
So many told me not to. But I had felt it was the right thing to do. After all, I loved him and planned to be with him forever.
And then, these words came into my head:
I will not come at this in anger.
I knew he was protecting himself. He’d been divorced before and lost everything. He wouldn’t be taking much from this house, because I had bought most of it.
I will not come at this in anger.
It just seemed right. I had been growing spiritually over the past year or so, but I was by no means at the point where I could simply change directions and alter my course. But that’s exactly what I did. And I felt peace.
I would not be angry. I would accept this as the path and come at this with understanding from his perspective and compassion, and hopefully get through it with little pain and angst between us.
Hours later, he came home and started moving all of his stuff out of our room to another bedroom. I sat quietly in the living room, watching TV. At peace. I’m fairly certain this seemed strange to him. My old self would have probably had a few beers and continued to stew on my anger until he got home, most likely ending in a fight. But there I sat as he did what he needed to do, and I felt a calmness I hadn’t felt in a long time.
I had made the right decision—to separate from him, but also in how I decided to do it.
Over the next several months, there were many times when I felt like I wanted to treat him the way he was treating me. Others told me I should protect myself, I should do this or that or I would risk losing the house. However, I knew I was doing the right thing for me by choosing compassion over anger.
Did I still get angry at times through this whole process?
Did I allow that anger to control me or change my course of action?
I don’t know where those words came from that day, but I’m grateful they did. Choosing compassion over anger has made a big difference in the outcome of this whole ordeal. Maybe not financially, but in how I feel about myself and my actions.
Love over hate. Compassion over anger.
That decision has changed me beyond that one situation. From simple everyday occurrences that would normally tick me off like a car pulling out in front of me to dealing with issues at work, I try to deal with them differently, instead of getting angry or judging.
Just stepping outside yourself to see it from another perspective can change everything.
Less anger equals less stress.
And, it brings me peace knowing that I am acting in a way that keeps me true to myself. It’s a choice—one I will continue to make every day.
Author: Kris Whalen
Editor: Toby Israel