I'm a big believer in karma. When people do things that annoy me, I honestly believe that what goes around, comes around (as a professor, this attitude is particularly useful for remaining calm with students!). But karma can work in good ways too and when I'm faced with challenges, it gives me strength to believe that there is a bigger plan; as long as I'm trying to be a good person, things will work out eventually. For example, I tend not to have regrets because even if things haven't gone the way I'd like, I can usually see that if X (bad) hadn't happened, Y (good) might not have happened either.
This is on my mind tonight in particular because I spent a good bit of time this past week with my ex. We are supposedly still friends but I got home from spending the afternoon with him and all I could think was, "Oh my god, I cannot believe I wasted so many years on this guy!" It's not so much that I don't know what I saw in him - he's still smart, funny and charming, like he always has been. But now I also see all his flaws, and I can see that they were always there. Basically, I now realize just how insecure I must have been, and how low my self-esteem must have been, to have been so infatuated that I overlooked all these other incredibly annoying things about him [and yes, I know that overlooking someone's flaws is typical in relationships but a) according to him, we were never really dating or in a capital-R Relationship and b) we're talking seven years].
But even as I sit here dismayed/embarrassed/incredulous that I was ever so into this guy, a part of me knows that if it hadn't been for that whole experience, I would not be the person I am today. If he hadn't left me a sobbing incoherent mess (repeatedly), I would not have gotten the help that I needed to deal with the issues that led me to want him the first place. If he hadn't made me feel so needy and insecure, I would not have worked so hard to be confidently independent, and I would not have grown to the point where I can now say with confidence that I will never choose someone like him again.
I will also admit that a big contributor to my reaction this weekend is that my current relationship is so vastly different, and the contrast is both painful and wonderful. If I had to go through the hell that was my ex in order to find my way to this relationship on the other side, well, then I guess I can't regret the hell. I just keep thinking of one of my favorite songs, "Bless the Broken Road" by Rascal Flatts:
I think about the years I've spent just passin' through.
I'd like to have the time I lost and give it back to you.
But you just smile and take my hand,
you've been there, you understand
it's all part of a grander plan that is comin' true...
Every long lost dream led me to where you are.
Others who broke my heart, they were like northern stars
pointing me on my way into your loving arms.
This much I know is true:
that God blessed the broken road that led me straight to you.
Now if I can just figure out what lessons I'm supposed to be learning from certain challenges I'm facing at work, I'll be all set...