It's your play - don't keep repeating Act I!
Starting Over Again, Part 14
A Series of Articles on Adjusting to Divorce
By Harlan Jacobsen
STRAIGHTEN UP YOUR ACT
When you start dating again, it is important to have your head on straight. What that means is that you have processed your divorce and know where you are at and where you are going, what your goals are in the dating and what you are doing and where you are heading.
INITIALLY YOU HAVE IT ALL WRONG
Initially, most newly single erroneously head out on a "fill-in-the-missing-half" search for a new more "perfect" Mr. or Ms. When they do meet people they have this mental model that no one could meet and they say, "No, you won't do, you're not it", and go on searching. Others newly single have the idea that they are defective or so undesirable that no one could ever love them again, they just blew the last chance for love in their life. Then when they do meet someone who says, "Hi, there, you're nice", they decide that they'd better clamp onto this person because the miracle will never happen again.
NOBODY WILL EVER LIKE ME
Some in this state of low self-esteem go through a mad series of short term connections to prove that they are wanted and desired and as soon as they've proven that, they then drop out of that method of operation.
DIVORCE IS NOT THE END OF THE PLAY; IT IS INTERMISSION BETWEEN ACT I AND ACT II
We have in the past written articles that help you look on your life and your divorce as part of a play. When you became divorced you ended Act I. You are now merely at the intermission between Acts. During this time you should figure out what type of play or what you want to happen in the second act.
NO RERUNS IN ACT II
Many erroneously want to go back and run Act I over again. Whatever role they played in Act I, they know how to play the part. So they are looking around for someone that needs a bit player for a copy of Act I. Wrong. Move on to Act II, even though you feel more comfortable and familiar with another Act I. Do not try to repeat Act I - move on.
DO NOT GO OUT TO FIND SOMEONE YOU LIKE
Initially, when you go out, have a darn good idea of what you want to happen in Act II. Do not go out to see who you like; go out instead at first to see who likes you and what you have cooking in your new play. Also remember now, you are the star in Act II, not a bit player like in Act I. So do not go out looking for a bit part in someone else's play this time around.
REMEMBER YOU ARE THE DIRECTOR AND YOU ARE DOING THE AUDITIONING
You will find a few people who really do like and accept you. After you have sorted out many of these, then you can move on to Stage Two, which is, "Now that I know there are some people that like me I can move on to convincing others who I like that it's in their best interest to like me as well."
WHAT'S IN IT FOR THEM?
You appeal to their self-interests as to why they should like you. And since you are out auditioning for players in your second Act, you need to convince them that you have a great second act planned and written, and since you like them it would be to their advantage to play some part in it.
WILL OTHERS WANT A PART IN YOUR PLAY?
If you have an exciting play going, you can appeal to others to participate in your play. Therefore you must realize it is hard to interest others when you have no idea yourself what Act II is all about.
TRY YOUR NEW LIFE OUT
Before you make firm decisions on the plot for your second act, you may need to do some experimenting to see what you really like and really want now that you have the freedom to choose.
WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS?
How can you choose what is right for you when you still do not even know what your alternatives or possibilities or even your capabilities are? Getting to know your capabilities and limitations as well as your likes and dislikes is essential in determining what you really want in the second act.
TAKE A PERSONAL INVENTORY
Before you can write the plot for the second act, you need to inventory first of all what have been the best parts of your life in the past and what have been the worst. Next you need to recognize what your limitations are that are absolute and unchangeable, and which of your limitations can be changed or removed. Recognize your strong points and successes. To be better able to discover your capabilities, you may need to experiment, which can be necessary to decide fairly what you like and dislike.
ADMITTEDLY YOU ALREADY HAVE SOME PRECONCEIVED NOTIONS
The things and types of people you are familiar with you naturally like, and most of the things and types of people you are not familiar with you dislike and may even fear. You tend to want to get back to the more comfortable, familiar and safe life you had before. "I've done it this way for years and although it isn't all that hot I'm comfortable with it," you say.
REMEMBER, THIS IS YOUR CHANCE TO GROW, TO EXPERIMENT, TO FIND A NEW LIFE
A new life means a new second act, not a rerun of Act I. Experiment with new people, new activities, new environments, new outlooks, new life styles and new situations.
AFTER A WHILE IT WILL BECOME OBVIOUS WHAT YOU WOULD REALLY LIKE TO HAVE HAPPEN IN ACT II
Plan initially for Act II. Perhaps, with the curtain going up, it should start out with "experimenting", trying new things out. Remember that the whole act isn't necessarily going to be "experimenting", only temporarily. So on your outline for Act II, plan on it starting out with "experimenting". Maybe you can write past that now, but then again you may want to be well into experimenting, auditioning and trying out before you decide how you want Act II to evolve.
PLAN ACT II, THEN GET WITH IT
Start out immediately with practicing new actions, meeting new people, and developing new outlooks, and look on it all as experimenting. Remember that with almost every new thing it will be necessary to try at least three times to give it a fair evaluation.
SOON YOU WILL DISCOVER NEW THINGS ABOUT YOURSELF
You will find that you far underestimated your capabilities, your values and priorities, and your likes and dislikes will evolve and change. The real adult in you will emerge for the first time in your entire life.
NEXT ISSUE: The play is not only not yet over, the best is yet to come!
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