Paving the Way includes becoming your Best Self which includes both how you treat others and your Self as well as your own Mirror Work which is about you; who you are, how you respond and react and what you can do to change what needs changing, embrace what needs loving and heal without bitterness. Being your Best Self is about treating yourself and others with The Unconditionals and acceptance. Mirror-Work isn’t about your relationship and how you interact with others, but it will change how you interact as you change inside; changes in relationships are a byproduct of internal changes.
There is dignity in not allowing yourself to be pulled down and reflect the callous and heartless cruelty you are receiving. Paving the Way is meant to bring you to Grace and preserve your Grace; helping you to hold on to your Best Self. Being grace-filled is its own reward. For some MLCers it will make no difference, but the primary purpose is because it is a standard of treatment that enables you to become and remain your Best Self—a person who is a beautiful light in this world.
In the first months after Bomb Drop many LBSs simply want their marriage back; their goal is reconciliation and with that goal they have an agenda they want others to accept and follow. New LBSs often interpret Paving the Way as something you do for the MLCer with a specific outcome (typically reconciliation) in mind. To that end, their purpose in Paving the Way may be as a means of control and influence to get their MLCer to see and agree with their way. This is a normal part of the LBS journey, but if this mindset continues it will become stagnating. As you accept your own journey and the growth that comes through it, the axis upon which you have focused changes and you shift from a focus on external results and control to internal growth. Instead of trying to change your MLCer in a direct manner, you offer them your Best Self through Grace and Acceptance. That does not mean you like where their journey is taking them or how they are handling it, but that you accept that you cannot control others, but you do have control over your Self.
The first axis often incudes a focus on Direct Interactions. This does not mean Direct Interactions are bad later on, or that thinking about how to interact will hold you back; it means you will come to a point when you realize that an intense focus on the actions and behaviors of someone else is at the cost of taking care of and honoring your Self and becoming your Best Self. Being gracious, kind and compassionate combined with detachment, boundaries and self-confidence facilitate your healing because they enable you to maintain your dignity and are not damaging to your self-respect.
Make it Yours
I have always been impressed how LBSs have grown with what may have begun for them as a static concept. Standing grows from something you were doing for your marriage into a personal journey about Standing for yourself. Paving the Way is also not a static idea. Let it be a dynamic thing that breathes new vitality into your life. By making it yours, you make it serve your Best Self.
I define many of the terms with the idea of Standing and based on my own experiences as a reconciled Stander. Your paths will vary from mine. Take the basic ideas and personalize them. The Unconditionals are at the heart of Paving the Way. For me Paving the Way was a tool that guided me to reconciliation, but The Unconditionals themselves are universal and not specific to any particular goal or outcome. Part of this journey may very well be about you and your MLC spouse, but the real journey at the core is about you. Pave your way forward to your Best Self.
Healing is not a requirement for survival, but if you want to thrive you must heal and becoming your Best Self is most definitely about thriving! You must also face the mirror and give yourself an honest assessment. Mirror-Work is your gift to you. By doing your Mirror-Work you are giving yourself love and by giving yourself love you will also achieve self-improvement. A stable, lasting and authentic future relationship—either as reconciliation with your MLCer or someone new—as well as with your Self, requires this of you. Inner peace is a sanctuary where your soul resides even amidst turmoil and anxiety. A life absent of inner peace is filled with despair and distress. Suffering, hardship and trauma are part of life, but inner peace and adversity are not mutually exclusive.
Mirror-Work is not about correcting and fixing all the things wrong with you. It’s about acceptance and focusing on being your Best Self with love, loving who you are and embracing life with joy—your individual life. You may not at the present time be in the life you had hoped for, but it is the life you have and you do have the power to make it joy-filled and fulfilling.