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“Look what he did to me!”

This became my mantra after my divorce when I was so miserable and broke. I repeated it often and each time I did, my friends gave me a hug and another dose of sympathy.

Then, in the middle the night, a voice as clear as a bell woke me from a deep sleep.

“Not acceptable, Bucko,” was all it said. It didn’t sound like the voice of an angel. I didn’t think angels used the word “Bucko,” but it worked.

It was time to take responsibility for my future, which seemed overwhelming, daunting and terrifying. Even so, I stopped looking at what he did to me and began deciding what I would do for myself. I went back to my previous job as a marketing director with Mary Kay Inc. but soon realized this career was no longer a fit for me. I tried again and decided to substitute teach. Once more, it wasn’t a fit. Next, I interviewed for a job in retail and when I didn’t get it, all I could was mutter “What’s going on?”

Each attempt exhausted me. Nothing seemed to be working. Yet every once in a while, in the midst of all my frustration, I saw a glimmer of hope— something that I wouldn’t have been able to see before. I saw something else that stunned me. By staying miserable and broke in order to gain sympathy, I had given control of my life back to my ex and that was certainly not a fair exchange at all.

Many of us have good reasons to be angry, resentful, miserable and it’s important to honor these feelings. When the time is right, it’s also important to honor the voice that lets us know it’s time to move forward. It may call you “Bucko” or “Sweetie Pie,” “Dear Heart” or “Hey You!” And whether it’s clear as a bell or a gentle whisper, please honor this call to move forward and experience the gifts that are waiting for you.

I eventually found my way. I have a career that brings me joy and fulfillment, I’m surrounded by people I love and respect and I continue to listen for the guidance of voice that called me “Bucko.”