What people think of you is none of your business.
~ Author unknown
When divorcing people start telling friends and family about their impending split, one great worry they have is, “What will people think?” Fear of criticism and the judgment of others abounds.
The unfortunate truth is that there will be people who will look down their noses at you for divorcing or who will no longer want to associate with you; however, how people react is more about them and their shortcomings than it is about you and anything you might have done.
This is easy to remember when the person judging you is a neighbor down the street you don’t care much for anyway, but when it’s a parent, a sibling, or a close friend, it can be quite hard to deal with. We all want to feel approved of and accepted by those we care about.
Regardless of the role they may play in your life, if some people criticize you for your choice to divorce or the circum¬stances of your divorce, that is indicative of their insensitivity to your needs.
Often, those who judge divorcing people harshly are those who fear divorce becoming their own reality. Or they may resent the fact that divorce is a choice available to you but not to them; they have to suffer, why can’t you?
You will cope much better with others’ criticism and judg¬ments if you can keep these facts in mind. It won’t excuse the judgers’ actions, but if you know that they are reacting from fear or anger at something that has nothing to do with you, that insight might help you to not take their reaction personally.
I will not take personally the reactions others may have to my divorce.
This article has been edited and excerpted from Stronger Day By Day with permission by New Harbinger Publications, Inc, copyright © 2010, Susan Pease Gadoua is the author of Contemplating Divorce, A Step-by-Step Guide to Deciding Whether to Stay or Go (August 2008), and Stronger Day by Day: Reflections for Healing and Rebuilding After Divorce (July 2010). Susan is a licensed therapist based in the San Francisco Bay Area with an expertise in marriage and divorce.
Other articles by Susan Pease Gadoua