It’s Your Choice Not to Suffer
I have found that what divorcing people want most, next to healthy, thriving children, is to be at peace and happy again. They want to end their suffering and feel better; shed the anger, pain, anxiety and stress that often come with dissolving a marriage. Having peace of mind and being happy with your life and yourself is invaluable.
A good place to start releasing the pain of divorce is with the practice of acceptance. What I mean by acceptance is…not internally opposing life. How will you know if you are resisting something in life? If you are experiencing any type of negative emotion such as frustration, anger, upset or discontent, you are likely creating inner resistance to an outer circumstance. When we resist life, we are essentially saying to ourselves, “Something shouldn’t be the way that it is” or “I don’t want to be where I am in life.” It is natural as human beings to refuse to accept circumstances and situations that we do not like, such as a separation or divorce.
I do not mean to imply that acceptance equates to liking your external circumstances. Rather, acceptance is merely acknowledging those circumstances and allowing what is in life (any situation, event, circumstance, place or person) to be as it is, without judging it as good or bad, or wanting it to be different. We spend a lot of time and energy wishing aspects of our lives were different or attempting to control everything that happens. This often leaves us feeling drained, powerless and unfulfilled. The key is to accept this moment as it is….because it is not any other way. Anything else is futile, as you will soon see.
Let’s take the example of a flat tire. Imagine you are on your way to a friend’s wedding. You are 15 minutes away and will just about make the ceremony on time when suddenly your front tire goes flat. You are annoyed and immediately start to complain to your wife. You get out and kick the tire a few times in anger. One option is to continue cursing and complaining while wishing it had never happened. However, this is pointless as it will not “unflatten” the tire or get you to the wedding any sooner. Not to mention that the upset takes a good amount of your energy and time, and will likely stay with you for most of the day.
Another option, and what I am speaking about here, is acceptance. You can just as easily use your energy to calm down, accept the situation for what it is and take action toward quickly fixing the tire. Then you can move on and enjoy the remainder of the day.
Acceptance Does Not Equal Complacency
Just because you are allowing the present circumstances in your life to be as they are, it does not mean that you are fully satisfied with your life situation. Acceptance does not mean settling, putting up with or being resigned about life. Acceptance also does not equate to complacency. You can still take action toward altering your life if you are not content with certain aspects of it. Create a plan and execute that plan. However, by simultaneously practicing acceptance, you will notice yourself taking positive, effective and empowered action that comes from a place of calmness and clarity, rather than anger or upset. In the meantime, you will experience the peace and joy that come from not resisting where you currently are in your life.
You Cannot Change People, You can only Change Your Response to Them.
The practice of acceptance is valuable with people as well. We, as human beings, have no power to change another person, whether it is your ex-wife or your child, your boss or your father. We can never alter what another person will do, think, say or how they will feel. It is 100% out of our control. Although what I am saying may sound obvious, on some level I believe that many of us feel (maybe only subconsciously) we can control what another person does, if only we try hard enough.
While we cannot control others, we do have absolute power over how we will respond to any given situation, person or event. Thus, all there is to do is accept the people in your life for who they are, and who they are not. This allows them to be as they are, and at the same time, it creates an opening for us to choose a more positive or peaceful response to any circumstance or situation that arises.
What You Resist, Persists… and blinds you to resolutions
I have experienced the truth of this adage time and time again. If you internally oppose something in life, it remains and lingers. So often we get caught in the trap of believing that if we resist something long enough or hard enough, it will change. This is an illusion. Our resistance actually causes the circumstance to stay in place, keeping us stuck. As Eckhart Tolle states, “Whatever you fight, you strengthen.” Moreover, your resistance often prevents you from seeing any solution to the issue at hand.
However, the opposite is also true. What you fully embrace and accept soon dissolves. You will find that when you accept the present moment and allow life to unfold naturally, resolutions suddenly arise and new opportunities -ones that you would have otherwise been blind to- appear. Practicing acceptance releases the stress and upset which often accompany divorce. This is a very powerful and freeing experience. When you stop opposing life, you begin to experience peace and serenity. The best part is that you have access to that inner stillness at every moment. It is up to you whether you will accept or resist life in each moment. However, when you choose acceptance, your experience of life will transform and you will find that things fall into place and life works out.
Genuine and lasting happiness and peace come from within. You, alone, are in control of how you will experience life moving forward from this very moment. In other words, it is your choice not to suffer.
Jamie L. Cicerelle is a Certified Life Coach (CPC) with Blank Canvas Coaching, with 13 years of experience as a divorce lawyer. She specializes in divorce and relationship coaching.