Acceptance: Be With It
So what do I mean when I say, “Be with it”? Another way of saying it is, “Accept it.” Accept the end of the marriage in all its gory details. Embrace the pain. That may sound strange to you, but it’s important, so let’s talk about it for a little bit.
The First Step in Acceptance is Courage
The first step in acceptance is courage – the courage to let your guard down and accept all the fears that are – rumbling around in your head. They’re already there; acknowledge them. How will it look to my family? How will it look to my friends? Will the people I work with talk about me behind my back?
He or she betrayed you. The marriage failed. Whatever you’re afraid of, it’s already happened, or it never will. You have no control over it. Whether your parents are angry or feel sorry for you, or however they feel, they’ve already felt it. Whatever your fears are about your friends and co-workers are probably exaggerated in your mind, but whatever those fears are – that they are laughing at you, or they pity you, or whatever – they’ve already done it or they never will.
We think we’re more important to other people than we really are. Maybe they’ll make a brief comment about your situation. Maybe they’ll even talk about it once or twice over lunch. I promise you that they don’t talk about you nearly as much as you think they do. They have their own problems. People are focused on their own little worlds, their husbands, wives, lovers, children, money.
If you can’t get past this, then let yourself imagine they are talking about you. Conjure up all the nastiness you think they might say. Whatever your fears are, face them. Everyone worries about looking good or, alternatively, not looking bad. Everybody. If you want to impress someone, go through a difficult time with dignity. Show true strength. Most people don’t have it in them.
Courage is Rewarded
When you face your fears, they shrink. When you resist them, they grow. For examples of this, you need look no further than your children and other people in your life. At times, your son or daughter was afraid or worried or nervous about something or someone. Maybe it was as simple as standing up in front of people at the spelling bee at school. Maybe it was a friend or relative who had to deal with something they didn’t want to deal with. As an outsider, you could observe their situation and you knew they were causing themselves more pain than was necessary.
My dad used to say, “Everyone takes their turn in the barrel.” Now it’s your turn. Be an outsider and look at your situation objectively. Know that if you have courage and face your fears, they’ll shrink away to nothing.
If you still have trouble doing this for yourself, then do it for your children. Be brave for them. You have the courage to stand in front of a bullet for them, so you certainly have the courage to face your fears. You need to become emotionally healthy so that they can be healthy.
Embrace The Pain
You may feel like a real victim and feel like the only person who has ever gone through the painful feeling divorce stirs up. You’re not. No one gets married and has kids with the intention of getting a divorce, and yet statistics say that 35% of first marriages end in divorce. The 50% figure you often hear about in pop culture is a combination of first and second marriages, because the rate for second marriages ending in divorce is higher than first marriages. So understand, you are not alone in facing pain caused by a divorce!
Let’s acknowledge that you are in pain now, and here I am telling you to embrace the pain as a second step. You probably think I’m nuts and you’re asking yourself, “Is he a masochist?” The answer is, “No.” I want to show you how to go beyond the pain.
Ultimately, to break through the pain and come out pain-free on the other side, it’s important to learn to just be with it, or simply accept the pain. This is what ultimately allows you to let the relationship go. This isn’t anything new. Keep in mind this is not some “New Age” advice. This is wisdom from ancient times. Folks have been going through these emotions and feelings for a millennium. The problem is that we human beings don’t like pain, so we resist it. By resisting it, we make it more intense and we make it last longer.
Not only do we resist pain, we often refuse to look at it. The longer we refuse to deal with it, the longer we suffer. An old Reiki master once summed it up for me this way: “On the other side of pain is joy.”
This will work for any relationship. You are now in charge of your future. The first step is up to you.
This article has been edited and excerpted from the book Getting Over It: Wisdom for Divorced Parents with permission by MacKenzie Publishing, LLC, copyright © 2010, Len Stauffenger is a nationally certified attorney who understands and practices transformational energy. He is a catalyst for healing and responsible for helping countless individuals achieve success in their lives.