There are many men and women facing the challenge of rebuilding their lives. Some develop this limiting belief they don’t feel they deserve to be happy because of all the pain and devastation caused by the divorce. You have a choice to make regarding your personal happiness. It’s all tied to your thinking. What you think about, you bring about. Similarly, learning to choose your thoughts is a powerful first step in moving forward.
Many feel they achieve success by getting through the other side of divorce, when in fact, once they arrive, there is no plan of action-guiding them step by step on how to rebuild their lives.
As a result, their thoughts continue to remain in the past. How can you tell if your thoughts remain in the past? It is through the actions you take along with the consequences and outcomes you are getting right now in your life.
How Do You Learn To Choose Your Thoughts?
The “key” is the learn to respond instead of react. When you react to challenges, situations, or problems, it means you give up your power and control over your life. Furthermore, it starts with impulsive thinking and allows emotions to rule your actions. You may think that it’s now what you deserve.
Why accept that? You deserve to choose a life filled with possibilities and opportunities for a joyful, purposeful future.
As you become more self-aware, you begin to respond to challenges, situations, or problem and make choices based on more thought and reasoning. As a result, you take the time to reflect instead of habitually react. It keeps you in the present experiencing less undesirable emotional responses.
The more you respond instead of react to what is happing in your life now, and the more you choose your thoughts, the more you feel able to shape the direction you want to see your life go.
The Past Shouldn’t Control Your Present Life
The past is behind you. It can’t be changed. You can’t make a deal and go back and do it differently.
The past doesn’t dictate how your life should be going forward. You deserve to be happy. As a matter of fact, what you can do is change your thoughts in the present right now. Start to focus on what you can do right now to begin to create happiness and fulfillment.
Some become “stuck” in the renegotiation phase. It is the third phase out of five on the road to recovery cycle of emotions and feelings. If you feel desperate to get rid of the pain and willing to take drastic measures to ease it, you may be stuck there. Not to mention, bargaining with oneself is a way to postpone the inevitable.
Renegotiating is a temporary escape from what is, and when used in a healthy way, it gives time to adjust to what is. Making up scenarios in your mind and trying to make a deal may make you imagine going back and doing it differently.
Attempts to try to stay connected emotionally and physically after a marriage is over is counterproductive to the healing process. It prevents the clean break that is necessary.
Meet Bobby Who Tries To Make A Deal
Here’s an example: Bobby is dwelling on the “What If” or “If Only” and would do anything or resort to drastic measures to try to change the past to win his “ex” back, which includes a willingness to change himself.
He tries making a promise and a deal to the higher power: “Please, please, if my wife will give me another chance, I’ll make the right choice this time, I promise.”
Bobby blames himself for losing his wife, Marilyn. He meets Marilyn at a conference. Each travel from different parts of the country to attend. They are employed by the same company. Both are divorced with no children. Bobby gets transferred to Marilyn’s company. He uproots his whole life to be with her. They are married for 27 years. Additionally, both work very hard in their careers and are ready to retire early.
During his long working career, Bobby gets a promotion, and along with it, he assumes huge responsibilities he didn’t have before. For that reason, he becomes weary and worn out from the new demands of his job, which includes traveling quite a bit.
Marilyn Is Ready To Take Off
As retirement is approaching, Bobby is looking forward to relaxing and pursuing some of his hobbies and interests that have been put aside through the years. His roles are as father, caretaker of his mother until she passes, and vice president of the company. He is totally exhausted.
Marilyn, on the other hand, has different ideas. She wants to travel and get to it as soon as possible. They discuss together what they want to do in retirement. Bobby’s vision, now that the time has come, is drastically different and isn’t aligned with Marilyn’s. Unfortunately, he simply doesn’t want to go with her.
They have grown apart through the years. Long story short, Marilyn files for divorce and leaves to follow her dreams. The guilt and pain Bobby feels about making his decision to stay behind and be true to himself leaves him feeling that he doesn’t deserve to be happy.
He can’t stop thinking about how his decision causes pain and sorrow to those who are closest to him.
Bobby becomes “unstuck” when he realizes that he needs to take responsibility for his decision. As a matter of fact, just because he is being true to himself doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve happiness and joy for the future.
By trying to renegotiate the past in his mind, he’s not able to move out of it. Bobby asks himself some tough questions:
- Am I trying too hard to regain something that isn’t available anymore?
- How do I move forward? What do I have to do to make a clean break so that I can?
- Shaming and blaming make me feel so badly. Does it serve any constructive purpose?
Here Are Some Strategies
Become aware of when a bargaining scenario (words/actions) plays in his head. Write it down. Then, write a scenario that is self-empowering refocusing your thoughts on your present life.
- Read about the power of forgiving oneself, and how it is freeing and liberating.
- Accept your feelings and forgive yourself because it makes it easier to move forward.
- Engage in a special activity that brings happiness and joy because you deserve it.
Some Action Steps To Take
- Accept reality instead of giving yourself false hope.
- Refocus on the next step moving forward instead of what could have been done differently.
- Realize that making assumptions for behavior is a waste of time and energy.
- Understand that making excuses using renegotiations is a way to avoid your reality.
Equally important, Bobby accepts that the past does not have to dictate what his future should be. He deserves to be happy. Celebrating life with all its joy and fulfillment is his. It all starts with changing one’s thinking.