There are intrusions and unexpected events that can stop us from moving forward in our lives. Dealing with divorce can be one of the most straining transitions we will ever have to encounter, face, and navigate through — like a choppy and turbulent river.
At certain pivotal points in life, the intensity and duration of change can sometimes cause us to react with increased anxiety, anger, and fear. This is only natural. We all get derailed. The impact of the divorce and our ability to face the dilemma will vary. During these times, how can we align who we truly are with what we’re facing?
Tony Robbins says, “Change is inevitable, progress is optional.” Accepting the reality of change is the key to gracefully dealing with change. Think of maneuvering through change like practicing the martial art of Aikido. When you move with the flow of what is coming at you, rather than retreat or fight, your resistance lessens and your ability to face it strengthens. Accepting “what is” rather than “what should be” will help reconcile the difficult change with which you are struggling.
2. Choose a new mindset
A mindset is defined as a way of thinking that determines one’s behavior, outlook, and mental attitude. What are some positive things that could come out of this difficult divorce? Even in the most stressful situation, there is always something positive that could come from it. Even if it is a minor thing to you — look for the good. One option is to view it as a wake-up call in order to cause you to ask yourself if the course you have been on still has the same meaning for you. Consequently, does the unexpected change offer a new opportunity?
3. Annihilate your negative self-talk
Begin by challenging your thoughts on life. We all say negative things to ourselves like, “I’m not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, skinny enough, young enough, educated enough, talented enough,” and on and on. Suppose you tell yourself, “I never do anything right!” Ask if what you are telling yourself is actually true. The truth is that you do lots of things right. What would your life be like if you no longer believed the lie you are telling yourself?
4. Connect with others
The company and comfort of others who understand what you are going through can be a transforming experience. It is human nature to band together in times of crisis. Although it is natural to isolate and retreat, the best thing you can do for yourself is to reach out to another individual or join a divorce recovery group. When talking to those that have come through a similar challenging divorce, they attribute a great deal of their success to the support of an individual or a group.
5. Focus on progress instead of perfection
Perfection does not exist when it comes to human behavior. Perfection is a myth because it is unachievable. Therefore, we set ourselves up for failure and a reason to beat ourselves up. Alternatively, if you gives yourself permission to be a flawed, imperfect human being, like the rest of humanity, you give yourself the gift of self-love and self-compassion. Speaking of which, how can you possibly show genuine love and compassion to others if you have not first given it to yourself? Instead, focus on your capacity for progress. Progress is a goal that can be achieved each day. Work towards an achievable goal of progress instead of an unachievable goal of perfection.
6. Practice Gratitude
Eckhart Tolle said, “It is through gratitude for the present moment that the spiritual dimension of life opens up.” Consider keeping a gratitude journal or an informal practice of telling yourself five things you are grateful for while in the shower or during your exercise routine. Even in the presence of a difficult divorce, there is something you can be grateful for every day. If your thought runs towards the negative, which is natural during stressful circumstances, can you be grateful that you are still breathing, that you heart is pumping blood through your body, that you can walk, talk, see, hear, smell, or feel? Or, that you have a roof over your head, running water, or clothes on your back. There are people in this world that don’t even have these things that we take for granted.
Divorce is hard, messy, confusing, and stressful. For most of us, there is no getting around it. But, there is one thing we do have control of, and that is our response to this often unwanted event. The question we must ask ourselves is:
Will I become bitter or better as a result of my divorce?
The choice is entirely yours.