Divorce is Forever
As the famous writer, director, and playwright Nora Ephron quoted ‘Marriages come and go, but Divorce is Forever.’
As a Divorce Coach, I read an extensive variety of material, and I must admit, I am overwhelmed by the differing views on what one should and should not do during divorce! My role is to simplify my client’s life, to ease any strain that the divorce process may have created, and guide my clients towards a better tomorrow.
Where Do I Begin?
When friends, colleagues or clients, begin to navigate the unknown world of divorce and come to me for advice, I begin with what I feel to be the five most basic principles of Divorce:-
Make Your Children The No. 1 Priority
Your children must be the utmost priority in any divorce, because divorce is forever. When agreeing to custody arrangements and living arrangements, it must be all about the children.
Learning to be present with our children at all times, but particularly during a divorce, is vital for our children’s future. Your children might appear to be happy, but if you delve deeper you might uncover a child who needs help adapting to the changes in their lives.
- Do not speak negatively about your ex in front of the children.
- Do not interrogate your children on what they did while staying with the other parent, respect their privacy.
- Be fully present with your children at all times, truly listen to them.
- Do not agree to any custodial arrangements that will not suit your children.
Mediation/Lawyer – Educate Yourself
If your divorce is an amicable and straight-forward, you are one of the fortunate ones and may come to an agreement with the help of a mediator. I would in addition, advise one single session with a lawyer, to ensure you understand exactly, what you are agreeing to, in relation to both financial and custodial agreements.
If your divorce is in the hands of a lawyer, ensure you are informed and understand your rights. If you were diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, you would investigate and educate yourself before deciding your treatment pathway. Do the same with your divorce, as it is just as important on the both yours and your children’s future lives.
When making decisions which will affect yours and your children’s lives, stop and think how you want to feel in 20 years time? This thought may stop you from making an acrimonious decision due to unresolved hurt, or it could make you stop to think more clearly, before agreeing to a financial or a custodial agreement? Remaining calm and focused is the foundation to making sound and sensible decisions.
- Do not agree to anything unless you fully understand what you are signing, whether it’s financial or custodial related.
- Understand your rights within the divorce.
- If you feel your lawyer is not co-operating with you, gain a second opinion, as it will give you peace of mind.
Definition of confidence – ‘A feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities, and judgment.’
Divorce and separation and the changes that flow from this, can erode our self-confidence and our self-esteem. This is a natural feeling, as our lives are changing, sometimes so drastically that we lose our self-confidence during this journey.
If you know you are lacking confidence, please work on this, as your confidence is integral when faced with making difficult decisions. I cannot reiterate the importance of this. If you know you need assistance in this area, this is where working with a Coach is essential to ensure you obtain the best outcome for you and your children’s future, as your Divorce is Forever!
Tips to help rebuild your self-confidence: –
- Socialise only with positive people. Staying away from friends and family who you know are negative, and who deplete your energy levels is a must.
- Learn to ignore your inner critic. Think of your mind as a light-switch and you need to change the switch from dark to light. When you hear the voice in your head telling you ‘I can’t,’ stop and change the dialogue to ‘I can, I will and I am!’ Try this for a week, each and every day and it will help trust me.
- Set A Goal. Write one goal, that you know is achievable. Place this written goal somewhere visible where you can read every day. The fridge is a good place for visibility.
Transform Hate to Forgiveness
I can hear you screaming at me loudly. ‘How the f…k can I forgive my ex after ruining our children’s lives?’ I hear you and I know exactly how you are feeling.
During my divorce I kept bookshops in business reading every self-help book available. Nothing inspired me for a long time, until I picked up Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s book ‘The Book of Forgiving.’ A line I read immediately resonated through every cell in my body and I couldn’t wait to devour his book. He stated ‘Forgiveness does not mean conditioning what has been done. It means taking what happened seriously and not minimizing it; drawing out the sting in the memory that threatens to poison our entire existence.’
I understood holding on to the resentment and anger within me towards my ex-husband was dysfunctional and unhealthy. I had to release it before it made me seriously ill.
Nothing could change the state of my marriage; it was over, dead and buried. What I could change was my thought process and ultimately my future. I had to release all the bitterness, resentment and hate. I have to be honest here and include the word that is banned from our household – hate. But at that time, I hated my ex-husband and I hope sharing this might help you too. As I learned to forgive my ex-husband, it freed me from so much pain and led me along a path of healing that transformed my career and ultimately my life.
My ex-husband and I became over time great friends co-parenting our beautiful daughter together.
From Break-Up to Break-Through
Looking forward is the best way to move through divorce. Peering back into our past and reminiscing on what was, will not benefit any of us. However, the thought of starting a new life, looking towards the unknown alone, can be very frightening.
I understand the fear this can instil within us, I have been there with an 8-week old baby and a shattered marriage, having to move countries back to the comfort of my family. What helped me through this painful times was the simple step of getting up every day and placing one foot in front of the other.
As I became stronger, I began the process of setting goals and achieving these goals. It was near impossible at times to see the light, but what I learned during difficult times, is one of my first tasks with my clients, and that is to begin journalling.
Firstly, write down where you are, and where you want your life to be and what your life will look and feel like. By visualizing this you can begin with an image in your mind and begin the hard work towards achieving your goals on changing your life.
Secondly, every night you must write a Gratitude List of 5 things you are thankful for. This task I have continued every day since, no matter how stressful my day has been, as you cannot go to sleep stressed when you are thanking the universe for something. Try it as it does help.
As Eleanor Roosevelt told us, ‘You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.’
Tips to Transform Your New Future:-
- Continue to only look forward, reflecting will only keep you in the past.
- Visualise clearly the life you want to be living and every day keep remembering how you will feel living this life.
- Set inspiring and achievable goals, that will excite & motive you towards achieving them.
- Transform your fear of the unknown into courage and action which will have you unstoppable in achieving your dreams.
- If you have dreamt of beginning a business for too long, grab this opportunity and start today.
- Breakups can lead us to destinations we never would had previously imaged we had the courage to arrive at.
- Journal, journal, journal.
- Begin to live the extraordinary life, leave ordinary behind.
Divorce is Forever, But Also A Beginning
Yes, divorce is forever. But divorce can also be the beginning of you uncovering your inner strength, to begin courageously living a life you truly want to live, not the one you are or were expected to.