When life gives you lemons make margaritas.
The last few weeks I have been finishing off the manuscript for my book and in the process I have been seeking input from friends, clients and colleagues, who all have had some experience with divorce.
It has been so interesting reading what everyone has to say. There is one common theme from those who ‘have been there’ as such- it will get better, just hang in there. I often wish I had a real life crystal ball here in the office. That way, I could answer with certainty the overarching question almost every new client needs answered- “Will I be ok?” I could pop on my fortune teller costume, pull out my crystal ball and show them just how OK they will be! I imagine too that we would get to that ‘ok’ place a lot quicker and with much more confidence than we currently do.
Almost everyone I meet, who is experiencing divorce, is on some level experiencing fear. Mostly it is fear of the unknown. Will I have enough money? Will I see my children? Will I ever be happy again? These are the common fears I see my clients experiencing.
Divorce is said to be the second most significant grief process most of us may experience, second only to the death of a loved one. Divorce rates in Australia continue to suggest that at least one third to one half of all marriages will end in divorce. Importantly, these statistics do not encompass the increasingly popular defacto relationships- those people in committed long term relationships that choose not to get married- which have a higher chance of ending in separation than marriages.
Relationship breakdown continues to affect a large number of us every single day. I only hope that I can continue to assist families to find a way to move through the difficult stage to the place where they too can say “I am ok”.
If you are experiencing divorce or separation I think the best advice I can give is firstly take the time to pause, to breath and to grieve. Whether the end of your relationship was your choice or has been imposed upon you it is often no harder or easier. Either way you will feel fear, loss and sometimes anger. Decisions that are made when you are in this emotional state are often not well considered and can be regretted at a later stage. Take the time to look after yourself- allow yourself to feel sadness, grief and anger but also educate yourself on how to move through these feelings. Everyone will deal with this differently; you will have days when you are feeling on top of the world only to wake the next day feeling like there is no light at the end of the tunnel.
Like a lot of things in life, it will feel like two steps forward, three steps back. Remind yourself of this- set small and achievable goals, day by day or week by week. Keep a journal to map your progress- not to record the terrible things you are feeling but the good things that are happening, there will always be something positive if you look hard enough.
Another good tip someone once gave me is to set yourself something in the near future to look forward too, it might be a holiday, a dinner out, a new hobby, just something that you know you will enjoy that you can have in the back of your mind as something positive on the horizon.
Maintaining a sense of positivity in an adverse situation takes courage. You will need courage to move through your divorce but you will and you will come out the other side perhaps a different person with a different kind of life.
One of my now dear friends and former clients sent me the following quote this week that I think sums up perfectly the joy that can come once you can say “I am ok” again-
Divorce was probably the worst experience of my life yet it has led me to change and grow and get to know myself so much better. At the time you are so caught up in the pain and uncertainty you really can’t imagine that life will ever get back on track…..but it can in some wonderful ways ………and it’s nice to revisit yourself and remember what you like and where you like to go, how you like to dress and keep the house, how you like to entertain and spend your leisure time. You still need to take the time to grieve and feel your loss but always keep in the back of your mind the thought that things will get better – you will get stronger, you will sort out your finances and you will move on to new friends, new houses and new relationships when the time is right if you can hang onto an optimistic attitude and believe in yourself.
When life gives you lemons….make a margarita!!!!!!!