Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Use Your Emotional Intelligence Post-Divorce

Having just written a blog about EI, I started thinking about how to use some of the concepts for the post-divorce adjustment period. EI is all about skills for managing emotions, ours and others’, so it seems appropriate to consider in the turmoil post- divorce. Here are a few ideas.

Be authentic, not phony. What a great time to set the intention of being who you really are. You don’t have to fit into someone else’s fantasy of who they want you to be. Be yourself. And if you’re not sure who you are, find out. Try different things. Experiment. Have fun.

Be centered, not reactive. What calms you down, relaxes you and allows you to take things as they come? Whatever it is, do it. A lot. Use all the mindfulness skills at your disposal to be able to act with awareness, nonjudgmentally. Be kind to yourself.

Be resilient, not fragile. It really is a marathon. You’re not going to sprint through the post-divorce period. Think about what you’d need to do to run a marathon. You’d need a goal, a plan, support, positivity and dedication. Think about all the difficult things you’ve accomplished in your life. This is no time to wimp out. You’re tough. Show it.

Be present, not absent. Being present is about being able to experience things in the moment without getting sidetracked by thoughts, worries or predetermined ideas. Presence is about being confident in your own skin because you’re an important, worthwhile, talented person with lots to offer. Fill the space you enter with everything you are. Make an impression.

Be Here Now, George Harrison

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Four P’s of Happiness Post-Divorce

I’m really liking Joe Wilner’s 4 P’s of happiness for the post-divorce period.

Pleasure – There is definitely a need for most of us to focus on increasing pleasure post-divorce. With divorce you lose whatever pleasure you had from activities you enjoyed with your spouse. You may have to replace those activities with new ones, engage in those activity alone, or with other people. Engage in a pleasurable activity today.

People – In addition to losing the daily interactions with your spouse, you may also lose their friends and family, often an integral part of your village. It’s important to bring new people into your village, or rekindle relationships with people who’ve drifted away. Call a friend or email someone you’ve lost touch with. Connect with someone today.

Purpose – Making progress toward identifying your purpose in life, why you are on the planet, is something that increases happiness. The post-divorce period is a most important time to reconsider this issue, or consider it for the first time. Bringing more meaning to your life will help ease the difficulties you face post-divorce. Hold a door open for someone, clean a friend’s house, volunteer time with a charity. Do something meaningful today.

Passion – Closely aligned with purpose is finding your passion. Maybe you’ve already found it, and it’s part of your daily life. Great, do more of it. Maybe you’ve put some things on the back burner that you would find fulfilling and exciting. Find your flow baby. Spend some time in an activity that you’re passionate about today.

Practice one P today or participate in a plethora of P’s, but happiness post-divorce is a passion to be purposefully pursued.

Happiness. The Fray

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Post-Divorce: Dating vs Marriage?

A kind dating guru sent me a link to an article about why people choose not to marry, thinking it might interest my readers. The reasons include:

*Wanting freedom, independence, career
*Not wanting compromise, conformity, financial complications and, of course divorce
*They already have it all, are too young, are waiting for their soul mate

Let’s take a look at the post-divorce list.
*All of the above (except make “are too young,” “are too old”)
*Complications with the parenting issues, kids’ reactions and blended families
*Lack of trust in the institution of marriage...” look how it turned out the last time(s)”
*Lack of trust in the institution…perhaps humans are not meant to be in long-term monogamous relationships
*Feeling of “what’s the point?,” particularly if kids are grown

If I’ve left anything out, please comment below.

I’m all about the benefits of relationships and dating for those post-divorce. But I think marriage has to be an individual decision. It certainly does seem to have its downsides. But you have to weigh those against the benefits. And problems in a marriage, or any relationship for that matter, can be addressed.

Contact me to attend a free 2-session teleseminar, Move Into Post-Divorce Life. Enjoy the Journey.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

33 Variations Post-Divorce

What I learn[ed] - and it's why I view it as a Zen play - is that if you take the time - which often old age and disease forces you to do - you slow down and take the time - you begin to see things differently. Things that might on the surface look mediocre, but that, in fact, when you pierce them and delve down into them, are beautiful. Jane Fonda,interview

Of course, I’d add that divorce, like old age and disease, forces you to slow down. And similarly, if you to do take the time, you can see things in a different light. It’s like a variation on an old theme. You’re not a different person, but you can become a wiser one.

Wisdom is the knowledge and understanding that enables us arrive at optimal judgments regarding reasoned and just behavior. How can we strive to move toward a wiser stance post-divorce?

To move closer to this ideal, we must try to answer the following questions for ourselves, a good journaling exercise.

How can you find your truth? Consider the rules you would like to live by and the kind of person you would like to be. Consider how you’d like to change things and what you’d like to keep the same.

What do you need to learn and how can you learn what you need to? Reading, talking with wise people, friends and advisors and observing carefully are all ways to become more knowledgeable and increase understanding.

What does it mean to take responsibility? After all the anger, hurt and recriminations, think about what your responsibility was and what you’d like to take responsibility for from here on out.

How do you know what’s appropriate? Carefully observe the way your behavior affects the others around you and how different attitudes affect your own sense of well-being.

As the Beethoven character in the play says: I was able to create music that never would have been possible had I been in the world of the hearing. The thing I feared most had happened, and yet it allowed me to be with my music in the most intimate ways.

33 variations On a Waltz by Diabelli, Beethoven.

Read or hear interview with Fonda.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Post-Divorce Marathon

Instead of focusing on all the things I can't control, I am enjoying the moments in front of me. The marathon is going to be an amazing journey and I get the chance to write the ending.

Shalane Flanagan, Marathoner

Call it grit, perseverance or resilience. Post-divorce, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time to bounce back from the stress and changes. There are some things that help:

*Chose your goals. It may be running 26 miles, changing jobs, getting out more or learning to play the violin. Whatever your goals, make sure they’re attainable and challenging, and that you can feel passionate about them.

*Balance past, present and future orientation. Learn from the past but don’t dwell on the mile you could have finished faster. Savor your present successes; notice how good they feel and how well you’re doing. Look toward the future, striving to make needed changes and attain goals. Don’t spend too much time anyplace but the present.

*Call in the pacers. Friends and family help us work toward goals and enjoy the present. They can help us find the tools we need to get where we’re going and support us to the finish line. Learn from those who were successful and ask for what you need.

*Dedicate yourself. You don’t finish a marathon by chance. You have to be committed to running through pain and continuing when the ultimate goal just a faint memory. It’s the same post-divorce. Be committed to yourself and your future. Even when it gets tough, keep your eye on the finish line.

I’m not saying you have to run 26 miles. I’m simply suggesting you look toward writing your own happy ending.

The Distance. Cake