For many people, the new year is a new beginning, a chance to start over. And actually, a very optimistic person might view divorce in the same way. I think divorce, as sad as it is, can also mean new opportunity, a happier life, and a more peaceful existence. So, when it comes to divorce and the new year, there are certain new year's resolutions every divorced person should consider, actions that will make 2014 your best year ever!
1. I will treat my ex with kindness and respect.
Are you rolling your eyes? Don't! Treating your ex this way is good for YOU and good for your kids. Have you ever heard anyone say, "I wish I wouldn't have been so nice?" No.
2. I will only talk about my ex in a good way in front of our kids.
When kids hear their mom or dad talk about the other in a negative way, it seriously kills them. They hate it so much. Please, call your girlfriend and use every four letter word you can about your ex if you need to, but do it in private.
3. I will stop looking at old photos of my ex until I can do it without crying.
Why are you torturing and/or punishing yourself? This is so unproductive. Do you realize how huge this earth is, and how many people are on it? Your ex is only one person and somewhere out there, there is a great guy or girl that is a better person for you. And you will meet that person if you have an open heart.
4. I will make more of an effort and keep an open mind when it comes to dating.
This is the year to say yes to blind dates, get your profile up on a dating site, and reach out to that guy who you know has an interest in you. What are you waiting for? Life goes by fast. You deserve to be happy! Start living!
5. I will take the high road, regardless of how my ex is acting.
In case your ex doesn't get around to reading this blog, and he or she is his or her same old self, acting rude, being short, saying cruel things, just let it roll off of you like rain on a plastic rain coat. If you act polite, you will never be sorry. What good does acting rude back do? Nothing but hurt your children.
6. I will stop talking about him/her to everyone who will listen.
No one wants to meet you for a beer and hear about what a bitch your ex is. They want to watch football and talk about how the Bears just blew the playoffs. And girls, no one wants to have a glass of wine while listening to you talk about the hoe your ex is seeing. Ask about HER. Ask her if she knows anyone to set you up with. So much more productive and positive!
7. I will appreciate my body and my health and stop focusing on my physical flaws.
Instead of worrying that you just gained 10 pounds during the holidays, focus on the fact that you are healthy enough to go to the gym and lose it in January. You're great! You're beautiful! Focus on highlighting what you HAVE and lastly, if you love yourself on the inside, you will like what you see in the mirror.
8. I will stop analyzing what went wrong or what I did wrong.
Leave the past in the past. It's exhausting to keep drudging it up. Aren't you tired?
9. I will let go of the hate, anger and resentment.
If you have these things, you will never ever ever ever be happy. A divorced woman once said to me, "I can't let it go. I don't know how." No one can tell you how to let it go, and you cant' fake it. This one is all in your heart.
10. I will start loving myself more.
If you are a good parent, and you are supporting your children, both emotionally and financially, and if you live your life trying to be a good person, what's not to love? I never understand why people lack self love. It's baffling. Being happy is all about having self love. PLEASE, strive to see all your wonderful qualities and stop focusing on what you lack. Everyone lacks things. All we can do is try to be our best self and love what we DO have.
11. I will live in the present moment and stop focusing on the past and the future.
The past will put you in a depression. The future can only cause anxiety and fear. All that matters is how you spend each day, enjoying and appreciating it like a gift, and being with the people you love.
12. I will let God drive.
My dear friend just said this to me a few days ago, and it's all I keep thinking about. If you let fear paralyze you, it's not only exhausting, but you can't enjoy your life. Remember how little control we have over our lives. Remember that we can only control what we do and how we act. We can't control what is going to happen to us. So, let God control that, and have faith that He will take care of you. In other words, stop being afraid and just live.
Happy New Year, and best wishes for a truly happy 2014!
Jackie Pilossoph is the author of the blog, Divorced Girl Smiling. She is also the author of her new divorce novel with the same name, as well as her other divorce novel, FREE GIFT WITH PURCHASE. Ms. Pilossoph is a weekly business features reporter and columnist for Sun-Times Media. She lives in Chicago with her two kids. Oh, and she's divorced!