If you've been through divorce, you either came out bitter or optimistic. Regardless of which camp you pitched your tent in, there are other like-minded happy or unhappy campers for you to trade stories with.
It's your "divorce story" so to speak and you may or may not be sticking to it. Perhaps you're the jilted wife of a man who was screwing his co-worker. Maybe your ex was a work-a-holic or couldn't keep a job or was an absent parent. There are hundreds of versions of the "divorce story." I'm sure you've heard them, lived one or more of them and probably seen the threads in Facebook groups and other divorce support platforms.
These are usually some of the first conversations and experiences we have with others about our divorce. Strangers talking about their hurt, betrayal, fear of the unknown, starting over, etc. While there's comfort in the idea of these options and the intentions of most are well-meaning, some people are stuck in the version of their story that paints the bleakest or most self-sabotaging picture.
- Lap top lawyers - These are the people dispensing generic legal advice about parenting time, alimony, child support. They tell you what you're entitled to or cheer you on to "stick it to him" (and not get screwed like they did). Just do what they did and you'll get the house, the kids and $3500.00 a month in alimony.
Then there's people like me. I have such a positive view of the "aftermath" of divorce. Not that it's all been sunshine and roses every second, but I know it's possible because I live it!
Other people live it too. I asked around.
I realised the constant fighting and struggling was so negative and draining and I didn't have much energy left for my kids. I was stuck in my own destructive cycle. I have changed my mindset and attracted new, like-minded people into my life. They are my cheerleaders! I will never forget what happened but have accepted it as part of my story. Part of my story only, there are whole new chapters to write. ~anonymous
Ask yourself right now what you want this we-to-me 'divorce story" to feel like, when you look back in five years. Pitiful Pam or anonymous?
It's okay to grieve over this loss, but you must accept it as it is (not bigger than it is) in order to move on. The best life experiences and the path to a new life after divorce have to be had with an open heart and clarity of mind.
If you want a positive outcome and a bright future, self-reflection and inner work will help you to get just that. You also need true acceptance and forgiveness - for everyone involved. Yes. Everyone. It's not weak to forgive. It's weak to point fingers and wallow in self-pity. It's weak to believe forgiveness lets someone off the hook and then hold them in judgment.
Stop looking for obstacles or blame or shoulders to cry on. Start looking for growth friends, real opportunities and the way forward.
Stop saying "divorce sucks". Even if you're the one who asks for it, it's going to be challenging and painful. Divorce is also an opportunity. As anonymous said above, you have whole new chapters to write. And guess what? This is your chance to grow, to become the person you were always meant to be. You get to be the star of this new story.
So, take a look around at your current situation. What are you doing, I mean really doing right now? What kind of conversations are you having? Who are you having them with? Are you taking action, practicing self-care, working on your inner thoughts? Or are you gossiping with Pitiful Pam and taking legal advice from a bitter ex on some forum?
Right now is a gift. You are wasting it if you're not cooperating with your own desires and creating a vision for your future.
Lisa Schmidt is a post-divorce catalyst coach for women. She lives in Detroit, MI. If you have questions, send them to her directly Right Here. Are you in need of support around your divorce? Let's connect and thrive together! Join my free newsletter to get advice and tips to guide you in navigating your post-divorce world, a free mastermind group, and a copy of my eBook "Divorce Your Story. Marry Your Truth" HERE.