I recently attended a conference in Las Vegas with over 3000 other women. The conference had absolutely nothing to do with divorce, or marriage, or relationships. It had everything to do with women business owners, smart, motivated, capable, gutsy, risk-taking women who at some point in their lives took an idea and ran with it, and today are women presidents in charge of their own destiny. It's "girl power" at its most basic element!
Like all business conferences, there is a ton of time devoted to networking, and like a great group of women go-getters who have never met a stranger, the conversations quickly turn from summarizing our professional lives to sharing our personal stories.
As soon as I mention that I love to write and recently published a book, The High Road Has Less Traffic: honest advice on the path through love and divorce, I immediately find myself in conversations that I shouldn't be surprised by anymore. As soon as I mention that my book is based on life lessons learned during my own divorce, I hear all about their divorces as well. It shouldn't surprise me that many of the women I am meeting are in second marriages. It shouldn't surprise me that many women joke about having had a "starter husband," as divorce has become so commonplace in our society. It shouldn't surprise me that these women are full of joy, confidence and happiness having survived, and thrived, through one of life's toughest emotional battles!
The common theme I am hearing is one which I have been known to say in reflecting back on my own divorce: "I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy, but in hindsight, it's the best thing that ever happened to me." Divorce is ugly; it's hateful; it's painful; it's rejection at it's most basic form; it breaks families apart; it takes marriage vows and tears them to shreds; it reduces essentially good people to become people with low moral standards and values. So how can this horrible thing become something which so many of these wonderful women reflect back on as "the best thing that ever happened" to them?
The common theme I saw was that these women took the high road, and as painful and hurtful as their divorces were, they were determined to not get stuck in a pity party, looking backwards saying "what if" and "if only," and instead chose to march forward to determine what adventures lay on the horizon. These women all chose to let go of all the anger and bitterness which divorce naturally creates, and instead chose to take on a positive attitude. They chose to cast aside blame and hate, find forgiveness, even find some humor in the situation, and decide that forward momentum was the only way to go. All of this behavior characterizes "taking the high road" and I've determined this factor alone is the deciding factor in women who survive divorce versus those who thrive after divorce and move on.
I love that feeling, that energy and that edge when you get a group of powerful women together. There's a sense that we are invincible and while we will encounter obstacles (life happens, right?), that we will be able to overcome, persevere, and turn lemons into lemonade. It's funny the conversations you get into at a women's business conference. I love that we are open enough to share our personal stories with strangers at a professional venue. We aren't alone in handling the bumps of life. Many others have been through this before us and sharing our stories, helping others to move forward, is what girl power is all about!