Guest blogger: Claire Black
Divorce is now accepted as the second most stressful event a person can go through in life, next to losing a loved one. Whether you chose it or not, it can feel like your whole life has derailed. There is a grieving or healing process to go through, and it can be a turning point in many people’s lives.
Going through a divorce isn’t just a legal process. It is often the emotional journey that can complicate the legal process – making it long, difficult, acrimonious, expensive, and traumatic for you and your children.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Imagine you could navigate your divorce with dignity and confidence and emerge feeling proud of your behaviour and actions. Imagine knowing you always did your best. Imagine having a clear blueprint for your life post-divorce.
All this is possible.
7 steps to a dignified divorce:
Connect with yourself. Shift your focus from your ex, and onto yourself. In the early days, this might mean taking each day in 10 minute chunks and ensuring that you do one thing every day (yes, one thing every day) that shows you that you care about YOU. Be kind to yourself.
A divorce or separation can feel overwhelming and frightening, so make sure that you have strategies to bring calm even in the eye of the storm. Practice breathing deeply and slowly when you feel panicky, to get oxygen back to your brain, slow your heartrate and calm your stress response. Your breath is a wonderful resource – it’s free and it’s always with you. Stop and breathe, so that you can think and respond.
Work out what you can and can’t control. Fundamentally, you can control your own part – your own words, actions, feelings, reactions, behaviours. You can’t control anyone else’s, and you definitely can’t control your ex’s. Stay in your zone of power and ask yourself “is this within my control?”. Whilst you can’t control their words, actions, behaviour, you CAN control your responses. Focus on what you CAN do, and keep taking little steps forward, one at a time.
We humans don’t like uncertainty. Unfortunately, divorce brings with it a good deal of uncertainty. The antidote to that is to get clear about the things that worry you. Ask for help. Get advice. Ask questions – knowledge is power. Identify the areas that cause you most stress and anxiety and find out as much as you can. Even if you don’t like what you find, at least you will know, and you can start to work with the facts, rather than the “what ifs”.
Although it may not always feel that way, remind yourself you always have choice. Every day, you can make small choices that affect how you feel – what to wear, what music to listen to, who you spend time with, what to look at on social media (tip – DON’T check out your ex’s profile). On a bigger scale, you can choose not to respond to that provocative email right now while you feel angry, but to sleep on it and respond after 24 hours. You can choose what sort of parent you want to be on your time. Ultimately, you can choose who you become!
You can choose too how you communicate, so that you avoid getting stuck in a cycle of conflict and blame, punctuated by “you never”, “you always” statements. Instead, choose to own your feelings and “speak from the I”, to see different perspectives, and to listen to hear rather than to respond. Not only will this mean your communication is more effective, it will keep your legal costs down.
When you are ready, divorce gives you an opportunity to create a new life, based on your values and what matters to you. The next chapter is yet to be written. After all, it is not what happens to you that makes the difference – it is what you do with what happens to you.
The 7 Cs to a dignified divorce will help you focus on you, handle your emotions and move forward with confidence, equipped with the tools you need to move beyond the story of your divorce, and into a new future.
About Claire Black
I’m a specialist Divorce & Break up Coach, and Master NLP Practitioner.
I work with individuals, both men and women, through break up/divorce and beyond, enabling them to redefine themselves, create a new radiant life, and ultimately look back with pride.
I know first-hand that separation and divorce can be one of the most traumatic experiences you may go through in life. Wherever you are on your divorce journey, I will share strategies to empower you to feel calm and confident, make informed, clear choices, communicate effectively, and move positively towards healing and recovery, so that when you are ready, you can create a new life that excites you.
Guest blogger: Claire Black of Claire Black Divorce Coaching: https://www.claireblackcoaching.com/