Finding your best self in moving forward from a divorce or separation
Dorothy, in the movie “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” befriends three new companions on her journey to the Emerald City. To her dismay, she found that each new friend lacked the qualities needed to continue through the hardships and complete the excursion.
Likewise, on this journey of divorce, and our quest to move forward through the pain, hurt, and grief; we must also embrace the deepest and best parts of ourselves. We need to find our courage, use our brains, and have a heart of compassion if we want to heal and transition well.
As you know, on this painful expedition there is no Great Wizard who will make it all go away! However, you can choose to partner with a divorce coach, who can serve as a guide and companion through the pain and multiple changes you will experience.
The process of separation and ultimately divorce is not for cowards or bullies. It is a solemn time when you want to be able to move through the dissolution of the marriage rising to be your BEST self.
How do we heal a broken heart and begin again?
The first step is to move past denial and accept our reality. Although marriage is a ‘Holy Covenant’ until death do us part, people are allowed to change their mind if they so choose. If our marriage partner for whatever reason decides they do not want to continue the partnership, that is the new reality.
Once we accept the fact the marriage is over, we need to begin to adapt to the many changes that will take place so that both parties can legally, emotionally and practically move on.
Dr. Bruce Fisher, the renowned pioneer in the field of divorce recovery in his definitive book, “REBUILDING, When Your Relationship Ends, ” states there are 19 stages that each person in the partnership goes through on their road to recovery.
These are the stages in the first phase of separation:
- Guilt / Rejection
- Letting Go
Although each person goes through all of the rebuilding blocks, they don’t go through them at the same time. Often one person in the couple is ahead of the process by 6 months to 2 years.
The person who is initially contemplating separation has already begun to mentally go through and address these stages while still in the marriage. Then, when they announce their intention of leaving, it immediately throws the other partner into denial, thus beginning the process.
According to Dr. Fisher, the only stage where each partner experiences something different is the fifth stage: guilt and rejection. The initiator experiences guilt and is looking for justification to appease their conscience for splitting up the band. The other party experiences a deep sense of rejection, which continues to play on their self-esteem and integrity.
How did I contribute to the breakdown of my marriage?
When beginning to heal, it is important not to hide the pain, or stay in denial, but to talk through the emotions as we move through each these initial rebuilding blocks. This is no easy task. Before we can get to the letting go stage, we must ask ourselves, “ how did I contribute to the dissolution of my marriage?”
It is easier to play the victim, and shift blame and focus on the other partner. However, it takes a lot of courage to look beyond the faults of our ex-partner and take a look at the role we played, or the part we played in the break down of the marriage. To move forward and not repeat the same pattern in the future, or with a new partner, we must look within and ask ourselves, “how did I contribute to the breakdown of my marriage?”
There is an old cartoon that says, “We have met the monster, and the monster is I.”
To some, it may seem shocking to think we are capable of hosting a dark side. However, within each of us, there is a good side and a shadow side. Our shadow side is the side of us that feels dissed, wronged, offended and victimized when hurt or questioned.
According to the Enneagram (an ancient personality typing system), every personality has a choice of two arrows to follow, in any given circumstance. One arrow is our growth arrow, which helps us rise up to be a wise person at the end of life. The other arrow is the arrow that leads to disintegration, and when followed exhibits behaviour from our dark side, our saboteur, our negative self-talk. It is from this dark side that we play the role of victim and stay small. By resisting we refuse to accept to adapt to the necessary changes needed.
It takes a lot of courage, compassion and wisdom to choose to show up as your best self intentionally. Without this intention, one easily defaults to bitterness, playing small, and becoming petty. This spiralling path will ultimately lead to your own self-destruction, and will not allow you to have learned anything from the process, or emerge changed at all.
It has been said, “Time heals all wounds,” however that is not true! It is what you do with that time that will make all the difference. For example, if you use time to figure out who you are and why you are stuck in the same ruts, you can begin to change your behaviours and therefore change your life. In Life Coaching, the BIG PICTURE overview is moving through these three stages:
Once we can observe our own behaviours and accept who we are, only then can we make different choices that will open up the path for new patterns and healthy behaviours.
Often under the stress of separation and divorce, people see our worst self. However, over time and accountability with a Divorce Coach, we can change that. As you begin your journey into self-discovery, it is about who you are and who you are becoming.
The choice is yours. Choose to be your best self. This is a journey into the self-discovery of your best self.