The start of the New Year does not feel like a new page or clean slate while going through divorce. The continuum of last year's heartache, struggles, fights, and pain into the New Year is a far cry from a cheerful and optimistic way to start brand new. We are carrying over everything we have been going through because the divorce is not over yet.
It can be daunting and depressing to start the New Year with all our divorce problems. It's easy to focus on all the decisions that will have to be made and all the loss and troubles we are facing. But it is still a New Year with all its new possibilities and promises, even if we are not at the best place to see or welcome them.
Hopefully this is the year when our divorce will be finalized and we can move on with our lives.
Perhaps we can work out all those looming issues and go forward to more peaceful places.
Might be something happy and fulfilling on the horizon for us what we can't see yet.
Maybe even a new relationship.
Definitely a new relationship with ourselves!
How can we start the New Year with as much optimism as possible? With hope and confidence that good things are waiting for us? How can we shift not just our minds but our moods too, so we actually feel excited and energized?
There is an interesting techique mental health professionals who work with depressed patients use sometimes. They ask the patients at the beginning of the day what would they do differently if they could live today over again. This mental trick helps them (and us) to focus on what is really important and creates some motivation and energy for actually doing it and living the day out from a changed perspective.
At the beginning of a New Year (and actually at the beginning of every new day) we are all getting a chance to do it all over again. To live life differently, to focus on what really matters for us, to fulfill our purpose. While divorce might seem to contradict all of these ideas, and reminds us only to the things we are not getting to fullfill or focus on, it is still our curent physical reality and it is up to us how we take it and use it for our best.
The best way to start the New Year, even in the midst of divorce, is with gratitude. Listing all the things we are grateful for. Everything from the smallest, like having a good night sleep during the Holidays or a thoughtful present from a friend, to the biggest, like our children's or our own health. Writing them all down and being amazed how long the list gets. Adding to it the good and positive developments we had in our divorce process even if they are hard to find. There is always something good even in the worst circumstances. But the only way to find them sometimes is by really looking with a grateful heart.
Once we have our gratitude list and adjusted our hearts and minds towards the good in our lives we can make another list, or actually two, which will help us move even closer to peace and even happiness. Getting all those issues and problems on paper that are causing us pain, stress, sleepless nights, and heartache, arranging them into two collumns. One labelled Acceptance. The other Action.
We put all the things under Acceptance what we are powerless over. Just like we don't have control over the weather, we can't control our ex's behavior, choices, and actions. Thinking and acting like we can is plain insanity and the only affect it will have on us and our divorce is our self-induced disappointments. Our only option with this collumn is acceptance and letting go. Trusting, that greater forces than ourselves will take care all of them without our desperate but laughable attempts.
Then we put all the things under Action what we actually have the power to change. Which is ourselves. Our behavior, thoughts, reactions, words, choices, habits, decisions, and attitudes. Everything on our side of the divorce. And that is a lot. Much more than we sometimes admit or take responsibility for. Claiming powerlessness over our thoughts or reactions and assuming a victim position about our divorce will have sad and disappointing end results. But figuring out how to change our own thoughts and behavior so it will serve us the best during our divorce is the absolute best and positive way to start this New Year.
Knowing the difference between what it is we need to accept and what it is we need to take action on requires wisdom. The great thing about wisdom, that it can be gained and posessed if we seek it it out and make it our own. I wish all of us a wisdom filled, grateful, peaceful, and courageous New Year!
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