"Throughout this book, I felt Bruce had a secret window into my own life and private thoughts. Many private feelings I am currently dealing with were addressed and revealed in a manner that made me feel it is not only normal, but I am truly not alone in this. I was surprised that I cried while reading it and the comfort that the words brought me. I read tons of self-help books, among other types of books, and this book actually gives me hope and things to look forward to. My tears were from the fact that I am facing the words I read. I have been getting negative feedback from outside sources and these words reassured me not to listen, keep them out of your life and do what is right. The section on the other home/parent opened my eyes and freed me. I did not go into reading this book thinking it would help me on such a deep emotional level." ~Dorothy Justice, Vice Chair-Community Action Partnership

January 17, 2013

Staying Positive

This is a pivotal time in your life. Times like these are defining moments for you. Staying positive after splitting up your marriage and family is a work in progress. It’s a big leap leaving a spouse, but even bigger with children. It may be the single most critical decision you will make in your lifetime, though one which may have the largest lasting positive impact depending on how you handle and adjust.
This article is the eleventh segment in a twelve part series I developed for maximizing success after divorce called, “My 12 Point Ladder To Successful Divorce Transition With Children.” The tenth or last segment published, Teach Your Children Well helped with showing your children opportunity doesn’t stop because of divorce.

This segment, “Staying Positive”, supports looking inward for insightful personal change and ownership, but while not judging yourself. What I might hear from clients today is how challenging it is to move forward, a la "…. Feet stuck in cement. No motivation. Don’t know what their future holds. No confidence. Just going through the motions."

Family and friends may reach out to support you through the initial tough times or immediately after the
separation. Eventually you’ll have to tough it out on your own. We can’t expect nor would we want sympathy and help from others forever. Here and there during the valleys, sure. People have lives and you want to grow from your experiences and challenges.

It sucks to be in this position, but the single best dynamic you can achieve and also benefit? Is to keep things moving! Time will test you, but listing and then executing a number of to-dos will provide the healthy distractions you need at this point in your life. Even if it means taking a walk, cleaning, organizing, chores, errands, to name a few quick and easy steps.

This is a pivotal time in your life. Times like these are defining moments for you. Staying positive after splitting up your marriage and family is a work in progress. It’s a big leap leaving a spouse, but even bigger with children. It may be the single most critical decision you will make in your lifetime, though one which may have the largest lasting positive impact depending on how you handle and adjust.

Even if it’s not immediately apparent, you are transforming, developing, building, growing into a bigger person-- staying strong knowing things will get better is your norm. Yet surprisingly, when you are ready you will forgive. Yes, a time will come when you know you will release the pains you harbor by forgiving. Its hard understanding that, but your heart will let you know when its ok. You’ll do it for you and it’ll be easier than you think.

As with the metamorphosis before the butterfly, you will seek change. You'll do it by finding and promoting new areas in your life. Seeking new scenery. Redefining and changing. It is up to you when that will happen. Shortly after my separation, I transferred to a new organization with my employer and eventually found a surprising niche. I needed a dramatic adjustment. I thought I was perfectly happy where I was--through change I found something better.

I shed the life that defined me previously. I reached out to others who were open to listening and who had good ideas and thoughts. I surrounded myself with positives. I avoided the inner voice, which spoke down to me. I kept focused on me opposed to others or things that wanted to keep me down. 

Be easier on your self. Self-compassion is a sort of antitoxin to the soul. Don’t beat yourself up. Rather understand life can throw you tough lessons, but that you have limits, you are not perfect, and you are only human. There is Devine passage to the next chapter in your life if it’s in your spirit. God is looking after you.

Relax, breathe, close your eyes and just listen. You can find supporting environments easily—your own backyard, park, hiking trails, gardens or any place with complete solitude. I wasn’t a big fan of meditation previously, but I found when there was too much going on inside my head, sitting quietly with my eyes closed listening to my heart and my breath was an easy way to clear my mind.

A more profound idea while sitting quietly and generating a better attitude is by stimulating your mind with your senses—certain smells, touches against your skin, tastes, sights, sounds you enjoy, or anything that may excite your senses. It’s comforting allowing yourself to feel again through your environment.

Use positive affirmations. Start your day with a positive affirmation to get off to a good start in striving for your whole day to be a positive one. Affirmations are a powerful tool when used on a regular basis. It can be something as simple as "Today is the best day yet!" Some will post or write notes on their bathroom mirror so it’s the first affirmation received in the morning.

Create a positivity board—basically affirmations on a bulletin board in your home at a common area where you post pictures, funny jokes or comic strips that bring a smile to your face. An alternative online is, www.pinterest.com.

How about just surrendering! Be selective when choosing your battles. Understand stuff happens. This is one area many overlook. The universe isn't always going to be in tune with your mood. The proverb, “This too shall pass,” could be your mantra. You don’t have to fight for everything. You don't have to push back. Some things just aren’t worth your time. Your bad feelings won’t last forever so allow yourself to heal while understanding your emotions can be compromised.

Other very ample means to get you through the rough are seeking things to be grateful and savoring the things which make you happy—family, children, jogging, exercise, morning coffee and paper, friends, and simple thoughtful gestures and acts of kindness. Again, anything that makes you happy and elicits good feelings.

I am thankful. I can give back if I rest on an appreciation of what I have to offer: my health, my heart, my smile. These are things I own and no one can take away from me. Taking gratitude in the small things will invite positive feelings and may just inspire and elicit feelings in others--generating a cyclic and positive energy if you will.

Likewise, there are also things not to do. It’s not about immediately finding intimacy with others. Developing relationships and friendships through new areas in your life is encouraged. Allow time for your heart to heal and get your head on straight. Divorce is like taking it on the jaw and feeling a little dizzy for a while—as in months. New intimate relations won't heal you and may even set you back further.

Don’t fill voids with material things or tangible items, which only fill a need temporarily. Eat the ice cream, buy the consolation item, and get away for a while but don’t generate habits from them. Think about the materials that are practical and necessary for you and your kids. On the contrary, set fresh goals and targets in your lives, such as budgeting.

Keep bad influences or negatives away—certain people, substance abuse, credit cards and debt, material things to name a few. Clean up the influences that mar your ability to grow! Reprioritize and re-organize literally and figuratively. Think about what corporations do when they find themselves over extended, too thin to grow, and with too much debt— they downsize, remove impacts, rebuild, and come back stronger. Simplify!

Family and friends may be there for you. Though eventually you’ll have to tough it out on your own. Sympathy won’t be around forever and that’s ok. Keep your feet moving! You will know when you are whole and complete again. It might not happen today or tomorrow, but you’ll feel it eventually if you employ many of the tricks and tips within. Your children will follow your  lead and together you reap the rewards. This is gold, your personal investment to your family's long term emotional health.

Next Up! The twelfth and final segment, “Sticking With What Works”, will help with learning to trust your gifts as a parent and sustaining a path that wins over you and your children.

Bruce Buccio resides in Colorado, USA,  is a Rebuilding Coach and Expert and published Author. Today, he writes primarily inspired by experiences raising his children, but also writes about inspiration, growth, and love.

© 2013 Bruce Buccio

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