One thing I’m never going to do is candy coat the fact that divorce sucks. I’m also never going to lie to you and tell you that after you do xyz and have given yourself a couple years to work through it, you will magically feel back to normal. The truth is you will never feel ‘normal’ again. Life as you know it will never be the same again and that is exactly what you have to accept. Quite truthfully that is the hardest part and the reason why some people stay stuck.
Trust me, I’m speaking from experience, just when you think you’re over it…something happens to smack you in the face and remind you that you are SO not over it. For example, my ex-husband just bought a big beautiful new house with his new wife at the same time the kids and I are losing our home. To be perfectly honest with you it really pisses me off. I’m sorry I can’t help it and I’m not going to deny my feelings about it. I really want to be the bigger person and be happy for him, but I can’t help to wonder how someone could not care that their children are struggling and just move on with your own life taking fancy trips, buying expensive cars, a brand-new motorcycle and leave their family drowning in debt with a house that’s underwater? Well, this is when I go through a 3-step process to let go of these negative feelings.
The first phase I call the “Owning it Phase.” You have to get real with your emotions and own it. We all have that inner bitch that wants to trash talk them and wants to see them suffer, but that’s your lower level thinking and you have to rise above it. It’s important to identify the feelings and not beat yourself up over feeling badly about what triggered it. If you’re angry, be angry. If you’re jealous, be jealous. Allow yourself to cry about it or throw something if you have to…just don’t hold it in and deny the feelings. That could lead to long term problems like depression or needing to enroll yourself in anger management classes.
The second phase is when you ask yourself, “So, what can I do about it?” The answer is nothing…absolutely nothing. All you can do is feel the anger and resentment and move past it as quickly as possible. I call this the “Acceptance Phase”. This is point after you have dealt with the negative thoughts and feelings that you recognize that it doesn’t do any good to hold on to all those negative feelings. You have to take a step back from the emotions and look at the bigger picture, so you can find acceptance and gratitude for all that you have. For me, the bottom line is, I know I don’t want that man in my life and if it means that I have to struggle on my own, then I’ll do it with a smile on my face and faith that everything will work out just fine. I can accept that he has moved on with his life and I have too. I refuse to let him and his decisions get to me and give those negative feelings any power. There is nothing I can do to change it, so why bother holding on to the resentment? I visualize my own future with positive intent and I know that material things (even a big beautiful house) does not make you happy.
The next phase is the “Releasing it Phase.” Personally, I go out in nature or find a quiet place in my house and I use a type of meditation to release the feelings. I find that higher level thinking that allows me to let go of the negativity and allows me to wish him well. I look at him as a part of my family and that will never change. After all, you may not always like your family but you still love them.
Recently, I stumbled upon an online class titled, “Manifest New Love” by Jennifer Grace, find the link here. Now some of you might find the title a little corny or “out there” but I always listen to these types of things for research and insight. Well, there was an exercise she walks you through that blew my mind. She asks you to close your eyes and picture yourself in an open field with your feet deeply planted in the ground. She walks you through this visualization that has you imaging that there is a cord attached to your solar plexus. For me, the cord was like an umbilical cord, for others it may be a chain or rope. She then says to look up and suddenly you see your past love attached to the cord a few feet away. You look at this person and say, “Thank you—I forgive you” and repeat it three times. Next to you on your left is something to cut the cord and when you cut it, your past love turns and walks away. Now, this is where I couldn’t believe what came to my mind…I found myself reaching out saying “don’t go.” I told this story to my friends at brunch the other day and they were shocked! My good friend hit my arm and said, WTF??!! I laughed and said, “I knew you would have that reaction and believe me, I was shocked too!” Not in a million years would I think I would EVER have that reaction. I thought I had done the work…I thought I had let him go…I thought I was over it until I realized you never get over it and you never truly let go. We have children together and we will be bonded together through them for the rest of our lives. Now, don’t get it twisted, this doesn’t mean that I want him back or that I’m still in love with him—on the contrary, I just realized that I still need him to be present for our kids because I love them. He is a connection to them that only he and I share. Mind blowing, right? I thought so too.
As painful as it may be, it’s so important to process all of this stuff in order for you to get “unstuck”. This is allowing more space in my life for that new love to come in. In order to feel lighter and free from the past, you must really feel the pain, the sorrow, the fear and then let it go. Holding on to it only leaves you stuck carrying your burdens like a large boulder on your back. It’s time to let them go and cut the cord.
With Faith, Hope and Love,