05/14/2012 06:11 pm ET Updated Jul 14, 2012

It's An Inside Job!

Attempting to make your life better by changing your outer appearance is like cleaning a mirror and expecting the image reflecting back at you to change. You must first transform yourself and only then will your life truly improve.

The typical focus when you are going through divorce is to look at, point out and complain about the soon-to-be ex's shortcomings and how he/she was the main cause of the broken marriage. In fact, some people live in this perspective for so long that for years after their marriage, they are still living as the victim or in bitterness and resentment.

Because they have not taken the time to look at their part in the split, they have not changed or grown. They have not yet found the jewel in the rough -- the gift that comes out of all our trials and tribulations. They have not yet gone inside in order to allow their difficulties to have the transformative power that they are meant to have on their lives.

Divorce, with all its struggles, can be an opportunity for life-altering insights and changed behaviors if you are brave enough to consider your part. When a relationship is making you feel angry or uncomfortable, do you move on to a new relationship or change the way you are within your current one?

Why do we spend so much time changing our outer circumstances to make us feel better when the only change that will have any lasting impact is an inside job?

The reason even more second marriages end in divorce than first marriages is because instead of changing ourselves while in the broken marriage, we leave. After getting divorced, we fall in love again and find ourselves with many of the same conflicts after the honeymoon stage is over. The situation may appear different, but the emotional experience is the same. For instance, you could have gone from being married to an alcoholic to marrying a successful business person who works all the time. Both partners leave you feeling emotionally abandoned. How did this happen to you?

For a little while, the new relationship makes us happy again. But time after time, we come back to that same feeling we had before. We ignore the root cause and focus on the signs and the effects of our struggles. We not only miss an opportunity to grow and change in a truly significant way, but we recreate our struggle again and again unless and until we finally get it and see our part in each relationship that we struggle in.

Whatever your struggle, don't be so fast to leave your marriage without first unearthing your role in it's demise. Face it, feel it, acknowledge your part in it; therein lies the root cause of your troubles and the greatest opportunity to grow.

Do you find yourself asking, "why does this keep happening to me"? The truth is, it doesn't just happen to you; rather, you make it happen. Beyond the discomfort of being abused or betrayed, you must question of your part in the relationship. Where are your boundaries? How often have you turned a blind eye so as not to look the truth square in the eye? What unacceptable behaviors have you chosen to accept and what has been the outcome?

I was once told, "there are no healthy men out there." The reality is there are plenty of healthy men and they can be found dating the healthy women and visa versa. Get healthy and you can change who you attract into your life.

If you are divorcing or struggling with your second marriage or with your most recent partner, the wisdom and opportunity are hidden in realizing your role in the struggle and taking responsibility for it. Only meaningful personal change will alter the reflection in the mirror. Keeping the focus on yourself and doing your work enables you to grow healthier and more mature. This is the best recipe for attracting a healthier partner into your life. It's a whole different way of looking at your personal profile when beginning to date!