I bristle every time I hear the phrase "conscious uncoupling" because it makes the dissolution of a marriage sound easy and pain-free. Let's be honest, divorce hurts, and as many can attest, the beginning of the end is usually not that well mannered.
Navigating a divorce is hard. It takes time to get over the initial anger, pain, and hurt, but then you have a big decision to make. Are you going to stay in the world of anger and hurt or are you going to try to move through the change with honesty and grace? This decision is a tipping point. People stay in anger because it either feels justifiable or maybe they're just not sure how to move through it any other way.
As a student of resilience, I am always looking for best practices and inspiration from others who, after going through a soul-crushing life experience, have learned how to move forward with honesty and grace. A recent interview that Vanity Fair did with Jennifer Garner and her divorce was an example of just that. It was not a publicist's spin on divorce, but rather honest insight into an individual trying her best to get through a very tough time.
I wanted to include her comments in my best practices because there is value in knowing that no matter who you are on this planet, we all go through pain, and we all need to find the healthiest way to move through.
MOVING THROUGH A DIVORCE WITH HONESTY AND GRACE
Put Yourself First
To move forward, you have to take care of yourself first and foremost. Putting yourself first is easier said than done because you tend to feel guilty about the impact that our divorce has on others, so you overcompensate by focusing more on your children, your job, and your home, etc. than on yourself.
If your foundation isn't strong, you cannot help anyone around you who may be relying on your support. That's why airlines tell you to put on your oxygen mask before assisting others.
Even Jennifer Garner had to learn to make that pivot. Her friend and fellow actor Victor Garber commented, "I think she went from someone that wanted to take care of everybody to be someone who said, 'In order to do that I have to really take care of myself.'"
Yes, it is easy to blame, but if you are only pointing the finger at others, it keeps you in the victim mode and stops you from moving forward. There is usually accountability on both sides as Jennifer comments.
"It's one of the pains in my life that something I believe in so strongly I've completely failed at twice. You have to have two people to dance a marriage. My heart's a little on the tender side right now, and it's always easier to focus on the ways that you feel hurt, but I know that, with time and some perspective, I'll have a clearer sense of where I let the system down, because there's no way I get off in this."
Accept What Is
"It was a huge priority for me to stay in it. And that did not work."
"Of course this is not what I imagined, but it is where I am."
Having the grace to accept a situation is one of the biggest leaps we make in moving forward. It's okay not to like what happened to you, but the sooner you accept the situation you can work with it versus against it.
Stay Off Social Meeting For A While
Keep these three simple rules in mind.
- Don't text or post in anger or when you are drinking! Put that phone down girl! It may feel good at the moment, but you can't get that stuff back.
- Don't play the Facebook game of trying to show how great your life is in hopes your ex see's it or to fool your friends. It's embarrassing. Let go of worrying how your divorce looks to others.
- Don't stalk your ex on Facebook. They may be playing the same game and then you are left with heartache as you view pictures of his or her "new" life.
It's probably just best to deactivate your account for a while. It's a big time waster anyway!
Now imagine if you're a celebrity and your divorce, like Jennifer's, is major news. Here's how she handled it.
"I turned on CNN one day and there we were. I just won't do it anymore. I took a silent oath with myself last summer to really stay offline."
She chooses not to care how her divorce looks to the outside world. "I cannot be driven by the optics of this."
Understand Your Role In Happiness
You alone are the only one responsible for your happiness. How refreshing it was to hear Jennifer say, "It's not Ben's job to make me happy," she insists.
Refuse To Be The Victim
When Jennifer was questioned about the tattoo of a rising phoenix Ben got on his back she said, "You know what we would say in my hometown about that? 'Bless his heart.' A phoenix rising from the ashes. Am I the ashes in this scenario?" Garner says with a wink. "I take umbrage. I refuse to be the ashes."
Inspirational right? If you want to move forward with honesty and grace sign up for my free master class: Divorce Warrior - How To Move Forward, Feel Confident and Be Happy. It's time to put yourself first!