Stress-free divorce? Sign me up!
Stress-free might be a bit of a stretch. We all know divorce is one of the top stressors in life. In fact, the Holmes and Rahe stress scale ranks it as #2, only behind the death of a spouse.
So, yes, it will likely be a stressful event. However, you can reduce the amount of stress you experience – significantly.
And the secret is:
It is what it is.
What the heck does that even mean?
Not to be confused with giving up, giving in, caving, being a doormat, or any of the thousands of other definitions our minds can cook up that make acceptance an affront to our sense of justice.
One of the biggest struggles we face is our own sense of how we think things should be.
S/he should have:
- tried harder
- been faithful
- been kinder
- not been violent
- not changed
- fill in the blank
Yes, of course, if they had done their part in this marriage all would be rosy.
Ummmm….that goes for you too, by the way.
Woulda, shoulda, coulda – didn’t.
Dwelling on how things should have been keeps us anchored to an illusion. Chasing that illusion is such an exercise in futility! The outcome is frustration at best, pure rage at the worst.
There are plenty of other parts to divorce that really need your attention right now: where will I live? how will my family/friends handle the news? do a need a job? do I need a better job? what will my life be like? what do I want for myself? should I hire a lawyer or mediator? You get the idea.
Do you really want to waste your precious energy on something that actually has no relevance at all to what is happening right now, this moment, in your life?
I didn’t think so.
It’s a very easy slippery slope – I know. We go over the details of what went wrong and why – which is good, by the way. Gotta get those lessons out of this whole thing!
But then we start living in those details of the past and before you know it we are right back in woulda, coulda, shoulda land.
Get some perspective.
Let’s say you are in a terrible car accident. The door is crushed closed and you are trapped inside. You smell smoke.
What is the most important thing?
- getting out of the car ASAP
- deciding whose fault the accident is
- getting angry that you are in this situation
- yelling at the other driver for their screw up
You need to get out, right? Before the car bursts into flames and you are done for.
Your need is immediate. It forces you into the NOW. All that other stuff is irrelevant and counterproductive to getting you out.
Down the line, yes, you will need to sort through your emotions about it and figure out how it happened and how it could’ve perhaps been avoided. Let the cops and the insurance sort out the rest.
Right now you are trapped in a crushed, smoking ready-to-burst-into-flames marriage. You need to focus on your path out. Period.
Fault, blame, and should-haves, are all keeping you trapped, not getting you out. The reality is, it’s over. It’s time to figure out your next steps, not their last steps.
And then there is lack of Acceptance’s cousin:
You expected your spouse to zig and instead, they zagged! WTH??!!
Love means _______ to you. Doesn’t it mean the same thing for everyone?
Nope. And what happens if you expect it to? Disappointment.
Our expectations are built on our unique world view. Our experiences, observations, and wants shape how we expect others to act.
The only problem with our unique world view? It’s unique! That means no two people will see things exactly the same way.
And thinking others are in alignment with our unique world view buys us a lot of stress when they dare to see things a different way.
This is not to say you shouldn’t have standards. Standards are about what you view as acceptable and are comfortable with allowing into your world. You need to have standards!
How people fulfill those standards, however, is likely to be different than how you may see it. Allowing for people to do things their own way releases a lot of the stress you may be holding if your expectation is that they will do it your way.
Expect people to be themselves. Not your version of them.
So. Much. Disappointment. Avoided.
We all have our ideal version of life.
Knowing what you want and going after it is fantastic. Knowing that not all will go according to plan, people will fall short, and that we need to be cautious about laying our rose-colored view on others is even better.
Go for your dreams! Just take your brain with you.
P.S. Did you get everything you needed from this article? No? Maybe it’s time for a little more.
My goal is to meet you where you are and walk with you until you’re ready to set out again. A little strategy goes a long way. Let’s set up a mini-strategy session to get you started!
Not quite ready for 1:1? My book, “Divorce is a Push Up: Get Strong To Get Through” is a practical and emotional guide to take you from the decision – made by your or by your spouse – all the way through post-divorce.
Stop feeling overwhelmed, guilty, confused or afraid and get prepared!
And don’t forget to grab your FREE Divorce Survival Kit before you go!