Divorce & A Blanket of Peace

I have a particular conversation with almost every new divorce client. The same conversation, over and over. It’s tailored to the specific facts of my client’s case, of course, but the core is the same:

After I listen carefully and with compassion to the things their spouse has done or is doing, and after they ask how to change the actions or feelings of their spouse, I say this: You can’t change ANYONE.  Ever.  You can only change yourself.  And you are only responsible for your actions and feelings.

Well, that isn’t something most people want to hear.  They want to hear:  “Yes, you can change him or her and here’s the fool-proof method for how!”  Too bad that isn’t true.  But the good news?  You can change your own thoughts and feelings. And when you do, you will finally be happy.  You will have peace.

I spent years in unhappy and miserable-ville because I didn’t know this or didn’t accept it.   Now, I get it most days, but I’m still sometimes learning the hard way. The fact that we can create our own positive, happy life, no matter what’s happening around us –not an easy concept to truly grasp, accept and live. We live in a reactive culture, not a creative one.  For instance, the email or text alert goes off and we lurch for the iphone to see who it is.  But we do have choices.  Turn the text alert off.  Where your spouse or ex-spouse is concerned, you also have choices, though you may argue with me for a while that you don’t.

Once you get it, you will be able to literally “change your mind” — to change your feelings about a situation pretty quickly. You can access feelings within that will feel like a blanket of peace on you, warm and soft. You can change your state of mind. Here are a few ways, I’m sure you can think of dozens more:

  1. deep and slow breathing, maybe even turning the corners of your mouth upwards.  It won’t kill you, I promise.
  2. repeating some soothing words
  3. listening to powerful music you love that inspires you
  4. calling or meeting up with a positive, forward-thinking friend and talking
  5. taking a brisk walk or a run, around your house, block ,or the beach or lake
  6. taking a shower or bath:  cleansing away the negative thoughts
  7. baking or cooking a really delicious meal for yourself
  8. watching a funny movie or searching YouTube for “inspirational videos.”
  9. If you have children, having a tickle-fest.  Kid laughter is the purest form of sunshine I know.

I have faith in you.  I know you can learn that you can only control you.  I know you can let go of your husband’s or wife’s reactions and actions…. when you do, there you will find your peace. Give it a try and let me know how it goes?  I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

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1 Comment

  1. This is so true, Kimberly. Thank you for offering your liberating perspective. Your clients are truly fortunate to have you leading them through such an important transition.