Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Volunteer for Happiness

Happiness during the dark days of divorce may seem out of your realm, but it doesn’t have to be. While you are caught up in the proceedings, whether you are divorcing with lawyers involved, or you and your ex are trying to hammer out an agreement yourselves , the roller coaster ride may seem more like a death spiral, but you can come up for air and find some happiness by taking yourself out of the ring for awhile. Take a weekend and volunteer for Habitat for Humanity or maybe a local homeless shelter. Giving your time to a worthy cause, and reminding yourself that there are others in the world with worse problems, can help you keep perspective and realize that life will go on and that you will be fine. Also, volunteering gives your mind another focus and takes you out of the constant banter in your head about the wrongs that your ex has inflicted on you or the anger you feel at him and the situation you now find yourself in. Happiness is work at this time in your life, but well worth the effort because what better way to have revenge than to walk away happy with confidence and purpose. Spend time writing about how you can help others and then how that makes you feel. The act of divorce can be so overwhelming and smothering that you must find ways to keep your head above water and to keep it all in perspective. Life is hard for the majority of the world and divorce is survivable. Volunteer.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Confronting ourselves

Letting go of the past can be difficult no matter how long you have been divorced, no matter how happy you are, no matter how full your life has become, no matter how well you think you have put it behind you. Sometimes the past rears up and the old feelings come trickling or even flooding back in, but what you do with those feelings is important. After a recent visit with my sons, one of them told me he thinks I still harbor resentment towards their father. I have spent some time thinking about what he said, and though I do not resent their father, when I return to the town where we had our life, where two of my sons still live, I realize that I feel some twinges of guilt that my children did not have a family that stayed intact, and that I have tended to rehash some of my marriage experiences with them. I also tend to offer unsolicited advice in hopes they never follow the path their parents wandered down. Here I am writing about getting on with life, choosing happiness, and my past still nips at my heels on occasion. I am very thankful that my son mentioned this to me, because what better way to learn about oneself than to be confronted and have to face my own shortcomings. So, even though I am happy beyond measure in my life now, I realize that grown children do not want to rehash the past any more than your children still in your care do, and that the past is just that, the past, and our children must live their own lives, make their own mistakes and most importantly, forge their own paths. A reminder to myself and to all of us, we can’t change our past, but we can let it go. We can believe in our present and look forward to our futures. And we can believe in our children and have hope for their futures! Choose happiness and leave the past behind. I find that when I have something that I need to confront, my best way to deal with the problem, the situation, whatever it may be, is to write about what is going on and what might be causing the attachment to the past. This allows me to work though my feelings and thoughts and to then put the situation to rest. Give this a try in your journal the next time you need to confront yourself.