Shift #1: Culture Shift – Transform Your Relationship To Divorce
Transforming Your Divorce
In our society, we view divorce as an inevitably negative event or experience. When we hear people are getting divorced, the first thing we say is, “I’m sorry”– which tacitly suggests that divorce is a bad outcome. When we get divorced, we berate ourselves for having “failed” at marriage, and carry feelings of anger, shame, hurt, and regret into our post-divorce life. However, we can transform our relationship to divorce.
But here’s the truth: although society conditions us to believe that such negativity is a natural by-product of divorce, it’s not. We always have the choice to reframe our relationship to divorce and use the experience to serve us in positive ways.
My guest this week can help you make the mental shift necessary to reject our cultural acceptance of negativity in divorce.
This week I’m welcoming Deb Purdy, a transformation coach, speaker, workshop leader. Deb successfully pulled herself out of a messy, painful spiral in her divorce by using several internal shifts that allowed her to rewrite her divorce story. Thanks to these shifts, she designed the post-divorce life she wanted and created a very collaborative and friendly relationship with her ex-husband, who she considers her co-parenting partner. She is the author of the book, Something Gained: 7 Shifts to Be Stronger, Smarter & Happier After Divorce.
Use Divorce to Your Advantage
Deb proposes that the first step in shifting away from a culturally ingrained view of divorce is accepting the logical notion that not all marriages are meant to last forever. Some marriages are destined to last; others are destined to end. It’s not a question of “failure.” Rather, we need to see that divorce, like marriage, is a valuable experience that can contribute to our personal growth and help us evolve into a more loving and compassionate person.
To make this shift in perspective, Deb urges learning to “use divorce to your advantage.” Don’t take this phrase to mean that you should use the divorce against your spouse or anyone else in a negative sense. Rather, it means you should aim to view your divorce–and marriage–as a vehicle or “learning lab” for your personal growth.
For example, when Deb made this shift in mindset during her own divorce, she began examining her marriage and divorce for unconscious relationship patterns. She realized that she had a pattern of being an “over pleaser.” Her husband would make decisions that she disagreed with, but she went along with any way to please him, which created resentment.
Deb realized then that although she had felt like a victim during their marriage, she was a participant in an unhealthy dynamic by not standing up for herself. She now understands herself better and can avoid repeating such damaging behavior in her next relationship–a definite positive.
Start with Gratitude
Learning to release your old vision of your marriage and divorce, and examining it critically, is no easy task. It’s an odd comfort to cling to the familiar stories about our relationship and center ourselves as the victim. But there’s nowhere to go but down when we hold onto these old stories and injuries.
If you’re struggling to shift your mindset about divorce or find positivity in your divorce or marriage, Deb recommends beginning the work by creating a running list of the gifts and blessings of your divorce. Think about what you know about yourself now that you didn’t before. For example, ask yourself questions like: How has divorce opened your heart? What relationships do you have now that you wouldn’t have had? What are you grateful for in your life now?
As Deb points out–all the information you need is there. You just need to be willing to open yourself up and look for it.
Read the rest of our series: “Rewriting Your Post-Divorce Storyline”:
- Use Your Divorce For Positive Transformation
- Shift #2: Intention Shift – Decide How You Will Be in Divorce
- Shift #3: Story Shift – Change Your Divorce Story
- Shift #4: Shift on Your Ex – Find Peace in Your Relationship
- Shift #5: Shift the Conversation – Help Loved Ones to Support You in Divorce
- Shift #6: Kids are Shifters Too – Helping Your Children Thrive Post-Divorce
- Shift #7: Shift On – Enjoy Your Life Do-Over After Divorce