So, who are you?
Who are you really?
As you weather this storm, you may want to look back to see how you arrived here.
Have you found yourself again? Did you disappear in the marriage or just become someone else, someone others wanted you to be? Well, that's ok as now you have time to be yourself. Think back to when you were single.
What made you happy? Who were your friends? How did you feel?
Are you repeating old patterns of behaviour?
Have you learnt from this painful experience?
Anyone who hasn't made any mistakes recently must be doing something wrong.

If you can start the day without caffeine or pills.
If you can be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains
If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles
If you can eat the same food everyday and be grateful for it
If you can understand when loved ones are too busy to give you time
If you can overlook when people take things out on you when, through no fault of yours something goes wrong
If you can take criticism and blame without resentment
If you can face the world without lies or deceit
If you can conquer tension without medical help
If you can relax without alcohol
If you can sleep without the aid of pills...then you are probably the family dog!

Thanks to Dr Jack Connor M.D. He was an inspiration and loving friend for over 30 years. One of this world's gentle people. Sadly, Jack died in 2008 and his widow, Moira, has also passed away. He was always upbeat even with the ill health of old age and always had a joke in his letters. He ended each letter to me with 'I love you.' I loved you too. Take his example and say how you feel to your loved ones.

"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."
William Shakespeare

How should I react?
You are a unique individual and your perceptions are also unique. No matter what has happened to you, whether through your own choice or thrust upon you, you alone can choose your reaction to this life event.
You can become a victim or you can commit to facing this situation as a challenge.
No-one is saying that what has happened is good or bad but you have the choice to deal with it in a constructive manner. You have a history, a unique childhood and a unique way in which you view the world through your own kind of filter.
But you are accountable. This means that you should not use past events over and over to build excuses about your present circumstances. If you continually view things through these old filters, then you are allowing this divorce to dictate your present lifestyle and even your own future.
Yes, you have suffered so much pain and heartache but now is the time to maintain an active, ongoing awareness of these filters, these perceptions.

Can I trust and love again?
Yes, if you allow yourself. But do you resent the opposite sex? Identify these filters and compensate for them. Some triumph and others have difficulties depending whether the filter is seen as one of challenge or as an overwhelming situation. You choose.

"And could you keep your hearts in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy."
Khalil Gibran, "The Prophet"

How can I forgive and stop punishing myself?
' Whatever is begun in anger ends in shame.'
There is power in forgiveness as you choose to let go of the anger and resentment which are eating into you. You may think that you deserve to carry so much hatred with you but there is a high price to pay for this. These negative feelings change who you are, they really do. They alter your heart and mind.(Look back at Healing exercises in Emotions.)

To foresee happiness; forego hurt. The more you look for the happy you, the easier it is to find the happy you.

When you live with anger
The intense emotions of divorce crowd out every other feeling in your heart, leaving only aggression on the outside and bitterness on the inside. When you live with anger and resentment, your body's chemical balance is badly disturbed. Your flight or fight responses remain aroused twenty-four hours a day. This means that peace, joy and relaxation are so difficult to obtain while you are in this state. You could have a disturbed sleeping pattern, fatigue, nightmares and poor concentration. This could also lead to a worsening of any actual ailments or the start of new ones.

Think of those who love you
You are not meant to live in this confused state. Just think of those who love you, who watch you disappearing, the person they used to know. Don't be a prisoner of these emotions. Set yourself free by forgiving your partner. You do not have to do this literally but in your own mind. Although you have the right to be angry, choose to move on for the sake of your family and friends. In order to love and be loved, these negative emotions must be cast away.

Oh, the sanctity of being the one wronged.

Remaining a victim
You create your own experience. If you hang on to this bitterness, you will have to deal with the consequences. After all, you do teach people how to treat you and if you perceive yourself as a victim, you will remain a victim.

"No-one can make you feel inferior without your consent."
Eleanor Roosevelt.

Why do people treat me badly?
People learn by results. You can either accept someone's behaviour or not and you therefore affect the behaviour of those with whom you interact. If you accept their behaviour, they are likely to repeat it and you therefore actively define your relationships. So, in all areas of your life, you may ask yourself why people treat you in such a way. The answer is that people do what works.
You have taught them.

Can I change?
Yes, of course. You are accountable and you can change the way you define your relationships. You either teach people to treat you with dignity and respect or you don't. You can teach them your rules and your boundaries. You teach by either actively rewarding a certain behaviour or by passively allowing it. (Read more about this in Moving On)

"Be courteous to all, but intimate with few; and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence."
George Washington

Is it good to dream?
Everyone has dreams and dreams are all they are. Sometimes they are healthy and sometimes not. Sometimes they can be turned into goals but goals have to be specific events or behaviour. If, for example, you have always dreamed of living in the country, which specific goals can you set to achieve this dream? Maybe you are constrained by finances but aim to make this a goal. It doesn't have to be right now, you can work towards it, perhaps when your children are grown up or maybe you will recognise the opportunity when it presents itself. Working towards a goal is in itself therapeutic. You could spend more time in the countryside and seek out opportunities in your spare time.

Why am I so afraid, immobilised?
This too may be normal and will pass. With stress and anxiety come irrational fears.
With irrational fears we have irrational behaviour.
Facing the fear, whether financial or emotional, will lessen this feeling's hold over you.
How many times do you find something else to do, or do nothing at all, instead of taking a small positive step to overcome this fear? You're only human, especially in these circumstances.

The bigger picture
But look to the future and see the bigger picture. The divorce will eventually be behind you. You will still feel some of this sadness but you will be happy as you move from a state of survival mode to one of balance. You will once again grow emotionally and regain your self-confidence as you feel secure in your new life pattern.
Peacefulness and balance. Composure and optimism.
You cannot control this change but you can face it with the very best you can give. That is all you can do. Read through our body and spirit sections for further thoughts and help.

To awaken each morning with a smile brightening my face;
To greet the day with reverence for the opportunities it contains;
To approach my work with a clean mind; to hold ever before me,
Even in the doing of little things, the ultimate purpose toward
Which I am working; to meet men and women with laughter on my lips and love in my heart;
To be gentle, kind and courteous through all the hours;
To approach the night with weariness that ever woos
Sleep and the joy that comes form work well done - this is how
I Desire to waste wisely my days.
Thomas Dekker 1570-1641

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