While this may sound like an oxymoron, it’s time to divorce with compassion. With a 50% divorce rate, you would think we’d have a better handle on this. We all know that it takes time for societal shifts to come to fruition, and for the sake of children of divorce it’s time to set an example and it’s all about altering perspective. This necessary shift in perspective is two fold because divorcing with compassion is not only about having compassion for your ex, it’s about having compassion for self
. It means forgiving yourself for the breakdown in your relationship, and not seeing it as failure. And while this sounds difficult, it is something you have control over. And trust me, while you navigate divorce it’s reassuring to know that there is one thing you can control because the rest comes at you fast and furious.
You simply can’t control the fact that your spouse no longer wants to be married to you, or has fallen out of love with you, or has cheated on you … what you do have control over is how you handle it. So why is it we wake up and suddenly have contempt for the person who we once declared lifelong love for? It’s an irrational, emotionally driven reaction to go from making love and sharing a home to feeling nothing but contempt the next. Why? Because we are stuck in ego? Because we don’t know how to navigate a broken heart? Because we don’t know what to do with rejection?
So what does divorcing with compassion look like? Divorcing with compassion means putting your kids first. Which in turn also means putting yourself first. I often refer to the children of divorce as the beacon … your true north. If you put your kids ahead of every decision, which means that you imagine your children can read every email, text, and hear every conversation you will – and should – communicate with respect. It’s a level of kindness that you give the barista at the coffee shop … it’s basic. If you can have the capacity to communicate with respect it will automatically reduce conflict. And if you sit down and ask any child of divorce this is all they want
– is for the two pillars in their life to get along and quite frankly, care about each other. Yes, they would prefer their family stays together, but that is not necessarily the best, so when divorce is the choice, showing your kids that you care for the other half of them, they will have significantly less scaring from the process.
As I mentioned earlier, while divorcing with compassion is healthy for your children, it is without question healthier for both of you. Feeling sadness and having a broken heart hurts like hell. It rocks your world and leaves you feeling hollow. Choosing anger over hurt is destructive to everyone involved. And it is choice. Anger is a choice. Anger protects us from the hurt. It is a coping mechanism that prevents us from the reality of the situation. And while anger can serve a purpose in life it essentially causes more pain because it keeps us from being real and it hurts others around us. It takes courage and strength to sit in pain. It’s easier – at the time – to choose anger, but the longer you choose anger, the harder it will be to shake it. Sitting in the hurt feels dark. It is unfamiliar … it can feel like a never ending hole of darkness ,,, of sleepless nights … of no appetite … of despair … it feels like a pit in your stomach that literally leaves you gasping for air and it can leave you in a puddle of tears that feel like they’ll never end.
Here’s the good news – it does get better. Time does indeed heal. And while we can’t pin point just how long this can take I can promise you that you’ll recover and start to move forward light years ahead of those that choose anger. Again … anger is a choice. Sadness is not … and the sadness will hover under the guise of anger until you face it. And the longer it sits in waiting the more difficult it is to face it because anger leaves a trail of carnage.
Divorcing with compassion takes courage and strength. It takes smarts and tenacity. If the other half of the equation functions from anger here is where the tenacity comes in to play because it takes calling on a continual source of strength to stay on the compassion train. You can know one thing … that other person, your ex, is hurting. So while he or she is being vindictive, immature or simply mean know in your head and heart that they are in pain and need time.
we coach our clients to find compassion, to put their kids first and to heal their hearts. It’s a process and everyone heals differently. Divorcing with compassion takes a commitment and love for yourself
. Take solace in knowing that it is never too late to heal what hurts, and there is never a better time than right now.