I have to be honest. I had a hard time committing to this title because I am such a believer in owning your truth and giving it a voice. And yet I also believe that there is a lot of value in faking it until you make it, in the pursuit of personal growth. Faking it until you make it is an effective way to train the brain new ways.
All of that aside … when you know this is your last Christmas as a traditional family, or you are thinking this may be a possibility here are a few things you can do to survive hanging in there:
  • Be Kind. Kindness is difficult when we are hurting. Kindness is a conscious choice.
  • Kids First. Put your kids first, after all you are doing this for them. Bite your tongue, take a few breathes and think about the task at hand before reacting emotionally – “kids first”. This requires both patience and strength. You need to pull up your big girl/boy socks and tuck the animosity aside for the holidays … at the very least be 100% certain that the kids don’t see or hear it.
  • Limit alcohol consumption. A misplaced, badly timed moment of “liquid courage” will surely be a disaster. Our words are that one thing in life that we simply can’t take back.
  • Reduce your time together. Come up with a plan where each of you can have some space.
  • Get out of your story. If only we could embrace this on the daily! Over the course of our lifetime we develop a story … many stories actually. Our stories prevent us from hearing what is being said for simply what it is. We hear it with a filter … the filter being our story. Our story is our internal messaging. Think about this … she asks why he doesn’t come kiss her at the door when she gets home like he used to. He hears he’s a failure, or he hears that he’s never good enough, or he hears that he’s screwed up. Another example would be … he asks if she can please stop banging around the house. She hears that she’s not important, or she hears that she’s not appreciated, or she hears that she’s not valued. What if we could stop and hear what is actually being said – and for that matter actually share the heart of the matter. The story that we create in moments is ours – not our partners. If only we could listen to hear. Take it at face value. Hear the message. And yes … this is challenging to execute even with tools and coaching … do your very best this holiday season because you want to. If you can start to catch yourself or even recognize these moments afterwards, chalk it up as a personal win. Awareness is the first step. Just keep trying to stand up … to walk the right road … to be the very best for your children and at the end of the day … yourself.
  • Forgive yourself. The guilt you likely feel as you look at your kids this holiday season will sting. We are hardest on ourselves and seem to have a hard time forgiving, accepting and loving ourselves the way we do our friends, children, and even co-workers.
  • Give yourself a gift to start the healing … journal. Some people love it, some people hate it. I get it. A journal is a flotation device, it truly is the most amazing counsellor you will ever have. And while you are navigating the holidays what’s better than a pouring out of your heart and mind to the best listener, confidant and cheer leader you’ll ever come across.
If you are in this place of thinking, or knowing that you want  a divorce do your very best to get through the holidays. Laugh with your kids … be gentle with yourself and make the very best of it, however bleak it may feel. In the new year you can have the big conversations and take the time to seek out the appropriate professionals to help you divorce better.

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