So you're getting a divorce or are divorced. That's the news. It can be good news or bad news, but wherever you fall on the spectrum, it's reality.
When you go through a divorce, you're in survival mode. Your whole world has been tossed upside down and you barely know where you are let alone where you're going. At those times, it's good practice to take a step back and look at the big picture.
Here it is, the (very general) good, bad, and ugly that comes with divorce.
- You are free from an unhappy marriage!
- You get to decide where you go next (within reason if there are kids involved)
- Your happiness is completely and totally up to you
- You no longer have a partner beside you to go through this with
- You have to start over just when life was settled or on the way to settled
- You never truly have a life without your ex because you will be co-parenting with him/her as long as your kids need parents
Obviously there's more good, more bad, and maybe even more ugly based on your individual situation, but this is a general way of looking at life as a whole after divorce.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am passionate about being the best parent you can be, which means being the best co-parent you can be. With that said, co-parenting is hard! It's hard even when things work well between you and your ex, but when they're not working well, it feels like co-parenting hell. At those times, doing this exercise takes you out of the weeds and gives you a bird's eye view of your life to help you see it's more than what it feels.
Take out a piece of paper and you're going to draw a picture of your life right now, from that bird's eye view. Maybe it's a picture of you in sweats, sitting on a couch in the living room. There's a coffee table with a box of tissues and some used ones next to it. You notice a divorce decree on the coffee table, too. There's a glass of wine on the side table as well as flowers and cards from the people that love you. Your kid's items are strewn about the room the way they always seem to be and the TV is on playing your favorite movie.
Maybe your life is more like a football game. You're the quarterback and are suited up. Your jersey number matches the date your divorce was final. As the team lines up and the ball is snapped, you look up, ball in hand and notice your friends and family are surrounding you, protecting you from the opposing team - your ex. You throw the ball down field in a Hail Mary pass as your team is tackled by your ex and their team. Was the catch good?
When you draw this out, I want you to look at the tiny details in the picture and notice all the good items. Circle them in your picture. Sure there's some bad in the picture, there's some ugly in the picture, but there's good, too. Too often we get caught up in managing the bad that we don't notice the good and this simple exercise can help you notice how surrounded by good you really are.
Comment below with the good in your life's picture!
In order to be the best parent and the best co-parent you can be, you need to be able to manage life when it gets difficult - and believe me, it will. This is just one exercise to help, but there are many more coming up. Make sure you're in on the chance to earn your "Emotional Inventory" badge as well as the chance to earn more badges making you the best parent and co-parent you can be.