Attitude and healing

This modest blog is intended to help someone who is experiencing the excrutiating first steps of divorce. It had not occured to me that a person who has been divorced for a while would also be interested in reading these pages, but that seems to be the case. I'm humbled and thrilled to know this.

The hardest adjustment you'll need to make as a divorced person (or someone who is going through divorce) is in your attitude towards the divorce, your mate, and yourself. I am a child of divorce and I was determined to create a successful marriage. My determination was so great that toward the end of my marriage I had twisted myself into a pretzel trying to achieve my husband's vision of what a good wife should be and do. Notice I said my husband's vision, not my own. Toward the end, nothing I did pleased him. After agreeing to some crucial life-changing compromises (not having a child, for example, or pursuing my own career) he left any way.

It took all my strength of will not to start playing the blame game, or to beat myself up for having made some of these choices. I was a willing accomplice in our joint decisions, and the one factor that helped me to move on, the one decision I made that helped me to heal, was to make an adjustment in attitude. My attitude went from "Why is he doing this to me?" to "It wasn't all his fault. It takes two to tango, and I missed some steps along the way."

As soon as I recognized my role in our failed dance of intimacy, I had something I could work on and learn from. My attitude adjustment not only freed me from blaming him, it freed me from regretting my past choices. We grow strong by learning from our mistakes. But, if your attitude is that it's all someone else's fault, then you've missed out on the opportunity to learn something about yourself.

In analyzing why some of my friends seem to cope with life's harsh realities better than others, I've come up with a few(unscientific) observations about their characteristics. People who are able to rebound quickly and move on are generally

* people with a positive outlook.
* people who are able to reach out to others.
* people who actively pursue interests that nurture their souls.
* people who set goals and pursue them, making new ones if the old ones don't work.
* people who don't let past mistakes bog them down.
* people who possess inner strength.
* people who are able to laugh at their own foibles and mistakes.
* people of faith, who find solace in their belief and in their church community.
*people who view life as a journey, where every experience, good or bad, builds strength and character.

This attitude adjustment did not come easily. And I still find myself saying once in a while, "What if..." or "I should have ..."

But the situation is what it is. Why keep beating yourself up or your ex, for that matter? Life has dealt us a certain set of cards, and it's the way we play the game that counts.

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