Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Breaking Up, Divorce and Letting Go

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In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, 
how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.
I'm terrified of being left behind.

However, underneath my fear of being forgotten is the sense of struggling to let go.

Letting go. I've never been particularly good at letting go. Whether it was letting go of a relationship, project, belief, or routine, I usually stubbornly held on until life forced me to let go.

If you've experienced a recent breakup, separation, or divorce, then at some point you may be wondering, "What was it all about? What did I learn? How did I benefit from having loved this person?"

One of the life lessons I cherish from my divorce is that my ex-husband gave me the incredible gift of learning how to let go. From the time my ex-husband first asked me for a divorce in 2007 until nearly four years later I struggled to hold on to my marriage. I hired this incredible PR and marketing firm called ME to convince him I was the best candidate to be the love of his life. I was relentless in my quest to win him over to the belief that I was worthy to be loved.

Through all my campaigns for affection, I think he did love me, but I couldn't see it because I was too busy outrunning my fear. More importantly, the larger issue I was ignoring is that my fear of being left behind didn't give him the freedom to let go if he needed to grow beyond our relationship. I needed to let go to allow him the freedom to let go.

I did. I finally let go. And it wasn't pretty.

However, later it got better, and I came to trust that two souls could love each beyond this letting go -- a more selfless love than all my desires for security, connection, and affection that had plagued my marriage. I found letting go is perhaps the biggest gift of love I can ever offer another human being. May I have the courage, strength, and grace to always let go.

If you are experiencing a breakup, separation, or divorce, you may choose to download my FREE ebook Divorce Care Package, which offers tools and ideas for helping you through the process of letting go of a love relationship.

To have me facilitate a workshop or retreat on mending after the loss of love, check out my Web site here.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Positive Affirmations on Love after a Breakup or Divorce

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positive affirmations for love

About a year after my divorce, I spent 30 days using the Lemonade Mantras process to work through my negative thinking, anger, shame, and fear to write positive affirmations.

The best of these affirmations on love, prosperity, and peace are included in my free ebook Divorce Care Package that you can download by clicking here.

Below are the personal mantras or positive affirmations I've written about love and loss:

Love grows by moving forward.
Love rides the break of my wave.
I shed a little more each day.
Rejection is the return trip.
Past mistakes are roots to bliss.
Souls meet in between words.
Love loves me.
Happiness touches me.
We are knitted together in sameness.
Love unfetters our hearts.
My heart lightens the divine whole.

I don't say these mantras every day nor do I cling to them. For me they represent a process I went through to examine my thinking and make peace with what I found there. Periodically, I go back and read these affirmations like you would a favorite poem, and the memory contained within the words acts as a sort of metronome getting me back in sync with my heart.

If you've suffered the loss of a love relationship through a breakup, separation, divorce, or perhaps even death and you want to learn how to write your own personalized positive affirmations that re-script your thinking, you can download my free ebook Lemonade Mantras by clicking here.

Here is the complete list of my 30 day exploration into writing positive affirmations concerning my divorce and the loss of love:
  1. Symbols are the words beneath my silence.
  2. The future cares beyond fathomable measure.
  3. Preserve the longing where you long to serve.
  4. My living river flows on top of the future.
  5. Life requires that we change places.
  6. The river of consciousness flows by giving forward.
  7. I’m here to learn love and loss.
  8. Dark places are creative spaces.
  9. Let up and uplift.
  10. Dream play is your only work.
  11. Center is your leading edge. 
  12. Intention rearranges the habits of your heart.
  13. Your soul is the sun. 
  14. Far away minds are tucked inside happy hearts.
  15. Life is a long string of chosen observations.
  16. Love rides the break of your wave.
  17. Acceptance digs spontaneity.
  18. Fill up on life is your universal pact.
  19. Marriage was the hand on my cage that set me free.
  20. I am a blaze of hopeful particles, mapping my destination.
  21. Being empty attracts the perfect filling.
  22. My steps leave clouds of stardust.
  23. Refresh my screensaver life.
  24. Shelve questions and live answers.
  25. Crossroads bring waves of destiny.
  26. Souls meet in between words.
  27. Take away all knowing you find yourself anew
  28. Satisfaction surrenders to every new beginning.
  29. Truth telling is a stain remover.
  30. Inside outside is all sides.
If you are experiencing a breakup, separation, or divorce, you may choose to download my FREE ebook Divorce Care Package, which offers tools and ideas for helping you through the process of letting go of a love relationship.

To have me facilitate a workshop or retreat on mending after the loss of love or writing positive affirmations, check out my Web site here.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

10 Tips to Build Self Confidence After a Breakup or Divorce

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building self-confidence

This is a list of suggestions for ways to work with your self-confidence after a relationship breakup or divorce. To be perfectly honest, I wrestled with half of the ideas on this list. One of the things I had the most difficulty with was avoiding what I call escape routes -- things I like to do to run away from emotional pain. Even though I have a strong meditation and awareness practice, I was very adept at masterminding escape routes throughout my separation, divorce, and recovery process.

Also, I was probably in denial for over a year after my divorce, but I was so deep in denial that I had perfected the art of denying that my denial even existed!! So working with denial and acceptance can be a slippery business.

I offer these tips as starting points for getting curious about your confidence after a breakup or divorce. They aren't measurements or goals, but rather ways of noticing how you're doing, where you've slid off course, and give you a sense of how to get back to center. How you're doing is neither "good" nor "bad." It's just the way things are with you today and tomorrow will be different.

Work with Denial & Acceptance

The best medicine I have for working with denial and creating acceptance is staying in the present moment. Like a detective look around you and observe with intensity the present moment and realize the person you loved is not with you and let everything be as it is. Accept this moment exactly how it is and accept that being without this person is how it is. Be gentle and kind to yourself as you work with your denial and acceptance of change.

Express Your Feelings

Try not to let your feelings become trapped inside your body and mind. Express your feelings to friends and family members that you trust or a support group. If you like to write, utilize a journal to express your feelings.

Explore Your Self-Esteem

Consider your breakup or divorce as an opportunity to explore possible issues with self-esteem. Work with a therapist to understand issues of low self-esteem that may have been triggered by your breakup or divorce.

Create a New Social Life

Look at the people in your life. Who do you socialize with and why? Use this breakup or divorce as a time to examine what kind of social life you want to have in your life and make appropriate changes if necessary. Do you want to bond with family more? Do you want to find communities that have the same interests as you? Have you grown out of certain friendships and need to find new ones that match your values and interests?

Avoid Escape Routes

Experiencing a breakup or divorce can be scary and one of our primal survival instincts tells us to flee from anything painful. It can be challenging to just sit with feelings and body sensations regarding your loss. You might find yourself using escape routes to avoid your feelings of grief, shame, insecurity, anger, and fear.

Pay attention to your behavior and notice if you are searching for an escape route to avoid pain. If you identify a possible escape route you are using, stop engaging in the behavior, sit, do nothing, and just be with your feelings and body sensations instead. Here are some possible forms of escape:

  • Getting involved in a new love interest too soon after your breakup.
  • Staying overly busy at work as a form of distraction.
  • Engaging in addictive behavior such as food, drugs, alcohol, or an activity.
  • Obsessing on the details of things like managing your kids lives, a project, etc.
  • Becoming attached to a particular routine. 

Think About Something Else

After your breakup or divorce, you might think about your ex-partner a lot. Try to interrupt your thoughts with something else. Write a positive affirmation using my free ebook Lemonade Mantras or come up with a phrase to say so as to notice when you have started down the rabbit hole of your thinking. Your could label it "silly story" or maybe you relate your ex to something you crave like chocolate and it could be something that makes you laugh such as "peanut butter cup."

It may take 40-90 days to soften your thinking about your ex in this way. Later when you've stopped with your "what if's," "shoulds," or internal conversations about blame you might use a loving kindness meditation to let go of your past relationship and start thinking of them in a positive way. Click here to download a free loving kindness meditation guide.

Make a List of Positive Things

Sit down and write a list of 50 things you like about yourself. They can be qualities you see in yourself or special talents. Make sure you complete the list. I'm sure there are actually more than 50; however, you may be struggling to see positive attributes in yourself right now so make a commitment to finish the list.

Believe in Your Value

You may have not felt valued, appreciated, or loved in your past relationship. Make a list of 10 things about you (experiences, wisdom, or actions), which contribute to the well-being of others and the world. Circle the one thing that has the most meaning for you and write it on a post-it note. Stick it on your refrigerator or computer so you can see it every day.

Periodically throughout your day while interacting with others at work, home, and socializing ask yourself, "Do I feel valued and loved here?" If the answer is "No," ask yourself who you want to be with or what you want to be doing instead. Start making appropriate changes in your life to be in the places and with the people who value what you have to share with the world.

Integrate New Lessons

Instead of thinking of your past relationship as a form of personal failure or a mistake, think of it as a beautiful book about life that you just finished reading. What did you learn from this relationship? What new things were brought into your life because of this relationship? How have you grown or been altered because of this relationship? What do you want to work with now because of the experience of this relationship?

Create Healthy Risks

You loved someone. You took a risk. After your breakup or divorce you may be reluctant to take all different kinds of risks because you are afraid of feeling any sort of emotional pain. Start small and create healthy risks that you can build upon. For instance, maybe you haven't ridden your bike in a couple of years and you start riding on the weekend. Later when you're feeling more confident, perhaps you build on this experience and join a group of people who ride bikes, learn how to repair your bike, or even take a bike trip.

In the beginning, choose a healthy risk (preferably not related to a love interest) where you can feel safe and have some control over decision making. Later when you feel more confident, start letting go of control more and more so taking risks, trying, failing, and mastering feels like a natural part of who you are again.

If you are experiencing a breakup, separation, or divorce, you may choose to download my FREE ebook Divorce Care Package, which offers tools and ideas for helping you through the process of letting go of a love relationship.

To have me facilitate a workshop or retreat on mending after the loss of love, check out my Web site here.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Helping Your Child Cope with Divorce

I'm childless, so unfortunately I don't have direct experience with kids and divorce. However, having gone through a divorce, which felt like going through major surgery and then recovery, I can imagine how much immensely difficult it is to remain supportive, stable, and available to children who are along for the ride. I was barely able to be there for myself let alone someone who is counting on me to be there for them.

That being said, from the divorced parents I am friends with, what appears to help the most is creating a small, intimate community of single parents, family, and friends who can help share in the support and raising of their kids during the divorce recovery process. Fathers spending time with other single fathers, going to ball games with the kids, camping, days at the beach or mothers sharing stories, movie night, and childcare with other single mothers.

Sometimes the idea of divorce feels like you have to go it alone, but many times there are single parents going through the same stuff that would relish the opportunity to build a community of support for each other and their kids.

While you are learning to take care of yourself and heal after a divorce, you may need to dedicate time to helping your kids find tools to mend and create a new kind of relationship with you and your former mate. Here are some books that may give you ideas for how to start the process:

Putting Children First: Proven Parenting Strategies for Helping Children Thrive Through Divorce

Difficult Questions Kids Ask and Are too Afraid to Ask About Divorce

Mommy and Daddy are Getting Divorced, Helping Children Cope with Divorce

Standing on My Own Two Feet: A Child's Affirmation of Love in the Midst of Divorce

The Divorce Workbook for Teens: Activities to Help you Move Beyond the Break Up

If you are experiencing a breakup, separation, or divorce, you may choose to download my FREE ebook Divorce Care Package, which offers tools and ideas for helping you through the process of letting go of a love relationship.

To have me facilitate a workshop or retreat on mending after the loss of love, check out my Web site here.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Best Divorce and Breakup Movie List

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In my divorce support group, one of the most surprising things we did was to share breakup movies. It seemed silly at the time, but as I watched some of these movies while beginning my life alone, I felt both comforted and consoled by the humor, sadness, and universal connection of love found within these stories.

These movies let you know you're not alone in your breakup or divorce experience. People have walked this path before you and in hearing their stories you start to feel a sense of hope.

This list of breakup and divorce movies offers stories from varying perspectives: men and women, gay and straight, young and mature, and childless and single parent. Some of them are crude and funny, while others are so emotionally devastating they are hard to watch. However, there is something to learn from every story on this list.





Breakup Movies

(500) Days of Summer
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
He's Just Not That Into You
Valentine's Day
The Holiday
Sliding Doors
Someone Like You
High Fidelity
The Wedding Singer
Bridget Jones's Diary
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
The Way We Were
Pride and Prejudice
The Break-Up
Better Off Dead
Jerry Maguire
Brokeback Mountain
Breaking Upwards
Something’s Gotta Give

Divorce Movies

Eat Pray Love
The First Wives Club
Mrs. Doubtfire
The Philadelphia Story
War of the Roses
Wonder Boys
Kramer vs. Kramer
The First Wives Club
Under the Tuscan Sun
The Squid and the Whale
Waiting to Exhale
The Whole Nine Yards
One Fine Day
Along Came Polly
Must Love Dogs
When Harry Met Sally
Hope Floats
Sweet Home Alabama
It’s Complicated
The Parent Trap
Liar Liar
Crazy, Stupid, Love
Blue Valentine
Definitely Maybe
P.S. I Love You (widowed)
The Hours
Far From Heaven
If I Were You
Enough Said
Stuck in Love 

If you are experiencing a breakup, separation, or divorce, you may choose to download my FREE ebook Divorce Care Package, which offers tools and ideas for helping you through the process of letting go of a love relationship.

To have me facilitate a workshop or retreat on mending after the loss of love, check out my Web site here.