Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Breakup or Divorce: The Gift of Adversity & Building Fortitude

Breakup or Divorce A Gift for Building Fortitude by Beth Hemmila of the Breakup Care Package

Not too long ago I had a dream about a math test that took three days. There was a problem on the test that nobody could solve. It was impossible.

At the end of the test, the teacher asked us why we thought he put an impossible problem on the test. I said that it felt like a spiritual lesson for developing fortitude.


The ability to be courageous when faced with pain or adversity is the essence of fortitude. Some synonyms for fortitude include endurance, resilience, strength of character, steadfastness, strong-mindedness, spirit, and guts.

Experiencing the breakup of a relationship or divorce is a spiritual lesson that will help you develop fortitude. It takes guts to be the dumpee or dumper. No one is a winner. Both sides of the equation come with emotional work to be done.

Right now things might hurt or perhaps you feel ashamed. You might think of these things as burdens that are weighing you down. Why not start thinking of them like weights at the gym that you're using to build muscle?

When you're out of shape, and you pick up a weight of course it's going to be difficult and painful at first, but if you keep practicing soon you will build muscle and strength.

This can be the same experience with a breakup or divorce. It's a problem life has given you as a spiritual tool for building fortitude. See this adversity as a mechanism for growth. Keep working on yourself emotionally and physically. Uncover the stuff you are responsible for that may have contributed to the demise of your relationship. It's the perfect time to come clean and be honest with yourself. Don't let yourself get trapped in a state of victimhood which could put your journey on pause. Instead try to dissolve the barriers holding you back from loving yourself and others. Take healthy risks to build self-confidence. Maintain the well-being of your body. Learn to forgive yourself and others.

Face the denial, anger, sadness, and grief and over time you will build fortitude -- a type of inner strength that perhaps didn't exist before.

More importantly, start to see that it's highly possible this fortitude is something you're going to need further down the road. So embrace your pain as growth for in actuality, your breakup or divorce could be your teacher calling on you to start training for something bigger.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Breakup or Divorce: Tips on Moving Out OR Redecorating to Stay

Tips on Moving Out OR Redecorating to Stay After a Divorce by Beth Hemmila of the Breakup Care Package

If you've just recently experienced a breakup or divorce, you probably had to make a decision about who moves out of the house or apartment. You may be the person that had to go and find a new place to live or you could be the person who stayed. Alternatively, maybe both of you moved out and you are faced with selling a house together.

No matter your circumstance after your breakup or divorce -- whether you moved out or stayed behind -- each situation has its advantages and disadvantages. The key is figuring out how you want to deal with the problems you're faced with.

Moving Out

Maybe you had no choice, and you had to leave your living situation or perhaps you wanted to move out. Looking for a new place to live can be a very stressful thing to embark upon while you are also dealing with the confusing and painful feelings surrounding your breakup or divorce. You might start small with a simple efficiency apartment as you transition to finding the perfect location and living arrangement. Think of this first place after the end of your relationship as a sort of base camp -- a place of operations to plan your next move over the coming year.

Consider renting a house or an apartment on a short term or month-to-month lease for your temporary space. If you have family or friends that are willing to put you up for a month or two, then this might help you make a smoother transition because you will have their emotional support. Do you want to live alone or do you want roommates to help liven things up? Will you be sharing custody of the kids? If so, make sure you consider the space obligations you will need to fulfill if you will be having the kids spend the night.

Should you pack up everything you need or take as little as possible and start afresh? When I moved out I took just the essentials and added new things later. In this way, it felt like building a new nest, and I wasn't weighed down with lots of memories attached to the objects in my life.

Staying Behind

Moving out has drama attached to it because someone is dislocated from their home and has to find a new place to live. However, staying behind can be equally as challenging, because you are faced with remaining in an environment that is filled with memories of your love relationship. It might actually be more difficult to feel like you are starting afresh because you are constantly reminded of your love relationship in the space you inhabit.

A suggestion to make this easier is to consider doing some purging and redecorating. Get rid of the stuff you don't need. Rethink how your living space is used. Now that your partner left, do you have an empty room that could be turned into an art studio or home office? Do a deep cleaning of your home. Paint the walls a new color, move furniture around, and purchase relatively inexpensive items that have big impact like bedding, curtains, plants, and accessories. If you don't have a whole lot of money, shop at thrift stores or ask your friends if they have anything they'd like to get rid of or trade.

When you move out, you may feel like you have made a clean break and can start rebuilding your life. However, because you left the environment of your relationship, it may actually take more time to grieve your loss because denial could be getting in the way of you moving forward. Having to stay behind and face the end of your relationship in the home you both built together could be incredibly difficult but in the long run you might actually confront your grief head on.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Learning to Say No in Relationships

Learning to Say No in Relationships by Beth Hemmila of the Breakup Care Package

A breakup or divorce is essentially one form of saying "No." You or your partner said, "No, I don't want to be in relationship with you." As difficult as that may be to express or receive, the simple truth is that "No" holds a beautiful honesty and ultimately values our deepest needs for loving kindness towards ourselves and others.

At some point in your life, while in relationship, you might be the dumpee who receives the "No." Other times you may be the person who is the dumper saying "No." Neither scenario is easy and each experience has its challenges and discomforts. However, in the following post, I offer an alternative way for working with the "No's" in your life that could help you move through the pain and to a place of understanding and love.

- Beth Hemmila

Saying "No" can be challenging. My own personal history of saying "No" has been a bit of a journey. I can't remember me as a toddler, but I'm guessing I probably liked exercising my new vocabulary of "No" quite frequently. However, as I got older things changed, my people-pleaser instinct kicked in, and I chose to swallow a lot of "No's" to avoid potential conflict. I struggled with wanting others to be happy with me and the fear of jeopardizing love.

If this sounds like you, and you fear the loss of love from others, potential criticism, and other forms of subtle punishment, saying "No" could be perceived as a huge emotional risk.

Perhaps another way to look at this experience is to first become acquainted with how you receive "No's" from other people. Do you receive "No" with grace and understanding? Do you take someone's "No" personally? Are you able to hear and feel the underlying need this person has that is prompting them to politely decline?

I have to admit hearing some "No's" have triggered hurt and pain. And I'm sure there are people in my life that have been afraid to say "No" to me. Receiving certain "No's" in the past have stimulated feelings of shame and inadequacy such as when I didn't get the job, the person I liked didn't want to go out with me, or something I wanted wasn't going to happen the way I planned.

"No" can be a kind of metaphorical death. Someone or something couldn't fulfill your needs and you are asked to sit and be with the helplessness, loneliness, and discomfort. In this way, perhaps when we react negatively to someone's "No" what's really happening is that we are trying to avoid the suffering of this miniature death. If we get angry or frustrated, our big scale reactions mask our deeper feelings of sadness, grief, or anxiety that may result from hearing "No" and realizing our need might not be met in the way we imagined.

However, if you wipe away all the confusing emotions the simple truth of "No" is that another person was unable to meet your needs. Your needs and their needs didn't match up and he or she is not able to fulfill your desire.

So if you are a person that has a difficult time saying "No," maybe the place to start is to begin receiving other people's "No's" with compassion. When you hear a "No," begin thinking, "What need can I honor in this person by graciously receiving their "No?" Divorce yourself from "No" being a personal affront and look within the other person. Attempt to see and value his or her need for relaxation, peace, adventure, choice, safety, and independence that is crying out to be acknowledged and begging him or her to say "No" to you.

When you hear a "No" from someone, see this person as a risk-taker. They are trusting in your love for them as a fellow human being so much that they are willing to say "No" to you. Make yourself the biggest fan of other people's "No's." This experience of receiving a "No" with grace may empower a person to continue to take care of their own well-being.

As you start valuing the "No's" of other people, this may lead you to honor and voice your own "No's." Saying and receiving "No's" could be one of your greatest vehicles for developing trust with others and yourself as well as practicing a deeper form of loving kindness.

By being able to say and receive "No's" graciously, you stay centered within yourself and understand that you and others are completely fulfilled, supported, and loved just as you are without any additional needs being met.

Contrary to popular beliefs, learning when to say "No" is a practice in loving kindness.
- Beth Hemmila

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Confront Fears & Improve Your Life After a Divorce or Breakup

Confront Fears and Improve Your Life After a Divorce or Breakup by Beth Hemmila of the Breakup Care Package

One of the greatest gifts that comes from the breakup of a love relationship or divorce is the opportunity to invest energy into your own personal growth.

When before you may have been focused on the care and feeding of a relationship, now is the perfect time to turn that around and develop new things in you. By investing energy into growing parts of yourself you will enrich your life and prepare yourself for a future of new relationships that lie ahead.

When I got divorced one of the first things I did was take a painting class. I walked into class completely freaked out because even though I have a degree in art, I had never been taught how to paint. As I sheepishly told the teacher my plight, she smiled and said, "That's actually pretty common for a lot of artists. They get stuck in their chosen discipline and don't explore other things."

Five minutes after walking into class the teacher's kind words managed to wash away 20 years of fear and shame of not knowing how to paint. This moment opened my eyes as to what divorce could do for me. I was already stuck in a place of anxiety regarding my new circumstances of being alone again, why not use it as a time to confront some of my other fears that had been hiding out in the closet gathering dust.

I didn't become a talented painter by taking this class, but I did extinguish a long held belief that didn't have the skill set to enjoy painting. I confronted my fear and now that little bit of discontent is at peace.

Maybe you need to take up rock climbing to confront your fear of heights or maybe you're avoiding learning how to file your taxes on your own. They can be big or small fears that are lurking in the shadows, silently eroding your self-esteem.

Take a class, find an expert, make a new friend, read a how-to book, and practice, practice, practice. You have to make the first step to confront your fear and more than likely it will disappear over time. As you do this, gradually you will feel more self-confident and trust in your resilience when you are afraid in the future.

If you want to watch a sweet and funny movie about using the breakup of a relationship as an opportunity to confront your fears and empower your life, watch If I Were You.