Tag Archives: contemplating divorce

Guilt be Gone: How to Rid Yourself of Prolonged Guilt in 6 Easy Steps

Did you ever wonder if it is possible to live a guilt free life?

Perhaps you have wondered if it is even moral to give up the guilt. After all, guilt has become so embedded in our Judeo-Christian culture that we almost take guilt for granted as an essential indicator of a “good person.”

So at the risk of sounding like a heretic, I wanted to take guilt on this week and wonder what it would be like to live without it. To wonder whether it is still possible to live a moral and ethical life without the burden of guilt. Feel free, of course to share your thoughts at the end of this article.

So let’s begin with understanding what guilt is.

One accepted definition is:

A bad feeling caused by knowing or thinking that you have done something bad or wrong (i.e. compromised one’s own standard of conduct or violated a moral standard).

Guilt

On its face, a brief experience with a guilty feeling may actually be really helpful. Based upon the definition above, the bad feeling that arises can actually serve as a red flag of sorts to let us know that there is a reason to pause and pay attention. Perhaps we inadvertently acted in a way that hurt someone or acted upon a lapse in judgment that violated one of those moral codes. We are human, so things happen and the bad feeling that arises is like an internal mechanism that helps us to return to a state of awareness about what has happened.

The problems with guilt come in when we linger in it for hours, days, weeks, months, and dare I say even years! 

PROBLEM #1:  The first problem with prolonged guilt is that it activates our internal stress response and from a state of feeling perpetually stressed, we become compromised physically and mentally. In short, it is a waste of energy – energy that drains away from a host of other more productive and enjoyable endeavors in order to maintain this state of feeling badly.

PROBLEM #2:  The second problem I have with guilt is that sometimes we expend all this energy feeling guilty for something that did not really happen or did not actually have the negative consequences we believed it to have. Notice the definition includes things we ‘think’ we did wrong. The truth is that many times, we are wrong!  How many of us have spent days feeling guilty about doing something that we thought hurt someone only to find out later that they were never really bothered by it! Guilt without cause is certainly a waste of energy.  It is much more productive to check things out rather than to mire in guilty feelings.

PROBLEM #3:  The third problem I have with guilt is that we usually assume that if our actions or words hurt someone or caused discomfort that we are supposed to feel guilty. After all, it is wrong to hurt another person, right?  The truth is that sometimes the hurt and discomfort are essential parts of the growing process.  In fact, it is not only normal but essential to pass through periods of discomfort in order to make a change or grow in a new way. This kind of hurt does not require guilt at all because allowing someone to experience discomfort may be the most loving action you can take.

PROBLEM #4:  The fourth and biggest problem I have with prolonged guilt is the fact that it serves as a cop-out from taking productive, restorative action. It is much easier to ‘feel guilty’ about something and believe that you deserve some absolution because you are accepting the personal beating of the guilty feeling than to step up and take action to make amends or set things right if it is possible.  It is a very short road from guilt to shame and once we feel the shame, we can be stuck for a long time and then never really take action to right the situation.

So here are some easy to follow steps to rid yourself of guilt once and for all.

STEP 1:  As soon as you feel that pang of a guilty feeling, welcome it and thank the feeling for alerting you to something important that requires your attention.

STEP 2:  Be gentle with yourself and remind yourself that to err is human and that if you did make a mistake or hurt someone, this simply makes you human. (It does not make you a horrible person!)

STEP 3:  Have the courage to check out whether you actually did something wrong or hurt someone the way you believe you did. No sense in wallowing in a guilty feeling for something that may never have happened or that was not received as badly as you imagine.

STEP 4:  Apologize or do what you can to make amends. That’s all you can do and it IS enough. No matter what you did, prolonged guilt will not change it, but stepping up to sincerely apologize or make amends can radically alter things.

STEP 5:  Pause and see what lesson you can take from this experience. The truth is that any time spent feeling guilty is a total waste of time if you do not spend some of it reflecting on what you learned or what you want to do differently the next time.

STEP 6:  Let it go. Do not make your release of guilt contingent upon someone else’s acceptance of your apology. Some people accept apologies easily and others do not, and this is something you cannot change. Apologize, make amends, learn the important lesson, and let it go because much more will be lost if you resign yourself to living in a state of guilt.

So, no matter how big or how small the feeling of guilt or the source of the guilt may seem, there is no benefit to holding onto it for a prolonged period of time. Let the feeling help make you aware of what has happened, and then follow the steps above and let it go.


Adina T. Laver, MBA, M.Ed., CPC, is a Consciousness Coach who specializes in helping people develop consciousness mastery so they can achieve the goals and life they want. Adina is the founder of two companies, Divorce Essentials which specializes in working with individuals and couples who are considering or navigating divorce to have a healthy experience and Courage to be Curious, a company dedicated to cultivating consciousness mastery for those who are committed to the path of self-awareness in all matters of life, love and leadership.  

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Negotiating with Power

The Key to Negotiating with Power About Money

I recently had the great privilege of interviewing Maggie Baker, Ph.D., psychologist and author of Crazy About Money.  Our call, entitled Negotiating with Power (part of a series on Preparing for Divorce), dove in deep to explore how our personal money stories affect our negotiating power and our lives. Whether you are creating a divorce settlement agreement, negotiating a salary increase, bargaining for a new house, or navigating money conversations with your spouse, understanding your money script is critical to gaining strength and confidence.

What is a ‘Money Script?’

Simply put, your ‘Money Script’ is your money story – what your mind tells you at the subconscious level about what money symbolizes for you. These stories begin developing early in life at home. Regardless of how much money you had growing up, your script was informed Negotiating with Powerby the ways in which people around you interacted with and related to money. If you lived in the ‘land of lack,’ where people always perceived there was not enough, this affected the story you created around money. If you lived in an environment where money was a means of control, then this affected your story around money. For a quick example:  If you grew up in an environment of ‘lack,’ while you may want to have more money, your fear around not having enough may cause you to make choices around money that perpetuate powerlessness rather than strength. No matter how much money someone has, everyone has a money script because everyone interacts with money. Understanding what story your mind tells you about money is critical to developing a relationship with money that is aligned with what you most want and with your ability to negotiate with power.

Negotiating with power is all about knowing your ‘Money Script’

Whether you are negotiating a divorce settlement agreement, a raise at work, or with your child who is requesting spending, money, your money script is going to kick in and impact how you negotiate. If you related to money as a source of power, then you will assume that the person in the negotiation that has more money is more powerful. If you associate money with love or approval, you may feel personally disregarded or slighted in a negotiation for money. If you believe that money is correlated to hard work, you may feel that you need to prove yourself as having worked long hours in order to negotiate. I think you get the idea. The fascinating thing is that we always assume that the person on the other side of the negotiating table thinks about money in the same way as we do when most of the time, this is not true! People often lose power in negotiation because they are so stuck in their own money story that they don’t attend to the money story of the person on the other side of the negotiation – and this is the point of view that really matters!

4 Steps to figuring out your ‘Money Script’

So if you want to negotiate from a place of power, you need to figure out your own money script. Here is a step by step process:

– Study your money habits

Get a journal or use your phone and begin keeping track of how you spend your money for 30 days. There are great apps for your phone to help you do this. Mint.com offers one. You must write everything down since our mind will trick us if we rely on memory alone.

Use the same journal and keep track of what you consciously chose not to spend your money on. What did you forego because “it felt like too much money” or “not the right time?”

Finally, listen to the language you use when you talk about money. Do you talk about ‘not enough?’ Do you talk about ‘needing to be careful?’ Do you ‘not care’ about money? Do you ‘not know how to manage it?’ Do you ‘feel overwhelmed by it?’

– Analyze your money habits

Once you have the data collected above, sit down alone or preferably with a friend, family member, counselor or coach and review. What patterns do you notice? What seems curious to you? To the other person? Seek to understand the reasons behind your expenditures and your non-expenditures.

– Link your habits to your upbringing

Now think about where these patterns and habits may have come from. How do they relate to your family of origin? How do they connect to any significant life events that have occurred? How have they been supported by the language people in your family used around money?

– Name your story

Once you have completed steps #1-3, you are ready to write your money story. It can be one paragraph to one page. It describes what you believe about money, the choices you make around money, and how those choices have served you and not served you over time. And I do realize that this can be difficult, so for additional support, I highly recommend Maggie Baker, Ph.D.’s book, Crazy About Money for language that will help you understand and interpret your money script.

Negotiating with Power

By now, it is probably clear that in order to negotiate with power, you need to (a) know how you think about money and (b) understand the basics of how the person you are negotiating with thinks about money.  People leave evidence all over the place if we choose to pay attention so it is not always as difficult as it may seem. And if you are negotiating with your spouse or child, you likely already have all the information you need to understand their money story. Once you do, then negotiating with power is all about languaging your position to help the other see how there is a win-win available in which both sides can obtain a good deal of what is most important to them.

Conclusion

The biggest reason why we lose power in negotiations is that we operate from inside our own heads which are filled with fear, anxiety and anger and don’t pay enough attention as to how the person on the other side is thinking. Get out of your own head or get the support of someone who will not get wrapped up in the fear, anxiety or anger who can help you find your place of strength and clarity.

____________________________________________________________

Adina Laver is the founder of Divorce Essentials™ and author of the Divorce Companion™ a multi-media step-by-step guide to navigating divorce.  The Divorce Companion™ is the only resource of its kind that provides guidance and decision making tools for every aspect of the divorce process, including determining whether divorce is the next step.

Adina also provides limited one-on-one coaching support for those who recognize that divorce is a sign that life has gotten off track and are aching to finding happiness again – or perhaps for the first time ever.

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having an amicable divorce

The Imperative of Having an Amicable Divorce

having an amicable divorceThis week I am reminded why Divorce Essentials and the Divorce CompanionTM exist – because having an amicable divorce is an imperative.

 

I recently got a call from a client who was shedding desperate tears after a judge was so harsh on her and her attorneys that she left the courtroom feeling completely disempowered and helpless. In debriefing with my client, there was a palpable sense of victimization, as though the process had truly broken down and there was nothing she could do to improve her situation.

 

This sense of disempowerment is exactly the experience that Divorce Essentials and Divorce CompanionTM are designed to alleviate. And this is an imperative…

 

 

At a time when family structures change so frequently, placing critical decisions that affect the health and welfare of parents and children in the hands of an overworked and under-resourced court system leaves everyone more broken than whole.

 

The reason why divorce cases end up in court is because parties cannot resolve issues on their own. Sometimes this is because one partner has been more powerful in the marriage and the other is afraid. Sometimes this is because there is anger and people are looking to the divorce process to punish their partner or provide restitution for pain and suffering. Sometimes couples use the court system because they think it is the best way to get a fair ruling.

 

The truth is that marriage and family is the most intimate aspect of anyone’s life and there is no way that a legal system can possibly bring satisfactory resolution to issues in this area. Let’s face it, having 10, 20 or 30 years of marriage and all that has meant placed on one side of the scale against the bank account, furniture, and 401k can be one of the most painful and demoralizing experiences one can have. How do you place value on having cared for someone when they were sick or the efforts and sacrifices made to support a family? No, there is a no way a legal system can offer the penetrating resolution that most couples are looking for.

 

What we do know, however, is that when a case ends up in a courtroom, partners give up control over their destiny and they end up spending a lot more money to become unmarried.

 

And this is why I created Divorce Essentials and the Divorce CompanionTM. There has to be a better way. As Albert Einstein said, “You cannot resolve a problem with the same mindset that created it.” Taking the anger that has erupted during the breakdown of the marriage and fueling it with the adversarial nature of family court, can only make the problem worse. It can seem enticing to turn the problem over to someone else, but to hope that a court system with few resources and little time will accomplish what a couple could not do on their own – a fair settlement that truly honors the best interests of the children and empowers both partners to move on with their lives – makes no sense at all.

 

What this means is that the burden of achieving a non-adversarial outcome in divorce is – where it rightly belongs – on the couple who chose to marry. While this may seem like an impossible task… How can two people who have been arguing and making each other feel badly achieve this?… It is not.

 

The way to achieve the seemingly impossible is by reaching for the appropriate support. Every couple who has ever achieved the amicable divorce, succeeded in doing so because they (a) made the choice to achieve it and (b) found the resources and support they needed. This is how my husband and I did it and how every couple who has ever achieved this got there.

 

There is nothing easy about it. Divorce is one of the most difficult life transitions that there is, and yet, it is possible to do it well. Like raising a child, it takes a village of personal and professional support. And it takes the right kind of support. It takes the support of people who are deeply committed to helping you find a healthy path to a positive future. Your team may include a coach, an attorney, a mediator, a therapist, a clergy person, your best friend, a realtor, a coworker… But the team members that will get you there are the ones that push you to show up as your best self, not the ones who fuel the flames of anger and fear. And YOU are responsible for determining WHO is on your team.

 

Here are some questions to help you find your way:

 

If you are considering divorce, ask yourself this question, “What do I most need right now to help me get unstuck and take deliberate and intentional steps in a healthy direction?”

 

If you are building your divorce support team (legal, emotional, financial), ask yourself, “What are the qualities of the professionals, friends and family members who will help me achieve what I most want?”

 

If you are navigating divorce, as yourself, “How am I showing up to this divorce process? What do I need to do to be a person I feel proud of in this process?

 

And if you are truly committed to staying out of court and allowing this process to become a reflection of your BEST self rather than you WORST self, we are here to support you.

  • If you are considering or just beginning to pursue divorce, check out the Divorce CompanionTM – the most comprehensive resource available to support a healthy divorce process.
  • If you are anywhere in the divorce process and are committed to a deliberate and mindful process and would like support in achieving this, let’s chat.

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Adina Laver is the founder of Divorce Essentials™ and author of the Divorce Companion™ a multi-media step-by-step guide to navigating divorce.  The Divorce Companion™ is the only resource of its kind that provides guidance and decision making tools for every aspect of the divorce process, including determining whether divorce is the next step.

Adina also provides limited one-on-one coaching support for those who recognize that divorce is a sign that life has gotten off track and are aching to finding happiness again – or perhaps for the first time ever.

 

 

 

 

 

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hire a divorce lawyer

4 Critical Things to Know Before You Hire a Divorce Lawyer

Choosing who will represent you in your divorce is a big decision. While it makes sense to ask people you know for recommendations or even to engage the ‘free’ services of a friend of family member to help you, here are 4 critical things you should know before you hire a divorce lawyer:

What kind of support is best suited for your case. Not every divorce is handled by an attorney litigator. Many people are unaware that there are divorce mediators, collaborative attorneys as well as litigators. Some mediators are attorneys and others are not. With a number of options available, the first important thing to understand is what kind of representation or support is best suited for your situation.

Who your partner’s attorney is if they have already hired one. One of the most significant wastes hire a divorce lawyerof money in divorce is spending money on attorneys who have a track record of battling it out rather than finding ways to help a couple settle. While it may feel counter-intuitive to hire two separate lawyers who know each other and have a track record of working with one another, this can actually be one of the best things you do for your case. The healthiest thing for any couple and family is a quick and fair settlement so hiring attorneys who can help you achieve this while protecting your personal rights is a smart choice.

Who you really need on your team. One of the biggest misconceptions that people have is that their attorney can help them with every part of their divorce. They bring all their issues – legal, emotional and financial directly to their lawyer. Your lawyer is your legal expert only and there are other professionals such as certified divorce financial planners, divorce coaches and therapists who can help you address other issues more effectively and in a more cost efficient way.

The family court culture in your county. One of the most overlooked factors in hiring an attorney is how well they are recognized and known within the family court system in which they will be operating. While hiring the top rated attorney can feel like great protection, if they are unknown or not well regarded within your local court system, you may be at a disadvantage. 

Deciding how you will divorce and who will represent you is a critical decision that can have significant financial and emotional ramifications. It is important to make this decision thoughtfully before you hire a divorce lawyer.

 

For a complete step-by-step guide to hiring an attorney and navigating your divorce, visit www.divorcecompanion.com.

____________________________________________________________

Adina Laver is the founder of Divorce Essentials™ and author of the Divorce Companion™ a multi-media step-by-step guide to navigating divorce.  The Divorce Companion™ is the only resource of its kind that provides guidance and decision making tools for every aspect of the divorce process, including determining whether divorce is the next step.

Adina also provides limited one-on-one coaching support for those who recognize that divorce is a sign that life has gotten off track and are aching to finding happiness again – or perhaps for the first time ever.

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Talking to your partner about divorce

Talking to Your Partner About Divorce – 5 Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make

Initiating a conversation with your partner about divorce is one of the most important conversations you will ever have. Not only is this typically an emotionally charged time, but the way in which you navigate this conversation often sets the tone for the rest of the divorce process. Given the significance of this moment, here are 5 mistakes you don’t want to make when talking to your partner about divorce:


Talking to your partner about divorceDon’t spring the news on your partner in the middle of a heated argument.
While it makes sense that one person may reach the breaking point during an argument, holding your tongue and waiting until things have cooled down to raise the topic of divorce can help prevent a snowball effect of anger and emotionally driven reactive behaviors.

Don’t hope or expect that your partner will make the process easy. Many people hold off having the conversation about divorce much too long because they are waiting for their reluctant partner to come around and see how parting will really be better for both of them. The truth is that if one person does not what the relationship to end (for whatever reason), they are not going to give permission or make things easy. Stepping forward with a clear, concise and definitive message is the most compassionate way to share the news.

Do not try to be the one to comfort your partner when you talk about divorce. No one likes to hurt someone else’s feelings, but if you have just shared with your partner that you want a divorce, you cannot be the one to then try and comfort them. Leaning in to try and help your partner feel better is very confusing and this is a role best served by a friend, family member, coach or counselor.

Don’t plan to share the news in a public space. While it may feel easier for you to share the news in a public place where your partner is likely to not express their genuine response, this can make for a very uncomfortable situation all around. Your partner needs a safe space to have their reaction and placing them in a public situation can be humiliating and unnecessarily challenging. (Note: this applies as long as you are not at a threat for physical abuse.)

Do not tell friends and family members before you tell your spouse.  Receiving the news that your spouse wants a divorce is difficult enough, you do not want to run the risk that they may hear it from someone else before they hear it from you. A spouse who feels like they are ‘the last to know’ is much more likely to become contentious and adversarial in the divorce process.

The way in which you conduct yourself while talking to your partner about divorce will communicate a lot about who you are and will have a significant impact on how each of the next steps will unfold.

For additional support in planning this conversation, please check out the Divorce Companion: A Step by Step Guide to Your Healthy  Divorce.

____________________________________________________________

Adina Laver is the founder of Divorce Essentials™ and author of the Divorce Companion™ a multi-media step-by-step guide to navigating divorce.  The Divorce Companion™ is the only resource of its kind that provides guidance and decision making tools for every aspect of the divorce process, including determining whether divorce is the next step.

Adina also provides limited one-on-one coaching support for those who recognize that divorce is a sign that life has gotten off track and are aching to finding happiness again – or perhaps for the first time ever.

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I am afraid

I Can’t Because I Am Afraid That…

Fear is the most paralyzing emotion we possess. Every day I receive calls from people who are afraid… and if I am truly honest… every day I feel a bit of fear as well. Which of us doesn’t?

I am afraid

Which of these resonates with you? (and if you don’t find one, just fill in the blank and add your own!)

 

I am afraid that I will not be able to support myself

I am afraid that my children will be angry with me

I am afraid that I will not achieve my dreams

I am afraid that I will never be happy

I am afraid that I will not be successful

I am afraid that I will not get everything I deserve

I am afraid that I will be alone

I am afraid of intimacy

I am afraid of losing my job

I am afraid that someone will be angry with me

I am afraid that I will not be liked or loved

I am afraid ______________________________________

 

Fear is so much a part of our daily experience that we often become unconscious to how tightly it grips hold on us and keeps us from moving forward in all matters of life.

 

This is one of the reasons I love this classic book that a client just introduced to me, Feel the Fear… and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers, PhD.

 

Very early on, Jeffers breaks down all of our fears into one single fear –

The fear that we cannot handle what might happen.

I will repeat the point for emphasis, as Jeffers does…

 

All of our fears come down to a single fear that we do not have the capacity or confidence to handle what a situation may present.

In short, our fear is based in our own lack of confidence and belief in ourselves.

 

While this alone may not feel comforting (!!!), consider this…

 

What if you had more trust and confidence in yourself that you could handle whatever came your way?

What if you had trust and confidence that you would

  • know how to respond,
  • know how to get the support you needed, and
  • had the capacity to navigate whatever circumstances arose?

 

What if you knew that (and these are Jeffer’s words)…

Whatever happens to me, given any situation, I can handle it!

The simple answer is,

You would never be paralyzed or manipulated by fear again!

 

You might still feel the fear. This does not go away. But you would no longer be paralyzed by it and unable to move forward in any number of circumstances.

 

Simple, right? On one level it seems so and it is. On another, what makes it so complicated is the fact that most of us have grown up with messages that we cannot handle things. We are not good enough, smart enough, capable enough, likeable enough and so on. And as long as our minds keeping repeating these stories, it is impossible to truly believe that we can handle anything.

 

So, how do you gain this confidence? Experiment with this 5-step process as a place to start.

 

Five-step process to handle whatever comes your way:

 

  1. Make a list of at three times when you faced a difficult situation in your life and found your way through. Write about all three examples. What made the situation difficult or uncomfortable and what did you do? We all have them. There is none among us who has gotten to this stage in life and has not navigated a difficult or uncomfortable situation.
  2. Review the examples you just described and make a list of at least 5 qualities or attributes of yourself that you leveraged to navigate these three situations.
  3. Identify one thing right now that is causing you to feel afraid. Write about: (a) What are you really afraid of here? (hint: It is what you feel you cannot handle), and (b) What is the worst thing that could actually happen?
  4. Now that you have named the worst that can happen, identify three qualities that you posses and have already demonstrated in the examples described in step #1 that you can leverage to “handle” this situation.
  5. Create a plan for what you would do in this “worst case scenario.”

 

Learning to Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway is a process. It takes time and commitment to retrain the brain to stop giving the fear so much power. Use this exercise, and if you are committed to breaking free from fear-based paralysis, explore Jeffers book and call me!

 

It is time for you to:

  • Feel more powerful
  • Take action to move forward
  • Live from a place of love

____________________________________________________________

Adina Laver is the author of the Divorce Companion™ and founder of Divorce Essentials™, a specialized divorce coaching and support service for those who are considering, in the midst of, or post-divorce and are committed to a healthy path for reclaiming their lives.

 

If you are contemplating a divorce but are stuck or if you are in the throes of making key decisions for your future but need guidance, reach out to Adina. Whether you coach together for one Ala Carte Session or coach for a full Personal Empowerment Breakthrough, Adina is ready to help you navigate through uncertainty so you can create a happier and healthier future!

 

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runaway story train

STOP the Runaway Story Train

Remember the last time you saw a movie that kept you on the edge of your seat? For me, James Bond and Indiana Joes feel like classics, but any movie that kept you mesmerized with anticipation about how things would unfold will do.runaway story train

 

What keeps us so engaged for 2+ hours in the theatre? The story. And there is a basic story arc that goes something like this: Get us connected to and identifying with key characters, create some conflict or disequilibrium, add twists and turns to keep us wondering about how the conflict will be resolved, and then bring it to some resolution. And if you are anything like me, you may feel as though the resolution is the hardest part to pull off well because it is so easy to feel let down after engaging so deeply in the rising action and climax of the story.

 

I bring up stories because my own mind became so consumed with them this past week that I felt like I was in a non-stop movie loop with a story line about how my future was not going to bring me the things I most wanted. I had become very attached to certain visions of the future, and in my obsession, I was scanning for – and of course finding – evidence everywhere that things were not heading in the right direction and never would! In my fixated state, I kept feeding my stories with more thoughts, more evidence of their truth, and heightened levels of emotion.

 

The end result – a complete blockbuster hit featuring my own unfulfilled dreams!

 

Wow! I can only write this article now that I have found my way out of this trance-like obsessed state. My hope in doing so is to provide support to anyone else whose mind is speeding out of control like a runaway train with a story. And to take a lesson from the movie industry, the higher the stakes in our story, the more likely we are to become consumed. If the story affects our marriage, our dreams, our happiness, our well-being, or our security, it is likely to have a HUGE charge for us.

 

How to know if your mind has been hijacked by the ‘runaway story train’?

 

Before you can do anything else, you need to become aware of the fact that your mind has been hijacked by the runaway story train. And in fact, it is not that hard to tell. If you constantly find your mind and attention returning to the same thing again and again – upon rising in the morning, multiple times during the day, and when preparing for sleep – your mind has been hijacked. If the story telling persists for weeks or even months, you story train is likely speeding way out of control. And here is the thing, the longer your mind has been listening to and feeding the story, the stronger is has become and the more undeniable is feels. This is the power of the mind.

 

5 Steps to Stopping the ‘Runaway Story Train?’

 

Step #1: Take up a pen and paper or your journal and write the story down. This is an important step of awareness and owning the fact that your mind has become consumed with a story. (Yes, you perceptive readers, writing this article is a piece of this for me!)

 

Step #2: Make a commitment to stopping the runaway story. Remember that the climax, conflict and twists and turns are way more engaging to the brain than the resolution. This is the reason why movie producers spend way more time on the rising action, conflict and twists and turns than the ending of the story. Our mind likes the excitement. However, while high conflict and tension are great for box-office ticket sales, they are not great for relationships and for living a balanced and healthy life. Commit to letting go of the high-energy engagement of conflict.

 

Step #3: Imagine the positive possibilities that could arise from letting go of the story. On your paper or in your journal, begin to write down a list of all the positive things that could come once you let go of the story. Part of what makes the story so engaging is that it projects doom and gloom and the mind love tragedy. And, like most of Hollywood’s tragedies, most are not based in reality. In fact, most things work out much better than we expect. So challenge yourself and make a list of at least 5 good things that could result from letting go of your story.

 

Step #4: Create a new story that matches a reality you would like to experience. There is no greater influence over how our lives turn out than the story we tell about how it will turn out.

  • Do you tell that story that your ex is out to get you and you can never trust them or do you tell the story that you and your ex are both hurt but as the hurt subsides, you will build a healthy co-parenting relationship?
  • Do you tell the story that your partner’s affair is undeniable evidence that they can never be trusted again and that you need a divorce or do you tell the story that your marriage hit a difficult place and there is an opportunity to build something even stronger than before?
  • Do you tell yourself that life will be lonely and miserable after divorce because this isn’t what you wanted and you have no means to support yourself or do you tell yourself that divorce is a crossroad in life and can open doors to exploring opportunities, relationships and experiences that were never possible in the course of your marriage?

 

Step #5: Begin to live the new story. Once you construct your new story, begin to live it. Sometimes in life we need to ‘fake it till we make it.’ The new story may not feel very powerful at the start because the old story has gotten, days, weeks, months or even years of your undivided attention and old story will not want to give this up! But you can choose.

 

Make a commitment to the story you wish to live, train your mind to ‘think’ the new story, and then choose to live it!

 

You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you.  ~Brian Tracy

 

And if you are seeking support in creating a new story, training your mind, and/or figuring out how to live it, contact me. Let’s do this together.

 

____________________________________________________________

Adina Laver is the author of the Divorce Companion™ and founder of Divorce Essentials™, a specialized divorce coaching and support service for those who are considering, in the midst of, or post-divorce and are committed to a healthy path for reclaiming their lives.

 

If you are contemplating a divorce but are stuck or if you are in the throes of making key decisions for your future but need guidance, reach out to Adina. Whether you coach together for one Ala Carte Session or coach for a full Personal Empowerment Breakthrough, Adina is ready to help you navigate through uncertainty so you can create a happier and healthier future!

 

 

 

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Gratitude in Difficult Times

Gratitude During Difficult Times

Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more you will have even more to express gratitude for. 

~Zig Ziglar

Gratitude in Difficult Times

 

Thanksgiving is the holiday when we are specifically invited to focus our hearts and minds on gratitude. However, when something difficult is going on in life, it can sometimes feel challenging to access gratitude. In my personal world, I lost two people who were very dear to me right before Thanksgiving, my aunt last year and my father-in-law five years ago and I know how easy it was to become so absorbed in my own experience that it feels hard to do anything else. For anyone navigating divorce, separation or any other kind of transition, feelings of loss, sadness, anger or hurt can be so strong that they can seem like a barrier to gratitude. In fact, we may even wonder if we should focus on gratitude when there is so much loss and pain.

 

The truth is that based upon gratitude research, this is precisely when we can benefit most from stretching towards gratitude. The holiday of Thanksgiving was originally celebrated after nearly half of all the Pilgrims died from a difficult winter. It officially became a holiday during the Civil War and was moved to its current date in the 1930’s following the depression. It is when times are most difficult that gratitude can help us to gain a perspective on the expansive nature of life and relationships so that we do not become consumed or overwhelmed by our own circumstances.

 

Gratitude is not only a healthy perspective perspective, but it also has great benefit in helping us to cope with crisis as well. According to gratitude research expert, Robert Emmons, “Consciously cultivating an attitude of gratitude builds up a sort of psychological immune system that can cushion us when we fall. There is scientific evidence that grateful people are more resilient to stress, whether minor everyday hassles or major personal upheavals.” Rather than trying to pretend as though the difficult situation does not exist or isn’t happening, gratitude gives us the capacity to acknowledge where we are and then notice how far we have come, those who are helping and supporting us, what unexpected connections are being created, what we are learning, and how we are growing. This acknowledgement actively builds our personal strength and resilience.

 

So this Thanksgiving, I invite you to stretch even further into gratitude. Here are some ideas to support you in this practice. And as I prepare for my own Thanksgiving holiday, I truly want to thank you for being on this journey we call life with me. We all become stronger and happier through the connections we make and I am gratitude to have you as part of my community.

 

How to reach for gratitude during difficult times:

 

  • Begin to keep a gratitude journal (or dust off the one that you began before). Make time over the next 5 days to write for 10 minutes per day in your journal. According to the research, one of the most effective ways to journal about gratitude (and some of this is new for me) is to take a few things you are grateful for and write five sentences about each. For example, if you are grateful for your job, then write five reasons why you are grateful for your job. In the detail, you will feel how deep this gratitude actually is.
  • Choose three people in your life for whom you are particularly grateful and write them a note – handwritten, text or e-mail – letting them know. Be sure to include those 3-5 details (mentioned above) about why you are grateful to have them in your life.
  • Take on a practice for the next 4-5 days of stopping three times each day to say what you feel grateful for in the moment. Say it out loud and pause after each one to experience how the gratitude feels in your body.
  • If you are hosting people for Thanksgiving, create a stack of gratitude notes that you place around the house that people can run into and experience all weekend long.
  • Whether you have kids or want to connect with your inner child, make a gratitude collage. Put together pictures and images of people and things you feel grateful for and add quotes about gratitude. Frame it and hang it somewhere o serve as a daily reminder of the power of gratitude.

 

Finally, let’s begin a list here. What are you grateful for? Please add your comment below.

 

Warmest wishes for a holiday filled with grace and connection.

 

Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every moment with love, grace, and gratitude.

~Denis Waitley

____________________________________________________________

Adina Laver is the author of the Divorce Companion™ and founder of Divorce Essentials™, a specialized divorce coaching and support service for those who are considering, in the midst of, or post-divorce and are committed to a healthy path for reclaiming their lives.

 

If you are contemplating a divorce but are stuck or if you are in the throes of making key decisions for your future but need guidance, reach out to Adina. Whether you coach together for one Ala Carte Session or coach for a full Personal Empowerment Breakthrough, Adina is ready to help you navigate through uncertainty so you can create a happier and healthier future!

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Show up for the Journey

How to Show Up for the Journey

One of the gravest deceptions of the mind is that there is a ‘there’ there in which the to do list is complete, there are no conflicts to be resolved, nothing to be repaired, and we have the solution to every challenging affecting our lives. In fact, we can work so hard toward this unattainable goal that we lose sight of the most profound reality of life… That meaning, love and happiness exist in choosing to be present to the journey, not in reaching the destination.

 

This week I am reminded that happiness is not a destination but a daily pursuit. It is our practices as well as our willingness to live consciously and be present to the unfolding of each day’s events with curiosity, openness and awe that enable us to live an extraordinary life.

 

So my offering to you this week is to choose one of the quotes below and allow it to inspire you to be become more conscious about and present to your life. Take the quote and post it someplace prominent, write about it in your journal, discuss it with a friend or family member, and hold it close to your heart when you wake up on the morning and go to sleep at night… and then see what happens.

 

If you are inspired, please share your reflections below or send me an e-mail.

 

Show up for the JourneyQuotes on ‘Showing Up For the Journey’

 

The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too.

~Ernest Hemmingway

 

 

Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.

~Charles Swindoll

 

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.

~Robert Frost

 

The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.

~Amelia Earhart

 

The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.

~Alice Walker

 

The mind is everything. What you think you become.

~Buddha

 

I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.

~Stephen Covey

 

You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore. ~Christopher Columbus

 

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.

~Anais Nin

 

Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.

~George Addair

 

When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us.

~Helen Keller

 

When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.

~Lao Tzu

 

Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.

~Joshua J. Marine

 

Change your thoughts and you change your world.

~Norman Vincent Peale

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Adina Laver is the author of the Divorce Companion™ and founder of Divorce Essentials™, a specialized divorce coaching and support service for those who are considering, in the midst of, or post-divorce and are committed to a healthy path for reclaiming their lives.

 

If you are contemplating a divorce but are stuck or if you are in the throes of making key decisions for your future but need guidance, reach out to Adina. Whether you coach together for one Ala Carte Session or coach for a full Personal Empowerment Breakthrough, Adina is ready to help you navigate through uncertainty so you can create a happier and healthier future!

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Respect, Responsibility & Resilience

3 R’s of Parenting: Respect, Responsibility & Resilience

It is fairly universal that parents want their kids to be happy and healthy, respect themselves and others, take responsibility for themselves and follow through on commitments, and demonstrate resilience. We want these things for our kids, and even if life presented NO extenuating challenges, it would be a monumental challenge. Throw in doses of reality such as health issues, divorce, learning differences, job loss, (this list could go on and on), and the task seems downright daunting.Respect, Responsibility & Resilience

 

Raising children we love to embody these qualities without living a life of stress and guilt demands that we pursue a mindful and intentional approach to our most important responsibility of parenting.

 

I recently reviewed a newly released book, Get the Behavior You Want…Without Being the Parent You Hate by Deborah Gilboa, MD. Gilboa’s book is organized around the three R’s: Respect, Responsibility and Resilience – what these things really mean and what they look like in the parent-child relationship (ages birth – 12) – and concludes with a section on how to actually make change happen in your house.

 

Giboa’s book does not focus at all on divorce, AND here is what I like about it for all families, including those who are going through a divorce… Gilboa is clear about one critical idea… What kids need most is for their parents to be the parents. Guilt and shame we feel at different times are never really useful when making parenting decisions, and they are even less helpful during transitions such as divorce when our kids desperately need us to be clear and to create a safe and stable environment.

So, here is a sampling of some of Gilboa’s wisdom. I invite you to think about how it applies to your family dynamic as you read.

 

Respect, Responsibility & Resilience

 

RESPECT

According to Gilboa, respect is the ability to recognize someone’s (your own or another’s) worth and excellence and communicate it. She asserts, how we treat ourselves and others is the most important concept we can teach our children. Why? Here is some of what she has to say:

  1. Self-esteem is built on self-respect. When children learn to take care of themselves – their bodies, personality and needs, then they know they deserve to be treated well.
  2. Self-respect gives children the ability to walk away from disrespect such as negative peer pressure and abusive relationships.
  3. Showing respect is a skill that takes time to learn. While it is easy for kids (and us) to detect when we feel respected, learning to respect someone else requires some explicit guidance.
  4. When kids are taught to demonstrate respect to their parents and the adults around them, they place greater value on those relationships and learn more from them.

 

Most of us have been guilty of lowering our “respect” standard at one point or another, particularly when we feel that our kids are stressed or are going through something difficult. We do things for them rather than expecting them to do them for themselves and we accept more disrespect than we would like. While there are no universal answers, Gilboa challenges us to think about what we are trying to achieve as parent in long-term terms rather than short-term terms. What are we teaching through the choices we are making?

 

RESPONSIBILITY

Responsibility, Gilboa says, is about learning to be reliable, dependable, and to meet your obligations. Children [do] Learn What They Live and teaching them to be responsible is one of the keys not only to their success but also to their happiness. Why? Because the ability to be responsible coupled with initiative to grab opportunities is how we achieve our dreams. In other words, when children learn how to be reliable, dependable and meet their obligations, then they learn to trust themselves in all kinds of situations. They learn how to follow things through from beginning to end, they learn how to show up in uncomfortable situations, and they learn how to gain the trust of others.

 

Children of divorce often have to take on more responsibilities in single-parent homes. As parents, it is easy to feel guilty about this because we are ‘making our kids’ lives more difficult.’ Shifting the perspective a bit, we can look at a change of life or a new situation as an opportunity for kids to take on new responsibilities and develop additional confidence. Perhaps the change is enabling them to discover how much they have to contribute to the home. They may not always enjoy it, but what is the long-term gain of learning to be reliable and dependable at an early age?

 

RESILIENCE

Resilience means learning how to handle life when nothing goes as planned. Every challenge our children face is a chance to learn resilience. If we think about it, “making it perfect” is much more about our trying to prove our worth (personally guilty here!) than it is about what our kids’ needs or what is best for them. How we react when things do not go as planned, is far more valuable a life lesson than how to make things turn out ‘just right.’

 

Divorce, of course, (I couldn’t resist), like many other life challenges, is a suitable time to cultivate resilience. While we acknowledge that as parents

  • we love our kids and want what is best for them,
  • we have a primary responsibility to protect our children from harm, and
  • we (all) burden ourselves with a degree of guilt (for working too many hours, not working enough, being too easy, being too hard, buying too many things, not being able to afford to buy enough ….and so on and so on),

 

when is it really necessary or important for us to step in and protect our children from emotional or physical discomfort and when is it better to step back?

 

Gilboa provides a standard: Is it life-threatening or is there true physical or emotional danger? If the event ends badly, is there something valuable that could be learned? Let’s consider…

 

  • When do we step in to make things easier out of a sense of guilt?
  • When do we step in and solve a problem because we want to spare our child discomfort?
  • When do we jump in to save the day so that our child will be spared the consequences of their own failure to act responsibly?
  • When do we step in and fix things because it makes us feel relevant?

 

What would really happen if we didn’t?

 

This is the journey of parenting. How do we figure it out? Every child is unique and every parent is unique. In Get the Behavior You Want…Without Being the Parent You Hate, Gilboa offers practical advice to provoke our thinking about how to raise children in an intentional and conscious way.

 

Another valuable resource, specifically for parents going through divorce or navigating on the other side of divorce is Parenting Apart: How Separated and Divorce Parents Can Raise Happy and Secure Kids by Christina McGhee. Parenting Apart offers effective ways to minimize the effects of divorce on children, and offers immediate solutions to the most critical parenting problems divorce brings.

 

Christina McGhee will be my guest on the upcoming FREE support call I host each month: Preparing for Divorce. Join us on October 15th from 12:10 – 1:00 pm EST as we discuss: What Your Child Really Needs. You can register here.

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Adina Laver is the author of the Divorce Companion™ and founder of Divorce Essentials™, a specialized divorce coaching and support service for those who are considering, in the midst of, or post-divorce and are committed to a healthy path for reclaiming their lives.

 

If you are contemplating a divorce but are stuck or if you are in the throes of making key decisions for your future but need guidance, reach out to Adina. Whether you coach together for one Ala Carte Session or coach for a full Personal Empowerment Breakthrough, Adina is ready to help you navigate through uncertainty so you can create a happier and healthier future!

 

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