Tag Archives: divorces

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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Served Divorce Papers

The Day I Was Served Divorce Papers: A Moment to Remember

Valentine’s Day, 2014 – the day I was served divorce papers – a moment to remember.

 

The afternoon is quiet with the stillness that descends after a long snowfall.

The snow lies as if at rest—glistening like diamonds lighted by a winter sun that whispers:

“I am here…I’ve never left you.”

 

My children are out and I sit alone awaiting the sound of the postman’s feet. He arrives here each day. I am mostly oblivious to his presence but on occasion, I have heard the weighted sound of his footsteps against the mahogany floor of our front porch.

 

Today, I sit in my favorite rocker, hyper conscious of his impending arrival and of what his visit to our home today will mean.

 

No other day shall pass like this one.

 

Soon, he will arrive as he always does but today, on Valentine’s Day, 2014, he will ring the doorbell. I will answer, greet him and he will ask me to sign for a letter or package.

I will sign for a large envelope that will contain paperwork that indicates the dissolution of my marriage in a language I don’t quite understand.

I think I will sigh. I think I will say: “Well…this is certainly a moment to remember.”

I think I shall remember the heaviness of the snow all around me…the sharp, crystal icicles that hang with such elegance from the edges of the roof on the house next door…the smell of the mid-day coffee I have just brewed. This is not a moment to forget.

 

I was alerted earlier in the week from my husband that I would be served with divorce papers today. I’ve arranged my schedule so that I can be here to answer the door. I’ve arranged for the children to be with my mother, enjoying homemade waffles that she will make with great love and care because she is worried about their breaking hearts. I have arranged that I am here alone with my beautiful Stella—my constant animal companion, a gentle, giant Great Pyrenees. She can be here because she knows me better than I know myself.

She can be here because she has known that this day has been coming—for a very long time.

This afternoon she rests—curled up in a ball, her back pressed firmly against our large front door. I will have to ask her to move in order to open the door when the postman rings. I think she knows this and she has positioned herself this way because she knows that I will need such a pause—just a very short moment to breathe before opening the door to being served divorce papers—before opening the door to a very new and different life.

 

Most who know me know that I am home today for this reason. Most react terribly to this idea—the idea of being served divorce papers on Valentine’s Day. But I don’t…I really don’t.

As painful as the process of coming to the decision to divorce has been, the arrival of these papers does not mark for me an “ending.” I will likely hold the weight of them in my hands and think: “Wow…this was the weight of our life together.” And then I will set them down.

The arrival of these papers, for me, at this time, represent the first day of a new life and all of the hope and excitement, and all of the fear and uncertainty that any “new beginning” entails.

 

They represent eight years of my life within which I did my very best—gave my very best—was my very best.

 

They represent a long, windy journey together—a path walked with someone I thought I’d walk a lifetime with…a path walked until we could walk together no more…a path walked until we reached a fork in the road and saw that now—now—two paths were before us.

 

And this happens sometimes…and when this happens we look to one another and we look deeply inside of ourselves and we ask the only question left to ask: do we continue to walk together—or do we part and embark on new and different journeys?

The heart always knows the answer to such a question. Always. It may take us time to really hear the answer and to accept it, but the heart knows.

Mine did.

 

I knew to the core of my being that my growth and evolvement moving forward meant that I must walk alone. That I must let go of his hand, his heart, and our life together for to do otherwise, would be to betray myself, him, and our relationship.

I knew also, that his own growth now depended on our parting.

A fairly clear and simple realization.

But a very frightening place to be—that fork in the road faced with that one essential question: do we continue to walk together—or do we part and embark on new and different journeys?

 

I love myself to know what it is I had to do—what it is I must do. And the arrival of the divorce papers are symbolic of a choice I’ve made and are a tangible expression of the degree to which I am loving and honoring myself—perhaps for the first time.

 

So today, Valentine’s Day, 2014, I accept the postman’s arrival. I will carefully sign my name and I shall accept the large, weighted envelope he will place in my hands.

And I might weep. But my tears will be a bittersweet honoring of what was and a joyous expression of what lies ahead for me.

Today is sacred to me. The snow, the ice, the blazing sunlight…the postman’s feet, the sound of the doorbell, the papers in my hands…Stella’s eyes…the steam from the cinnamon coffee rising up from my mug…my tears…my joy.

 

Valentine’s Day, 2014 – the day I was served divorce papers – a moment to remember.

 

I pull my sweater tightly around me and I pause and feel this as an embrace of sorts.

 

Today I love myself as I never have before.

 

A sacred, holy, divine day.

 

My day. My life. My love.

 

This post was contributed by Christine Kiesinger, PhD.

Christine Kiesinger holds a Ph.D. in Relational and Family Communication Studies. After spending twenty-five years teaching relationship communication in university settings, Kiesinger realized that her students not only hungered to improve and deepen their close relationships, but also wished to move beyond content that focused on “fixing” and “repairing” close bonds. They were in search of tools for transformation. In an unorthodox move, Kiesinger began weaving spiritual principals into her course lectures as a means of more fully satisfying her students need to truly “ascend” in their relationships. This ascension creates what Kiesinger calls “sacred partnerships”—connections that are precious and rare. Christine is also a yoga teacher, a certified Reiki Master Teacher and is presently competing her studies in clinical aromatherapy. Her work in these holistic healing modalities shape and impact her teaching and writing.

 

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Divorce Advice: How to Prep for Change vs. Disaster

We are living longer. Who we are changes over time. Sometimes we change with the partnerdisaster vs change we have. Sometimes living authentically and pursuing happiness requires bigger changes.

One of my greatest pieces of divorce advice is this: If you are contemplating divorce, don’t ask yourself what you want less of, what you are tired of, what you want to escape. Instead, ask yourself what you want more of.

What is the change you want in your life?

What does this change require of you?

Only after you have pursued the work of knowing what it means to live more authentically, will you uncover the next step forward.

Crucial divorce advice you must remember: Divorce is a change, not a solution. Divorce is a change, not a disaster.

Define the change you will have in your life. Then begin creating that road map to get you there. Introspectively seek out what that will be required of yourself to make that change come to life.

No more deflecting; no more blaming. When you take the reins, the “disaster” becomes the change and your new future will begin to develop under your guidance.

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