Tag Archives: preparing for change

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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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.

 

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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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Mind Full of Mines

A Mind Full of Mines

Two nights ago I gave a presentation to a group of attorneys and judges on Understanding the Divorcing Mind. Yes, I finally took my neuroscience fascination for a public speaking spin!

 

One of the images I had on my PPT presentation was of a man walking blindfolded through a minefield. This, I shared with the audience, is what it is often like for both attorney and client during the consult and throughout the divorce process. Two people walking blindfolded through a mind full of mines, fearing and experiencing explosion after explosion with no idea how quickly they will land on safe ground.

 

Well, you don’t have to be going through a divorce to experience the sudden detonation of a Mind Full of Minesland mine in the mind. Last night, after an otherwise lovely day, a simple e-mail detonated one of mine and I was overcome with a sadness and sense of vulnerability that was very old and painfully familiar. The author of the e-mail would have no idea that this simple communication would impact me the way it did, but the effect lingers with me, even fueling the writing of this article.

 

Each of us (simply because we are human) has a childhood and lifetime of vulnerabilities and fears that stem from our experience of being in this world. For most people, our deepest pains stem from events that happened within the first 8-10 years of our lives when the neural structure of our brain was first being shaped. Seemingly small things like the way someone reacted when we showed emotion or the jokes people made when we struggled with something new, all created an imprint in the brain that shaped how we experience the world. Of course traumas that occurred at older ages also have a powerful impact.

 

The thing is that once this memory and the visceral experience of this memory are embedded in our brain, it can be re-triggered at any time. Last night with this simple e-mail, I was suddenly transported back to a time when I was about 8 years old and felt extremely socially vulnerable. In an instant, I felt like a child again, helpless and rejected.

 

As vulnerable as I feel in sharing this when the experience is still saw raw for me, I bring it forth for a few reasons:

 

  • To encourage self-compassion. Even as I was feeling so badly, my first response was to berate myself for being sucked into the vortex of this old story. I was upset with myself for still feeling so weak and vulnerable to a story that is so old. As I write this now, I am still feeling vulnerable but I am practicing much greater self-compassion and recognizing that it is through our shared experience of vulnerability that we are all linked to one another.

 

  • To encourage us to be mindful in how we care for each other. With an average of 15,000 verbal communications every day and a much larger number of non-verbal communications every day, it is almost daunting to imagine the impact that we can have on others each and every day. EVERY interaction we have with another person has the potential to build their strength or trigger their vulnerability, make them feel valued or make them feel dejected. What is the impact of smiling or not smiling when someone enters the room? What is the impact of sending the quick e-mail reply versus taking the time to be engaged with the communication in a full way? What is the impact of giving someone our full attention or splitting our attention between them and our phone?

 

  • To encourage us to pursue forgiveness and compassion. We all respond differently when we get triggered and feel vulnerable or afraid. We can get angry and volatile, we can get shy and pull away, we can learn to become invisible or learn to preemptively strike out against others as a means of self-protection. By design, human beings are wired to seek connection. Therefore, whenever someone engages in behavior that seemingly breaks down or interferes with connection, it is always because of things rooted inside. Knowing this can perhaps help us pursue forgiveness and compassion with greater openness.

 

  • To encourage the pursuit of self-awareness. As painful as it is to be aware of my childhood story and re-live it, it is much more painful and disorienting to be impacted by the childhood story without awareness of it. It would seem logical that if we don’t want to face the hard stuff of our past, that we can just close ourselves to it and keep on moving. The problem is that the hard stuff affects us with or without our awareness, and it is much more likely to come out in ways that lead to addiction, the breakdown of relationships, self –destructive patterns, and so on when we try to pretend it isn’t there. It is with the awareness that we can assert a conscious and healthy response.

 

From this month’s featured teacher, Pema Chödrön:

 

“When you wake up in the morning and out of nowhere comes the heartache of alienation and loneliness, could you use that as a golden opportunity? Rather than persecuting yourself or feeling like something terribly wrong is happening, right there in the moment of sadness and longing, could you relax and touch the limitless space of the human heart? The next time you get the chance, experiment with this.”  

 

This article is my way of experimenting.

Namaste

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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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Language Creates Reality

Language Creates Reality

On an average day, the average person utters approximately 15-16,000 words.

How conscious are we of the words we choose?

What intention do we bring to selecting them?

What reality do they create?Language Creates Reality

 

While many of us subconsciously believe that we use language to objectively represent reality, the research says otherwise. The research supports the idea that language creates reality. In other words, it is not only true that we are what we eat, but it is also true that we live what we believe.

 

Language has tremendous power of suggestion the more we “suggest” something, the more likely we are to take action that makes it a self-fulfilling prophecy.

 

Let’s look at some statements I have heard over the past few weeks:
• I can’t do this.
• I don’t know what I want.
• I am not as smart has him.
• She never listens to what I have to say.
• We can’t communicate at all.
• We just can’t agree on anything.
• There is no more trust here.
• I have no idea how to advocate for myself.
• I can never make it on my own.

 

The feelings behind these words are very powerful, but what reality do they invite when repeated again and again?

The truth is, it doesn’t take long to convince ourselves (and others) that we really can’t …., don’t know how to ….., will never be able to ….., aren’t as smart as ….., and so on. The more we state it, the more we believe it, the quicker it becomes reality.

But what if the opposite were also possible? What if language could also create a more positive, hopeful and empowered reality than the one we are currently experiencing?

 

In a 2010 TED Talk, Caroline Casey shares a truly extraordinary experience confirming the absolute power of suggestion in the mind – the way in which language creates reality. (Because I do not want to ruin the impact of this talk, no synopsis, just a “must watch” link.)

 

The scientific research community supports this claim as well. In a 2013, Scientific American article, Your Thoughts Can Release Abilities Beyond Your Normal Limits, you can read about research studies in which outcomes of control groups vs. experimental groups are altered solely based upon the power of suggestion.

 

So, as you are going about your day, navigating what life places in front of you, here are some suggestions for leveraging the power of suggestion to point you in a more positive, empowered and hopeful direction:

 

Adopt the word “yet.”: Whenever someone tells me they do not know the answer to a question or don’t know how to do something, I teach them to include the simple word “yet” at the end of the statement. “I don’t know how to look for a job – yet.” ‘Yet’ definitively suggests that the knowledge or understanding is on its way, rather than completely unavailable.

 

Focus on “what went right”: Virtually every moment of very day gives us the opportunity to choose how to focus our thoughts and attention. Are you upset because it is raining or feeling grateful because you remembered to bring an umbrella? Do you beat yourself up because you burned the dinner or pat yourself on the back because you have a great back up plan – ice cream for dinner at the end of a hot summer day is one of my favorites! Do you panic all the way to work because you spilled coffee on your suit, or walk into your meeting and recognize this as an opportunity to give your stressed-out staff permission to be human and imperfect. Our mind is wired to notice the negative, and we can train it to see the positive.

 

Replace “must,” “have to,” and “need to” with WANT: How many times per day do we walk around saying things like, I have to…., I need to…., I must….. These phrases lock us into narrow places. I accomplish them and I avert disaster or a negative outcome; I do not fully achieve them and I am a failure. Either way, my reality is a narrow place of bordered on one side by temporary and fleeting moments of safety and bordered on the other by failure and demise. When I “want” to do something, it refocuses our thoughts and attention on what there is to gain, opportunities that are available, and what makes us happy.

 

As in Caroline’s story, language alone is not sufficient to create reality, but language coupled with belief is what points the needle of life’s compass in a particular direction. Once the needle is pointing where you want to go, then it is about taking action in that direction.

 

So if you have been standing on the fence about a decision, beating yourself up for failures or falling short, or notice that your mind spends most of its time consumed with the negative, try intentionally shifting a few of those 15,000+ utterances per day in a new direction. And when you are clear about wanting to point the needle in a new direction and take the actions to get there, contact me. I am eager to journey with you to a new reality.

 

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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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Mrs Doubtfire

Divorce Wisdom from Mrs Doubtfire

As the world pays tribute to one of Hollywood’s greatest legends, I took the opportunity to re-watch one of Robbin Williams’ most famous films, Mrs Doubtfire.  In addition to all the comedic brilliance that is built into this film, it also contains great wisdom for both divorce and life.

6 Lessons on Divorce from Mrs Doubtfire   Mrs Doubtfire

In the 1993 classic, Mrs Doubtfire, Robbin Williams plays the role of Daniel, an unemployed voice over artist who is viewed by his successful corporate wife, Miranda (played by Sally Field) as irresponsible and incapable of disciplining the kids or keeping order in the house. After a birthday party for their son gets wildly out of hand, she tells Daniel she wants a divorce. They have grown apart and she doesn’t like who she has become while married to him. (Click here for a full synopsis).

 

Both funny and poignant, Mrs Doubtfilre offers six lessons on divorce for couples, friends and family members:

#1 – Divorce is not the end. One of the things the divorced couple is faced with is the realty that divorce is not the end. Just because they don’t live in the same house anymore, doesn’t mean that all the things that drove each one crazy disappeared. Ultimately it is the words and the pain of their children living between two parents who are angry and intolerant that becomes the impetus to begin to do things differently. Especially if there are children, the relationship does not end after divorce.

#2 – Everything transforms in time. I think one of the most important lessons of divorce (and life) is that everything transforms in time. At the first judge’s meeting, Miranda is so angry that she says nothing when the court temporarily awards her full custody with Saturday visitations only because Daniel does not yet have a job or place to live. She stays silent again 3 months later when the court makes the decision to permanently award her sole custody because Daniel, in his desperation impersonated a woman so he could apply for the job as Miranda’s housekeeper and see his kids everyday.  By the end of the movie, however, the couple’s relationship has so transformed that Miranda herself has the court order removed. Things do not stay the same forever. Time and intention have the capacity to transform any situation.

#3 – What kids need most is love. The children in Mrs Doubtfire, like the children of many divorcing or divorced couples, are stuck between two parents who are so angry and fed up with each other that they cannot help but speak ill of one another. The parents are suspicious and each feels so bullied by the other that they begin to pull at the kids like two teams yanking either side of a tug-o-war rope. Having no idea how to keep everyone happy, the kids’ anxiety levels rise. Divorce is grown up stuff. As with Daniel and Miranda, two people can get to a point where they have grown apart and are no longer making each other happy, but the only thing that the kids care about is feeling loved by both parents. Taking the high road when you feel you have been mistreated or manipulated is one of the greatest challenges a divorcing or divorced parent faces. However, for parents who love their children, there really is no other acceptable alternative.

#4 – People are capable of change. One of the most fascinating aspects of the movie from a divorce standpoint is the way in which Daniel, impersonating a housekeeper named Mrs Doubtfire, uses all his knowledge of who Miranda is and what she likes to adopt the very habits, patterns and ways of being that she always wished Daniel would have demonstrated while they were married. What changed? How come Daniel was suddenly willing to do what he was never willing to do while they were married? Over time, couples can get into the habit of bringing out the worst rather than the best in each other. Sometimes couples have to separate in order to find their best selves and sometimes they need the need a fresh new start with each partner dropping their shield and sword so they can develop new patterns together.

#5 – The courts and attorneys do not always know what is best. The movie was a powerful reminder of what can happen in the legal process when couples get so swept up in their own anger that they lose site and control over what is best for their children.  Miranda knows that Daniel is a loving and devoted father, but because she has felt so slighted and disrespected, she allows a judge to award Daniel limited, court supervised visits only. While the courtroom scene is not realistic in many respects, the truth remains the same that judges and attorneys, who have only a snapshot view of a family at best, are not in the best position to make decisions about what is best for the family or the children. The health and wellbeing of the children is most critically dependent upon parents who can show up to make choices from a place of love rather than anger.

#6 – Things usually get more chaotic before they get better. As if things are not tumultuous enough leading to the decision to get a divorce, the truth is that things often get more chaotic before they get better. In the movie, both Miranda’s and Daniel’s lives become even more chaotic and frustrating immediately after the divorce. The pattern before the divorce was at least familiar, if not healthy. The new routine after Daniel moves out is so disorienting that everyone is initially thrown into a state of chaos and disequilibrium. It isn’t until Daniel’s impersonation is finally revealed and everyone realizes just how chaotic things had become, that they find their way to a state of equilibrium. The chaos is normal. The chaos stems from the sudden reconfiguring that is necessary to move things from a past state to a new state.

 

Divorce challenges people in ways never imagined. It is often a painful and demanding process. However, navigated with intention and care, there is great potential for healing, stability and even miracles on the other side. These are the rewards of being willing to follow the road less traveled.

 

If you know anyone struggling with challenges in their relationship or navigating divorce who can benefit from support in getting from chaos and pain to stability and hope, please refer to them to Divorce Essentials. They do not need to wait until divorce is inevitable to get some help.

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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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Supposed to be Hard

Why Its Supposed To Be Hard

I can be a terribly impatient person at times. I am able to do many things quickly and there are a lot of things that come easily to me. That may sound like a great thing, but what it means is that when something truly is hard, I can get seriously thrown emotionally.

 

In today’s world of instant everything, we are not used to having to struggle and our resilience threshold (as an evolving species) can be very low. Think about it… We can cook a dinner in a box in under 5-minutes in the microwave, we can get same day dry cleaning, we expect 24-hour customer service from our bank and tech support. We simply expect things to happen quickly and for problems to be resolved with relative ease.

 

The result of this is that when something arises that truly demands tenacity, perseverance, courage, and resilience, it can feel excruciatingly difficult. We want to call 24-hour support to solve the problem for us. There must be an easier way out of this mess.

 

What is true, however, is that some things are supposed to be hard.

I invite you to share in one of my favorite stories…

 

 

Supposed to be HardA man found a cocoon of an emperor moth. He took it home so that he could watch the moth come out of the cocoon.

 

On the day a small opening appeared, he sat and watched the moth for several hours as the moth struggled to force the body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no farther. It just seemed to be stuck.

 

Then the man, in his kindness, decided to help the moth, so he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The moth then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The man continued to watch the moth because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time. Neither happened! In fact, the little moth spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.

 

What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the moth to get through the tiny opening was the way of forcing fluid from the body of the moth into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon. Freedom and flight would only come after the struggle. By depriving the moth of a struggle, he deprived the moth of health.

 

If your divorce or whatever other life struggle you are in feels hard – even excruciatingly hard at times – then it is supposed to be hard. Breaking out of a way of life that you have outgrown is a necessary struggle to prepare you to embrace and navigate what is on the other side.

 

I cannot tell you exactly how long this particular struggling will last. For me, I had many intervals of feeling very disheartened at how far I was from the “extraordinary” on the other side when I thought I should already be there. What I can tell you is this… It is worth it when you get there – and – you will renew the journey again and again if you want to live a fully actualized life.

 

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of those depths.”

~ Elizabeth Kubler Ross – Psychiatrist, often attributed with creating the

Theory of the Five Stages of Grief & Loss

 

For more on why the journey to the life we truly want is supposed to be hard, check out this video clip from one of my favorite movies: A League of Their Own.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndL7y0MIRE4

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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 Let’s Get Real Mini 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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Predict the Future

How to Predict the Future

One of the biggest struggles for anyone going through divorce or another major life transition is the fear of uncertainty about the future. Whether the status quo is good or bad, our inability to predict the future and the uncertainty that comes with that can easily send us scrambling for the comfort of the familiar.Predict the Future

 

While I have always had a bit of an entrepreneurial spirit, ending my marriage, moving, and beginning a brand new business at the same time tested me beyond anything I had ever experienced in terms of my capacity to navigate through very long stretches of uncertainty. There is no keeping track of the number of times I wanted to run in retreat (as though there was anything to run back to) or tried to cling to anything that seemed more stable and predictable than my future. I pleaded with anyone I could find to just assure me that everything would work out exactly as I wanted it to so that I could find the confidence to take the next step forward. I begged for certainty and the ability to predict the future.

 

Does any of this sound familiar? Have you ever been there?

 

As a divorce coach, what people want most when they call for a consult is certainty that things are going to be OK – and by ‘ok,’ they mean ‘work out in a way that will make them feel comfortable.’ This is totally reasonable and makes sense.

 

Through my own journey and the experience of serving as a guide to others through a journey of transition, I have figured out that the only way to predict the future and to know that things will work out is to…

 

Align your happiness and sense of security with things over which you have control.

 

Think about it… most of our anxiety stems from our having expectations or desire for things over which we have no control. They are external to us and often tims in other people’s hands. What if all the things that really mattered to us and impacted our sense of happiness were within our control? What if we could predict the future?

How to Predict the Future

 

The truth is that this is possible. We choose what makes us feel happy and we choose what makes us feel secure. They are not chosen for us. In the course of my journey, my work was, is and forever will be to let go of the external measures of happiness and security and create news ones of my own – those over which I have control.

 

My future is much more certain when I align my happiness and sense of security with the following:

 

  • Responding well to events outside my control. While I cannot control everything I will encounter along the way, I can control how I respond in each situation. Cultivating the ability to respond well makes me feel happy and gives me a sense of security.
  • Living in alignment with my values. Humans are the only species that can make decisions based upon values rather than instinct. Knowing what I value and striving to live each day in alignment with my values makes me feel happy and gives me a sense of security.
  • Taking in the good. Very few things are all good or all bad. There is always an opportunity to choose what I take in – the rose on the bush or the prick of the thorn. Focusing on and taking in the good makes me feel happy and gives me a sense of security about the quality of my life experiences.
  • Being with people who care about me. There are those in my life who care deeply about me and support me in becoming my best self and others who don’t. Allowing those who care into my inner circle (and keeping the others at bay) makes me feel happy and gives me a sense of safety and security in my relationships.
  • Deciding how to spend my time. Like you, there are many demands on my time from people, work, and life! Being intentional about what I give my time to makes me feel happy and gives me a sense of security.
  • Nurturing my inner coach. Like everyone else, I have an inner critic and an inner coach (or cheerleader). Despite the fact that the inner critic speaks with complete confidence and certainty – ALL the time, choosing to give more credence to my inner coach makes me feel happy and creates a sense of security.

 

If you want to predict the future, try letting go of your attachment to some of the things over which you have no control and begin focusing your attention on the things you can truly affect.

 

What expectations are you holding onto that are creating anxiety about the future?
What are you ready to let go of?

What can you align your happiness and sense of security to instead?

“The future depends on what you do today.”  

~Mahatma Ghandi

__________________________________

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 Let’s Get Real Mini 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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