Choosing your Emotions During your Kansas Divorce

Below is an excerpt from an article posted on Huffington Post.  The author of the article is  NY Times Bestseller for her book, and I think her insight into dealing with very hurtful words during a divorce are wonderful.


So when a different kind of rejection came my way in words that none of us wants to hear and most of us dread: I don’t love you anymore…even though they came from my dear husband’s mouth after 15 years of what I considered to be a loving marriage, even though they were shocking and hurtful, I knew that I could employ the same philosophy I’d been working with in my writing life, and not let them take me down. There began my “season of unlikely happiness.”

He wanted to leave. I knew he was running scared due to career failure and my gut told me this was a crisis of self that he was transferring on to me. So I decided to give him the space to work through it…and he took it. He didn’t move out. He took his problems to nature, fishing, camping, hiking in the Rocky Mountains where we live. He was distant, unreliable, and sometimes cruel. But I knew that if I took it all personally, and reacted to the drama, that I would be in pain and I didn’t want that. My job was to take care of myself and surrender the future of my marriage, even though I deeply loved this man. Holding the space for him to heal was the best way I could show him that love, regardless of whether or not he came back as an equal loving partner.

But it wasn’t always easy. My inner critic wanted blood. She told me lies. Lots of them. “You are being a door mat! You need to hire a private detective! You need to demand he see a therapist! You need to kick his a** out!!!” But my greater instincts told me that my real work was to let go and to focus on creating positive moments with my children, hiking in the mountains, picking huckleberries, digging in the garden, cooking big feasts, playing games on the screen porch. Of course there were times I needed to rage and cry, and I did that alone on my horse in the woods or at four in the morning when the panic and fear hit hard and I couldn’t seem to quiet my mind. That’s when my inner critic was loudest. “I don’t love you any more means you are unlovable. You will lose everything–full custody of your children, your animals, your house, your car. You will end up alone. ” But I knew my work was to replace that victim’s voice with positive thinking, moment by moment, breath by breath, heart beat by heart beat. Over and over I would say to myself “I am enough. I am enough.” Even when I didn’t believe it. And it worked. I felt a peace in that time of my life I’d never known.
My husband and I healed through this crisis, but that’s not what my book is about. It’s about choice. It’s about the myth of where our power lies. It’s about personal freedom. It’s about letting go. I would hope that even if our marriage hadn’t made it, I would still be able to practice this philosophy and have the same personal results.

People want to know: how is it possible to not take those words personally?

And my answer is: no one can cause you to have an emotion. It’s playground politics all over again. No one can “make” you mad or feel guilty or cry or laugh. Physically, yes, a black eye is a black eye. But emotionally, it’s always a choice. I read somewhere recently that we have around 60,000 thoughts a day and something like 75-80 % of them are negative. That doesn’t surprise me one bit. We have chosen to become emotional victims and I think it’s because there’s a pay-off to it. We get to be right. We have told ourselves a story a long time ago that we are powerful when we________. Or conversely, not powerful when we are not__________. And then we let those equations run our lives and determine our perceptions and reactions so that we can prove our story true. Our inner critic screams, megaphone to our heart: “See, I told you the world sucks. I told you you would fail. I told you you are powerless.”

And I was left with a simple question: What can I create…in this moment? I’ve created being miserable. That no longer feels good. So what if I get to be right. I’m sick of that pay-off. I’d rather create something that works in my life. That feels easy and natural and simple and good. There is intense freedom in powerfully choosing to create happiness in your life. No matter what people are saying to you or what’s going on in your mind or in your life. And it doesn’t mean that we have to go outside ourselves or travel across oceans. All our happiness is right there at our kitchen sink, driving our kids around, sitting in our office chair, totally available to us.

Trackback URL

Leave a Reply