I was very pleased when I saw that in the last edition of Oasis Magazine, the wonderful Jules had put my article in the “Wellness’ section.
Getting through a separation intact – or “Divorcing With Dignity”, as I like to think of it – is something I feel is as important in a separation, as achieving a fair outcome.
For the most part, we humans do not thrive on conflict. Children most certainly don’t. We simply can’t live for years with stress, conflict, anger, and unresolved issues.
So how do we deal with these things?
1. WORK OUT WHAT CAN, AND CAN’T, BE CHANGED.
In 1932 or thereabouts, American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr wrote what came to be called, The Serenity Prayer, later adopted by Alcoholics Anonymous. It is commonly quoted as:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.
Even if you are not religious, the powerful message is that you must first accept that there are things you cannot change; for example, the way a person behaves towards you.
But perhaps you can change the way you react. Once you know the difference, you can focus your energy on what CAN be changed.
2. FIND THE COURAGE WITHIN.
It is interesting that Niebuhr’s prayer in its original form, asked for courage first – “give us courage to change what must be altered”.
I have another story for you about courage, called “Run towards the Roar”. It is an African teaching about the means by which African lions catch the antelope. The older lions with less stamina (and teeth!) wait on one side of the long grass. The younger fitter lions wait on the other side. The older lions roar and the fearful antelopes run away from the roar, but unknowingly, towards certain death where the younger lions lay in wait. So, the elders said, “Run towards the Roar!” for there is the greater chance of survival.
In other words, face your fears and find the courage within to take that first step towards doing something about your situation. But what could that first step be?
3. GET HELP AND ADVICE.
If it is a family law conflict, talk to a family lawyer about your options. Your lawyer can tell you what your options are; what you can do something about, and what you can’t (in other words, choosing your battles). It just might not be as bad as you think. Clients often say to me that even just talking it through at the first appointment and working out a plan of action brings a world of relief. It no longer feels so overwhelming.
All conflict can eventually be resolved by these first steps towards a happier life.