This week I asked Cheri Augustine-Flake, LCSW-The Stress Therapist and perpetually happy professional to guest blog for us about the upside of divorce for women. Fondly known as the “Rock Star Mom” who coaches women on how to juggle kids, career and hobbies, here are her thoughts:
“One thing that we know for sure about happy people versus unhappy people is that they definitely think differently.
Since I’m in the happiness business, one of the first homework assignments for my new clients is to just begin thinking about what they are thinking about. We rarely do this…we’re way more apt to explore, talk about and connect to how we feel about things. But the truth is we can rarely feel a thing without a thought.
By definition, a divorce means that things did not go the way that you planned. But does this fact, however, also imply that things are horrible…that things from now on will be difficult and even miserable?
Conversely, could it be possible that this is exactly the way it was supposed to go down? Is there even the slightest chance that everything is…(gulp) perfect???
I know that can be a lot to hear when you may be going through the most stressful event of your life! But, hang with me for just a second….
We know from Cognitive Psychology that stress isn’t even real.
Nope. If I asked you to bring me a trunk full of stress, you couldn’t do it. The truth is we create stress with our thoughts.
Attaching perceptions, conclusions and judgments to our situations is what brings us all of this stress.
So, you may be wondering, if we are creating our stress, is it possible that we could learn to stop creating stress? Or, better yet, could we actively create some other emotion like say, happiness?
If the idea of sharing your time with your child is horrifying and awful at first, is there a way that you could flip the thought to your advantage? Sure.
This situation could actually be filled with opportunity ~ if you can be open to changing your thoughts about it.
Here is your chance to try that knitting group you’ve been eyeing. Perhaps, a membership at the YMCA is finally feasible. The reality is that all of this alone time (that you even may have been craving and daydreaming about!) has arrived; so what will you do with it?? This may be the message and validation that you needed to go ahead and utilize the time to help you grow, change and be the best that you can be by doing what makes your heart sing.
As with many disappointments, hindsight often opens us up to the good in seemingly negative occurrences. You may really have to stretch your thinking but just sit for a second and contemplate…How could this horrible situation be a gift from the Universe?
If this just seems an impossibility right now (and often, it will) turn your attention elsewhere to get some insight. Where in your past has your misfortune ended up truly serving you? Have you ever rebuked your misfortune thinking “that turned out to be a blessing!”?
We only become who we truly are by overcoming obstacles. We only grow and change and become better and well by taking on that mountain that our life has brought us. Learning to eventually deal, change, cope and adapt to ultimately find a new reality on the other side is the goal and the result is always a better you.
I had a client who shared custody of two kids usually quite amicably with his ex wife. When he and his current wife had a child together, he told me that they just couldn’t get used to having the little one around all the time. He explained to me that they had been “spoiled” with scheduled breaks with opportunities for his ex to co-parent the other two children. “Our child is always with us,” he told me. “We never get to go anywhere and we have to hire sitters all the time. We’re just not used to this…I mean no one is ever coming over to get him!”
Wow! That’s quite the antithesis of the expected!
The lesson is this: There is always another way to look at it…a different way to spin it…if only for the benefit of feeling better about the whole situation, even if it is just for a split second. This is where happiness starts, when you actually feel happy because you’ve changed your thinking. Not in some elusive, imaginary future where everything is better, but making happiness your responsibility right now in this. very. instant.
I ask that today with whatever the next stage brings, you ask yourself, “How could this be possibly working for me?” How could this situation actually result in bringing me what I actually want??”
It may be really hard to do this…I mean, your world has been rocked and shook up and even your identity may have even been in question for a time, but I ask you, what if it works???
The alternative is to feel rotten. You cannot be in alignment with your true purpose when you feel bad and you can’t discover your true purpose if you are fighting tooth and nail, if only with your thoughts against what is…
It is. This is what’s happening. How can you create from here? Meet the Universe where it is because this is where you are…start with your thoughts.
Because, one thing I know is true, happiness is always just a thought away…
It’s all in the way that you think about it…”
Much love and light to you,
Do you have a personal story that you can share regarding these issues? I would love to hear from you.
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Cheri Augustine-Flake-The Stress Therapist http://guidinginneraction.com/
Cheri Augustine Flake is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with 20 years of experience helping people in the Atlanta area. Cheri has worked as a social worker and therapist in numerous settings including inpatient, outpatient, pharmaceutical research, and private practice. Her training includes Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Michigan State University, and a Masters degree in Social Work from the University of Georgia. Cheri is also a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist as well as a Certified Distance Credentialed Counselor. Cheri is a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers, the National Association of Social Workers, the Georgia Society of Clinical Social Work and the International Certification Board of Clinical Hypnotherapy
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR. Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Disclaimer: This is my personal blog. The opinions I express here do not necessarily represent those of my organization, Transitions Resource, LLC. The information I provide is on an as-is basis. I make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this blog and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its use.