Wednesday, 31 May 2017

The Stigma of Divorce

I smile as I write this as past words and comments by well-meaning friends, colleagues and acquaintances flash around in my head.



The story goes way back, when I went through my first divorce. I was only 27/28 having married at 21 and people would wonder out loud, what would become of me as a young divorcee with a child. At first these comments didn’t mean a thing to me as all I wanted at the time was out no matter what.

But by the time I realised that my second marriage was not working and that I actually had to leave to be happy, those same words of a few years before came rushing back.

This time round I was afraid, I was embarrassed and left my marriage knowing that I was now “that woman that my parents used to talk about,” you know the one who has two children from two different marriages.

If you ask anyone who knows me, they will tell you that going through my second divorce was not a big deal, that I was strong and just got on with it. And on the surface that was very true but deep within me, I was damaged and ashamed, emotions I would cover by making fun of myself each time the topic of divorce and marriage came up.

I thought I was doing well covering my darkness until one day, after making yet another joke, a very dear friend of mine, Emma, simply looked at me and said, “You’re really going to have to get over that.”

Those few words were the ones that shook me back to myself. I began looking at why I was doing what I was doing to me and why I was carrying this whole baggage of shame and guilt around because I had two “failed” marriages.

I took it upon myself to see and understand why this had happened and accept that, no matter what my ex-husbands had done or not done, I was 100% responsible for finding myself where I was.

I began to realise that those comments made those many years ago had actually not washed over me at all but they had instead made their way deep down and taken refuge in my heart and mind.

I saw how people reacted when they got to know about my divorces and would ask, “so now what?” And the look of pity, horror and shock when after working through my pain and hurt, I would admit that yes, I would get married again.

The stigma of divorce is alive and well despite the fact that divorce is such a common occurrence that the question, “Are your parents still together,” has become as common as, 
“How are your parents?”

I don’t know why this is. I don’t know why divorce still ends up defining who you are while in reality it’s a journey, an experience you have been through - it’s not you, it’s something that happened. Just like being laid off is something that you once went through at some point in your life. It was painful, it was devastating but you moved on and got yourself another job, hopefully an even better one.

All I know is that this fear of being part of the “failed marriages” party has kept many a people in pretty terrible dyads. It has seen children grow up to ask their parents, “Why didn’t you just leave?” while others have shrunk to nothingness because they don’t want to be seen ticking the “divorced” box.

Speaking of which, I now find myself wondering why one of the options on some forms is “divorced”. If you’re divorced doesn’t that just make you single again?

Today, when someone says to me, “You’re twice divorced! WOW!” I smile and say, “Yes, I am and thank goodness for that!”

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/soila-sindiyo/the-stigma-of-divorce_1_b_5840576.html

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Life Is Uncertain, But These Things I Know For Sure

In conversations with my therapist, my friends and loved ones, uncertainty comes up often. How will I meet Mr. Right? How, when and where will I find my dream job or land my first client? When will I or how do I start to lose weight? Uncertainty in life often feels like the greatest hurdle to our happiness, but it is actually a huge blessing, we just need a better understanding of its nature and how to move through it. Here are some lessons I have learned about our elusive friend, uncertainty:



Lesson One: No Uncertainty = Boring Life

I know it seems brutally wrong and insensitive. Why can’t I just have a road map that shows me exactly which Starbucks location I need to buy a latte from to meet my future husband? Why can’t someone tell me where I will get my next job opportunity, and if I will get the pay raise I’ve been fighting for?

All these things that cause you angst because you just don’t know the when, where and how of it all are the crux of living. I mean, truly living. Imagine if you had a road map that detailed everything that would happen to you from now until the day you die? How boring! Not only would there be no excitement (and fear and anticipation) in the unfolding of your future, you wouldn’t get the awesome right to shape your destiny as new information and realizations come into your existence; allowing your destiny to remain fluid as you evolve and grow.


You don’t need to love the angst of uncertainty, but the fear and anxiety do not have to stop you from going after what you want in life. Recognize that those emotions are there, take a deep breath, and go for it anyway! Begin to contemplate that the butterflies in your stomach are more than just discomfort — they are life’s way of telling you something exciting and unpredictable is unfolding. Without it, there would be very little to look forward to. If we can begin to embrace it just a little, our life can take on a whole new meaning.



Lesson Two: Temporary setbacks often arrive hand in hand with uncertainty, but success is around the corner (if you refuse to give up)

How often have you heard someone say that getting fired turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to them? At the time, they probably had tremendous anxiety about the situation, yet suddenly out of a really tough situation many of their dreams were borne.
At a recent concert I attended where Aloe Blacc performed, he mentioned that his journey to becoming a successful performer started with the end of a job. He also talked about meeting Dr. Dre for the first time. Dr. Dre didn’t shower him with compliments — he told him his music was good, but he thought Aloe could do better. While I am sure that must have stung a bit, it also forced Aloe to go back to his craft. Arising from ideas that had been simmering in his head for years, Aloe created his hit song “The Man” which was eventually featured in a commercial for Beats by Dre.


You may think life is being tough on you (and only you), and sometimes it is (yet you are not alone), but it will always allow you the opportunity to take something valuable away from the experience. Challenges are there to test your metal, to give you the chance to go back to the drawing board, and dig deeper inside of yourself for something that is truly amazing. Everyone who pursues a dream will encounter challenges before bringing that dream to fruition.


In his book Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill states that: “Before success comes to most people, they are sure to meet with much temporary defeat, and perhaps some failure. When faced with defeat the easiest and most logical thing to do is to quit. That is exactly what the majority of people do. More than 500 of the most successful people America has ever known told the author their greatest success came just one step beyond the point at which defeat had overtaken them.”



Lesson Three: You have to know what you want (Plus it’s fun to imagine what you want in life)

As Paul Arden said in his book It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be, “Your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have. Without having a goal, it’s difficult to score.” For example, you are dreaming of leaving your boring job in the cubicle doldrums. One day you are complaining of the job you despise, and someone asks you what your dream job is — but you can’t answer the question!

You need to spend more time thinking about your innate talents and desires, that little voice inside that is screaming at you to do something that will make your heart sing. I always heard people say “do what you love” and “what you would do for free.” Yet having listened to that, it has taken me a long time to figure out what that thing was. I finally discovered it was writing and communications. I have been writing since I was a tween and I am in my mid-30s now! Last year alone, I hated my job, and I kept getting all these little freelance opportunities that involved writing and communications. I would ask myself the question, “Hmmmm... I wonder what the universe is trying to tell me?” Long story short, I finally figured it out — the thing I loved was writing. The universe had smacked me upside the head with a few two by fours, and I finally got the message.


Get a journal and write down what you want in a life partner, a career and life in general. Create a vision board with all the fun images of what you want your life to look like, now and in the future. Spend more time in your imagination, picturing all the awesome things that would happen in your life (if reality didn’t seem to be in the way). Maybe, just maybe, reality will start to adjust to accommodate your desires. It has for me!



Lesson Four: You have to remain open and have faith in your dreams (and yes, it usually takes longer and is bumpier than you expect)

In his 2005 commencement speech at Stanford, Steve Jobs said, “Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.” This is from a guy who is revered and changed the world as we know it. He was specifically referring to when he had been fired from Apple, the company he founded. He was devastated and debated leaving Silicon Valley. But somehow he found a way to forge ahead, doing something he loved, and well, the rest is history.

We have everything worked out, but when it doesn’t work out how we planned, the voices in our head go crazy — I was supposed to be working by now. I was supposed to be further along in my career by this age. This is something I should have done in my 20s. I am too old to reinvent myself. Who is going to want to date me at this age, with this disease, with children, with a divorce, with this set of couch cushions?! Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.


I’m telling you, if life pushes you then it is just begging you to push it back. It has something great in store for you if you just refuse to give up and keep true to the vision of what you want your life to be. Life is not easy for anyone, but the people that have “made it” are those that forged through the rough and murky waters of life. Remember the stories of Aloe Blacc and Steve Jobs — they struggled through numerous challenges before succeeding. Even Winston Churchill’s defining moment occurred in his mid-60s during World War II. You never know when a turning point in your life will occur, but you must have faith, you must know what you want, and you cannot give up. And yes, you may feel like giving up, have a bad day, or hide out until you figure out what your next move is. Let it flow, and let it go!

Transition and discovery is the marrow of life. It is overwhelming, sometimes exhausting, and often exhilarating; without it we are bored, predictable, listless and underwhelmed. In the words of Ayn Rand inThe Voice of Reason, “Don’t ever give up what you want in life. The struggle is worth it.”

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/heather-martin/life-is-uncertain-but-the_b_5710797.html

Social networking linked to divorce, marital unhappiness



In what may be of little surprise to avid readers of FacebookCheating.com, a new study found a correlation between social media use and divorce rates in the United States.

The study, published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior by researchers from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and Boston University, compared state-by-state divorce rates to per-capita Facebook accounts. In a separate analysis, they also used data from a 2011-2012 survey that asked individuals about marriage quality and social media use.

Their study found a link between social media use and decreased marriage quality in every model they analyzed. They said their research did not prove that social media might be to blame for troubled marriages, but suggested such a link may be proven in subsequent studies.

"Although it may seem surprising that a Facebook profile, a relatively small factor compared to other drivers of human behavior, could have a significant statistical relationship with divorce rates and marital satisfaction, it nonetheless seems to be the case," the authors wrote.

The state analyses found that a 20 percent annual increase in Facebook enrollment was associated with anywhere from a 2.18 percent to a 4.32 percent increase in divorce rates depending on the model used. Similarly, the model from individual survey results predicts that someone who does not use social media is over 11 percent happier in his or her marriage than a heavy social media user.


The study did not attempt to establish any causal relationship between Facebook and negative marital outcomes, but the authors did offer several explanations for why the correlation exists.

The study's authors reasoned that individuals in problematic relationships may be turning to social media for a support system, thus explaining the link between their increased usage and marital problems. They also wrote that social networks may help reduce uncertainty for people going through a divorce by providing information on an ex-partner without forcing direct contact.

The authors also hypothesized that social media's addictive qualities may create marital strife, promote an environment rife with opportunities for jealousy and may help facilitate extra-marital affairs.

Source: http://www.cnbc.com/2014/07/08/social-networking-linked-to-divorce-marital-unhappiness.html

Monday, 29 May 2017

Logistical Nightmares: How To Take Some Of The Challenge Out Of Co-Parenting

The key to peaceful co-parenting post-divorce lies in keeping the focus on what is best for the kids. Karen McMahon shows us how.



Many challenges of co-parenting post-divorce are universal whether you have an amicable divorce or not. Other more unique challenges are faced by those emerging from a contentious divorce and custody battle.

The key to peaceful co-parenting post-divorce lies in keeping the focus on what is best for the kids. In this article I address both the logistics and emotions of co-parenting with a person you were unable to stay married to.


On the logistical front, there are a number of issues that if addressed and agreed to upfront allow for a significantly more peaceful co-parenting experience:



  1. Mutual Respect: Each parent respects the other parent in words and actions; NEVER use the children as a liaison to communicate with the other parent.
  2. Education Agreement: Children will attend school on time, well-rested, fed and prepared for their day. They will have a time and place to study and complete their homework – with parent’s guidance if necessary. Textbooks, musical equipment, etc. are at the appropriate house for homework. Parents agree on how they will manage teacher conferences, school events, etc.
  3. Shared Information: Each parent is well informed when the other is taking the children on vacation, away for the weekend, out of town/the country. Vacations with the children involve appropriate notice, sharing details location and contact information in case of emergency.
  4. Health Care: Ensure doctor and dentist appointments are kept, information is shared and difficult decisions about medication and procedures are made in the best interest of the children.
  5. Rules and Consequences: An agreement to enforce similar rules and consequences regardless of whose house the children are at.
  6. Extracurricular Activities: Commitment to the children being prepared and on time for practices, games, recitals, concerts, etc; ensuring equipment is at the right house; both parents are aware of the schedule, location, contact information.
  7. Social: Each parent has names and numbers of the children’s friends for playdates, invitations for birthday parties, etc.

Minimizing the Chaos

Married parents can get overwhelmed with all the dates, times, locations, activities, responsibilities and commitments of today’s busy children. Living in separate households can turn overwhelm into chaos.

I cannot tell you how many times in the early years of my divorce we were running late for soccer practice only to find out that my daughter’s cleats and shin guards were at daddy’s or worse, in daddy’s car and he wasn’t home!! Chaos ensued…tensions rose, we all got upset, accusations were flung back and forth…all over a soccer practice.


The same can happen with a textbook at the wrong house the night before a big test. Or the perfect pair of shoes or sweater for her cute outfit is at mommy’s house and no one scheduled in the mad rush across town before school starts…a tough way to begin the day.


One of the most amazing tools that saved my sanity was using an online scheduling program that enabled me to post our shared parenting schedule, the names and phone numbers of pediatricians, friends, coaches, etc. Our Family Wizard offers a one stop location for all the details of co-parenting. You can use one platform to communicate with your ex about changes in schedule, the cost of shared expenses, need for assistance in driving the kids to this weekend’s activities, etc. All without the need for dozens of phone calls back and forth.



Having Two…When Possible

The second aha for me and my ex was that while we only lived 10 blocks away, we were constantly driving to the other’s house before school, practice or tests. We realized the need and value in having DOUBLES…certain items in both households.

EQUIPMENT…having two sets of equipment (when affordable) makes life much easier. When that is not possible, having a special bag that is always packed and by the front door ready to go to mommy’s or daddy’s house keeps everyone calmer – and is great practice for the kids to learn to be organized and prepared (have your kids do it at an early age!!)


TEXTBOOKS…many schools deal are all to used to dealing with children from divorced families and will provide you with a textbook for each home. For those that cannot, creating a system ie. a packing list can reduce stress dramatically.


Note: Parenting children with special needs creates an even greater stress on both households. It’s not just the children, but the parents as well that need support and tool and there are amazing resources available for you.


All this being said, if you are in or emerging from a contentious divorce, many of these cooperative co-parenting strategies may seem like an impossibility. If communication with your ex often results in criticism, accusation, blame, and bitterness, make sure to read Co-parenting: Take Off Your Armor And Put Down Your Sword.


Source: https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/logistical-nightmares-how-to-take-some-of-the-challenge-out-of-co-parenting-dg/

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Divorce Confidential: Coping With an Impossible Spouse During and After Divorce

Divorce is already a traumatic experience for most individuals and their families. Dealing with a toxic spouse who has it out for you makes the divorce process even worse by dragging out issues that could easily be resolved with compromise and agreements outside of the courtroom. If you and your spouse have children, child sharing might prove to be challenging even after the divorce if you are not able to get along and there is lack of cooperation from your spouse.



So what options do you have when you are dealing with a toxic spouse? Well, the first thing to remember is that you’re not alone in this journey. There are many individuals who are dealing with similar struggles and who are learning to cope. While it is not an easy process, it is a workable situation especially if you’re committed to living a more peaceful co-existence with your soon-to-be ex-spouse.


While I am not a marriage therapist, there are a few helpful suggestions I provide to clients to help minimize the stress of a difficult spouse during the divorce process. Here are a few of tips to consider:


1. Document, Document and Document: A spouse that fabricates the truth puts you in a very difficult position, especially if there is no hard evidence to back up your side of the story. That is why it is important to document everything in writing. This includes the time your spouse spends with the children, the monies that you notice he or she is taking from your joint bank accounts and any other issue of importance. If you document everything, including your communication with your spouse and there is any question as to the history of events, you will have a clear record of everything that has occurred up to that point in time. Stay organized during your divorce. The more organized you are and have complete logs of your finances and communication, the easier it will be to refute any lies that are thrown your way by your spouse. If you and your spouse have difficulty communicating especially when it comes to daily activities related to your children, you may want to look into web-based programs, such as “Our Family Wizard” that help you and your spouse easily communicate and schedule appointments.


2. Hire An Attorney: When you’re dealing with a difficult and controlling spouse, you may want to consider hiring an attorney. Having an attorney to neutralize the situation may prove to be helpful when you and your spouse are having problems communicating related to day to day activities, in addition to legal issues. However, make sure you do your due diligence in hiring an attorney that is the right fit for you and your situation. If you are tight on financial resources, hiring an attorney that is highly litigious and not resolution focused, may put more stress on the situation and may also drag out your divorce longer than needed.


3. Keep The Past In The Past: One way to diffuse a situation is to keep the past in the past. In a recent settlement I attended, one party used very expensive attorney time to hash out the details of the relationship. This is not helpful in diffusing an already tense situation. While divorce is painful, it is more painful when your focus is on the past and not on moving forward. One of the reasons why your spouse may be making this a difficult process is because he or she is holding onto the past. By focusing on the issues at hand and moving forward, it could be that extra nudge your spouse needs to also move forward.


4. Talk To A Therapist: It is helpful if you talk to a seasoned professional to help you through the divorce process, but more importantly to talk about how to deal with a controlling and manipulative spouse. A therapist will provide you with helpful tools on how to respond to a difficult spouse and allow you to vent about some of the concerns and frustrations you are dealing with during this transition time. It will also help you keep in check your own actions and help determine whether you are contributing to the situation as well. By hiring a therapist, you may avoid excessive attorney’s fees if it’s become your habit to vent your emotional frustrations to your attorney.


For many of you with children, once the divorce is finalized, the problems you experience with your difficult former spouse may not be over since the two of you remain in constant contact for the sake of your children. This persistent tension isn’t a new issue and is a continuation of the disagreements from marriage that the legal process unfortunately did not resolve. To alleviate the tension, you may want to consider the following:



  • If possible, try to avoid limit any modification of the child sharing plan for at least a year. It’s important to see if the current child sharing plan is workable, not to mention routine is beneficial for your children.
  • Always make a Plan B for your kids when you know your former spouse may flake or intentionally not exercise visitation to hurt you.
  • Communicate when your spouse upsets you, but try to do so in a rational, non-emotional way.
  • Communicate missed visitations and reiterate the next scheduled visitation and request a confirmation from your former spouse so as to avoid any miscommunication.
  • Document the visitation schedule, any missed visits or appointments and any miscommunication. This will prove to be beneficial should there be any issue related to modification of child custody and visitation.


One nugget of wisdom that is important, not only in divorce but in dealing with relationships in general, is that you cannot control your former spouse and how he or she acts during this difficult time. What you can control is how you react and behave. With these helpful tips, you will hopefully be on the path to a more peaceful co-existence with your spouse during and after the divorce is finalized.


Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/caroline-choi/divorce-confidential-copi_b_4770722.html

Saturday, 27 May 2017

How to Avoid the #1 Killer of Happiness

You’ve probably done something like this, too. And it can sabotage your ability to move on.



I thought my world had ended back in January.

I had this job and career that made me comfortable and paid well. It was not necessarily a job that I loved, but it made me feel secure and gave me the validation that I thought I needed.


Until I was laid off.

I started to panic, because although I was not necessarily happy with it, it least it paid the bills and the thought of financially uncertainty terrified me.


But here’s where my own missteps came in: As I started to assemble a resume, apply for new jobs, desperately hoping I would find employment soon, a voice in the back of my head get chiming in.


I’ll feel so much better once I get that job interview!


I know everything will be okay once I get the job offer.


I will be happy again once I am in a new job.


Once I get that first paycheck, I know I’ll smile and feel better about everything.


Do you see the dangerous pattern going on here?


You’ve probably done something like this, too. And it can sabotage your ability to move on.
Relying on external factors to make you happy.


During the next few months, we are going on a quest. And that quest is learning how to take our lives back. But we cannot do that if we are dependent on outside factors to shape how we move on from divorce.


Only we can do that and that’s why we are going to start this quest with developing self-awareness. Because the more in-tune we are with our own thoughts, our own sense of joy, and our own triggers, the easier it will be to practice that mindfulness we need to be kinder to ourselves, more confident in ourselves, and able to hold ourselves accountable to building on with the next chapter in our lives. So let’s get started.



“Once X happens, only then will I be or feel Y….”

At some point in our lives—we’ve all done this. And as we learn to heal and move the hell on from this divorce, we may still fall into what I call the X-Y Trap. We say to ourselves that it will take a certain external situation (what I call the X) in order for us to achieve an internal state (what I call the Y). While this occurs in everyday situations, the X-Y Trap loves to linger during the divorce process. Do any of these sound familiar?

“Once the papers are signed, then I will be happy.”


“I’ll be happy again when I find a new partner to be with. Somebody who will be so much better than my ex-spouse.”


“When I move out of this house with all its memories and ghosts, I’ll be happy.”


“As soon as I quit feeling so overwhelmed, then I can work on being happy.”


They sure as hell sound familiar to me, because I know as I was learning to move on, I would fall into this trap as well!


So, how do we avoid falling into the X-Y Trap? And, if we are already ensnared, how can we get the hell out of it?


Only by changing what goes on internally can we start finding happiness.


It’s simple, but not easy.


We must start thinking in terms of looking inward and relying on ourselves to be happy. No amount of money or outside validation or relationship status will do it for us. It must come from inside. We must consciously choose to be grateful and choose happiness, even when we feel overwhelmed and feel like we are a complete mess. Even when we feel like we are alone or feel betrayed or feel bad or impatient or feel like we will never get through the divorce and emerge on the other side, stronger and more confident than from where we started. Those feeling all derive from outside influence that we choose to react towards in a way that does not help us.


Regardless of where we are in life, we must all consciously choose to be happy, to be grateful, and to find joy in the fact that we are here, we are alive, and we are being given a second chance in this life. We must choose internally to embrace the fact we are now becoming independent—not only financially and now having the ability to live on our terms—but now independent to rely on our
selves to be happy—something no outside forces should determine for us.


Exercise—Take charge of your own happiness.

It may have been years—if at all—that we have looked within ourselves to find a happiness that does not rely on external factors. It may seem overwhelming and impossible, especially when we are stressed-out and grieving. But it does not have to be. Take a look at the easy exercise below, with examples to get you started.

Step 1: Name the things you have relied on to be happy. Some of my own examples are below if you need to get started.


A certain number in my bank account will make me happy.


Being in a relationship with a man who treats me right will make me happy.


Step 2: Flip the script.

No relationship in the world is going to make me happy if I do not love myself and treat myself right. From now on, I am going to focus on myself and work on myself. I need to start putting myself first—speaking up for myself, taking better care of myself, and finding joy in being alone.

Step 3: Whenever you are triggered and thinking that you need something external to make you happy, do this exercise.


Do it often. And the more you practice finding internal happiness, the more your life becomes filled with gratitude, not needing to rely on some outside factor you cannot control to make you happy. You are strong enough to find that within yourself.


Source: https://goodmenproject.com/divorce/avoid-1-killer-happiness-dg/

Friday, 26 May 2017

Procrastination Prevents Progress – 5 Productivity pitfalls and how to avoid them



There’s an old saying in my day job (as an IT project manager since you ask):

“Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance”

You may have heard versions of it before. The beauty of the “5 P’s” is that it conveys a simple message with some pleasing alliteration along the way. In essence, it’s possible to avoid poor performance of any task or activity by ensuring enough thought is put into the preparation (see also planning and prioritisation as valid substitutes).


What strikes me increasingly these days, both at work and at home as a parent is that we would all do well to not only embrace this saying to accentuate the positive and productive activities in our lives but also to eradicate the negatives; the delaying tactics, the resistances that we put up that at times hinder us in achieving even the most insignificant things. I’m proposing an alternative version:


“Procrastination Prevents Progress”

Perhaps it’s not as catchy but it’s equally applicable in my opinion. Planning or preparing for an activity isn’t the be-all and end-all but you’ve got to at least get on and do something in the first instance if you want to move forward with anything, right?

It seems these days that we are all too keen to procrastinate, over-evaluate, consider and re-consider something before we get on and do it. Sometimes it’s simply too easy to get distracted rather than just getting on with the task at hand. Maybe that’s a result of there being too many distractions open to us in this world of instant information, rapid gratification and fear that we might be missing out on something else if we commit our attentions to one task. Maybe we are genuinely fearful of the job on the list. The reality though is there really is no way we can achieve things without the simple act of getting organised, grabbing the metaphorical bull by the horns and getting on with it.


Below I have outlined 5 typical examples of procrastination and delaying tactics that I see time and again at work and at home, many of which I’m guilty of myself. For each of these I’ve also outlined a means of handling them, whether that’s Father to Child, Boss to Employee, Wife to Husband or from self to self; sometimes you just need to have a word with yourself, right?


My philosophy is that it’s never enough just to acknowledge and lament a problem if you’re not willing to do something to try and resolve it, so here we go!


1) Doing what we want to do rather than what we have to do – The best example of this is the age-old debate we parents have with our kids: homework versus TV. The source of the distraction is inconsequential but the substance of the argument remains. We have to accept that life for most of us is a process of having to do the things expected of us first before we indulge ourselves in the things we’d like to do. We have to go to work in the morning to earn a living before we can come home and enjoy our family-time and pursue our hobbies. Whilst at work we can get on and tackle the tasks we know are going to be time-consuming, complex and potentially unpleasant and leave the routine and administrative matters for later in the day or flip the scheduling of these around. The beauty of the former is that we get the tough stuff done while our energy levels are still high. 
Adopting the same model at home we can encourage our kids to get the homework done before the weekend so they are able to relax and enjoy their free time or it can be left hanging over them until the last possible minute when the only option is a rushed or half-hearted effort done reluctantly that won’t give the best results.

The choice is really all ours, and the suggested remediation is to force a value-judgment that encourages the choice to be made considering the balance of life, and not just defaulting to the path of least resistance to instant gratification.

2) Putting off the tricky tasks until last – There are theories abound of task-list management and how we should prioritise things. It’s often tempting to put off the tricky, unpalatable tasks or those we simply don’t feel like doing until later either in favour of doing the easy ‘quick-wins’ or simply doing nothing at all. The danger with this is two-fold. First, we risk convincing ourselves that we’re being productive or genuinely achieving things by knocking off the little tasks, and further justifying our procrastination over the big stuff. Second, we avoid reality that more significant and difficult tasks are likely to be of higher value and make a greater impact to our lives and hence warrant their status and significance on our task list.


The knack here is to ensure that the task list is only made up of genuinely important things that are aligned to our higher values (whether these are truly linked to delivering the benefits of a project at work, or to achieving our target grades at school). We also need to be clear on what is required of us so that we can then tackle the tasks to completion, tick them off the list and forget about them. I suggest you get ruthless, trim your list down to the truly significant activities rather than padding it with things that you know you can start ticking them off quickly; the progress might be slower on a task-by-task basis but the effects will be profound in your life as each task provides genuine value once complete. Cut out the ‘busy-work’.


3) Allowing ourselves to be distracted (usually by our smartphones) – When we are able to gain real-time insight into goings-on around us whether the Instagram photos of a friend’s dinner plate, or a breaking news article about the latest celebrity divorce, we invite distraction and procrastination into our lives. We convince ourselves that the risk of somehow being out of touch with the outside world outweighs the risk of not doing what we have to in a timely and efficient way. In most cases it’s actually just a means of convincing ourselves we have a valid reason to stay in touch with the world around us, or just an outright excuse. In the days before computers landed on most office desks I presume that distraction came in the form of conversations and visitors to your desk side or the ringing of the telephone. When computers were solely interfaces to operational systems it was likely that the situation remained largely the same. However, once email and Internet access proliferated a world of information and further distraction and interruption opened up to us. Now, in the age of the smartphone we have every bit of information in the world and live communication channels with our nearest and dearest open to us at all times of the day and night. These are truly times of unprecedented change and with two iPhone-toting teenage daughters whose embracing of social media has been committed and wholehearted I can see that the lasting effects of this change will be significant to their development and to that of the world at large.


It is certainly not just kids who’ve allowed this source of distraction into their lives and I can bear witness to many a Chief Financial Officer or Managing Director of large, publically quoted companies who I’ve observed sneaking a cursory look at Facebook or Twitter in the midst of significant meetings and discussions. It may have followed a check of their mobile work email app when their attention has wandered from the conversation at hand, but it is undeniable that the smartphone and the information it gives us access to is here to stay as the distracting force of our time.


The only advice I can offer in this regard is to be mindful of your use, be honest about how much you allow yourself to be distracted and stop kidding yourself that Twitter is any kind of essential business aid. Put the phone down and get on with the job at hand. Lead your kids by example, don’t lecture them in misty-eyed fashion over a simpler time then go back to looking at memes on Facebook.




4) Fear of missing out on something better – A by-product of the smartphone-enhanced world and the social networks within it is that we are constantly tormented with updates on the activities and lives of others. These are of course always 10% more exciting, stimulating or fun than ours; their holidays are to more exotic locations, they are doing more exciting things than us with friends whose company we want to be enjoying, and they are getting more out of life while we are sat here trying to complete an overdue report or defrost the freezer.

The nature of social media, online dating and any other kind of site that exists to connect people, is that users engage others in the ‘good stuff’ that’s going on in their lives and open up jealousy and fear of missing out in those who engage with them. In online dating, the availability of what is essentially a catalogue of sexy people who are all out to advertise themselves and attract a mate, convinces the single person that there is a wealth of potential matches out there and their task it is to weed out the best that they can; is it any wonder that people are becoming more likely to remain single in life as they fail to commit, believing that the best-of-the-best is just around the corner? Again the most effective course of action to counter this is to cut yourself off from the source of torment, or more realistically to know that you are probably as culpable as anyone else of participating in this same process. Pacify yourself that everyone else has to allocate time to the things they must do, as well as that they want to. Take satisfaction that once you’ve got your value-adding tasks done, you can share pictures of you cat/child/dinner/car with impunity, or swipe-left on a few potential dates.


5) Questioning the inherent value in a task (or asking ourselves “What’s the point?”) – There’s a rather corrosive belief held by many people, that these days every task, activity or moment in our lives should be endowed with significance or meaning. If the task is not instantly gratifying, then somehow it’s not worthy of us? This is the biggie and one that I’ll write on separately at some point soon. The significance here though is in the emerging sense of entitlement that seems to be factored into virtually every person’s mind these days regarding one or more aspects of their life, which underpins procrastination when we view tasks as beneath us, menial or just plain boring.


We all believe we inherently deserve the best, whether that’s the best-paid, most interesting job, the finest food and wines known to man, or the dream holiday to the far-flung destinations (whether we can afford them or not). I’m not disputing our right to strive for excellence, but I’m offended by the notion that it should come with zero effort or commitment on our part.


In work, employees baulk, complain and even strike at the notion of basically having to do their jobs if they disagree with the terms, conditions or even just the nature of the work. The UK public sector particularly is rife with people who pale at the thought that they may have to do more than the bare-minimum 35 hours per week and who know that with zero visible symptoms they can receive long-term sick pay for staying home and watching TV. I say this flippantly but also with experience, having worked for 4 long years in local government; it’s part of the reason I now work freelance in financial services; mercenary, certainly but I know where I am when most people are employed under the same terms and operate under the assumption if they don’t deliver they will be replaced following 2 weeks notice. Maybe this is the repressed Victorian Mill Owner in me, coming out in my views on employee-relations.

In our private lives, everyone can now access every material possession they wish (within reason); luxury cars can be leased for no money down, Satellite TV is considered a necessity alongside sanitation and electricity and you’re considered a luddite if your iPhone is more than one version older than the most recent model.

We are all products of the world in which we live and I’m not crusading for fundamental changes in the way we all engage with modern society and the trappings of it. What I advocate though is that we all need to complete activities (“work” in shorthand) that generally contributes to achieving things in life, both to earn a living and be a contributing member of society. Not everything is endowed with a higher purpose or value; we all need to roll up our sleeves and clean a toilet now and again and to view such things as beneath us or believe that we have some underlying reason to put off a task as not worthy of us is, frankly, laughable. I use extreme examples here but the simple message is if you’re questioning a task as warranting your attention, if it needs doing, for goodness sake just crack-on and get it done.


Hopefully you’ll find something that you can apply in the above. It seems obvious to say that the basic lesson of the piece is ‘Don’t Procrastinate’, but that is the fundamental point.
In keeping with point 5 above, sometimes we need a bit of tough love. We may spend our time and mind-space trying to concoct reasons why we want to avoid a task, or delay it until later. The simple fact is that assuming you are required to do something either because it is expected of you in work, or you’ve added it to your personal task list as it presumably aligns with your higher value goals, then by definition you are going to have to do it at some point to achieve your personal goals (to keep your job or achieve the beneficial value in these examples).


The more you put it off, the harder it will be to tackle. Stop considering there is a good reason for delaying tactics, put aside the sources of distraction and get it done.

Then revel in the glory, smug self-satisfaction and tell your friends about it on Facebook.

Toby 

To the Good Single Dads From a Single Mom

You deserve some recognition and to know that you are amazing.


Nobody ever mentions the single dads.

And they are out there.


My kids have one.


They hardly mention the dads who became moms, or the dads who still sent their ex flowers from her little kids on mother’s day because they couldn’t yet -the dad who loves his kids more than he is bitter toward his ex.


We see post after post on social media about single moms having a hard life, harder than ours.


We read about how good of a job they are doing to teach their sons not to be like their deadbeat father, and how strong they are doing this all alone.


We see posts titled 10 reasons single mom’s rock, making points about how they are used to handling everything on their own, and how good they’ve gotten at juggling things with no time to themselves, all while they work two jobs to make ends meet.


My hat is off to them.


I respect you because as a “single mom” myself, I have not had to endure that. Which means my kids, who are the most important part of all of this, have not either.


It’s not easy as a single dad going to the park alone with your children, knowing everyone suspects you are there so that mommy can have some me time.


But what about the moms who are single but not alone because the man they left behind may have been an unexceptional husband, but is an exceptional father. For us, it feels weird to call ourselves “single moms” because we are technically single, but not single in the raising of our children.


We are lucky.


We may not say it enough, maybe some of us don’t recognize it from the bitterness and strain that comes from a divorce or a breakup, but we are lucky to end up with these kinds of men. As strange as it sounds, we are lucky these are the types of the men we started a family with, even though we won’t end as a family in the traditional sense.


What about the moms who got divorced or left not so perfect husbands, but amazing fathers? The moms who share joint custody, and only see their kids 50% of the time? It seems like we have it easy, and sometimes, in some instances, we do.

We know that.


We feel lucky, even though just as we are getting back into a routine with our kids, it’s time for them to go again. It makes us sad because they are being shuffled between houses, and we selfishly want to be there 24/7, but happy at the same time they have a relationship with their dad.


The relationship they should have, and deserve to have.


We are judged on how often they switch homes, but we ignore it because we know how important it is to keep a consistent relationship with their dad when he is a genuinely great person, and focused on making them the best they can possibly be, just as much as we are.

You single dads may feel stupid for treating your ex so well when so many men don’t. But you are not stupid. You are amazing. It’s hard, really hard. Men need to cut all ties when moving on from a relationship and you can’t do that when you are a parent.

At least not if you are a good one.


To the one’s that stay, I admire you, and I thank you for setting such an amazing example for your daughters, and especially your son’s. They are watching how you treat their mother.

You are so awesome that you feel guilty when there is tension between you and your ex, momentarily forgetting the agonizing tension in your house when you were together. You’re not realizing the chaos the boy in the house next door calls life, where the mom and dad are screaming out of frustration while her little boy whom she thinks is sleeping in the next room is listening because they think they have to stay for their kids. You feel guilty that you are not in their lives one hundred percent of the time, but you are in their lives 100% of the time you just don’t realize that yet. You don’t realize that some fathers who are physically there all of the time are hurting their children more than helping them.

You will realize one day how great of a job you are doing, and that just because you did not do a great job in your marriage, it says nothing about the way you parent. I promise you will realize how much what you are doing now, the way you act in front of your kids and make decisions based on them and not your feelings towards her affect them in a positive way and will trickle down into the rest of their lives shaping them into better people.


And I can’t wait to watch them grow into the wonderful men who treat their women with such respect, and beautiful daughters who have high standards and know what they are deserving of because of you.


It’s hard to remember this in the hard times. Even though you may have exchanged some hurtful words two days ago in a text message, you learn to let it go for them.

You learn to move on from the things she does that drive you absolutely mad and remind you why you could never be with her, but your kids would never know that because you treat her with nothing but respect when they are around.


That’s not easy. There is a reason you separated.


It’s not easy as a single dad going to the park alone with your children, knowing everyone suspects you are there so that mommy can have some me time. When in reality, after the fun is over you still have to bring them home, cook dinner, do potty time, and give baths, all while they are tugging at your leg to play Spiderman.


Eventually, you realize it isn’t worth being angry over, you aren’t together anymore. And that makes you sad your family is no longer together, but I hope you realize how happy you make your children when you drop them off and you say hi to their mom instead of avoiding eye contact and slamming the door.


I know it makes you sad every single time you watch her walk away with them after a long weekend, it makes you feel like you have been punched in the gut and feeling like you should be walking right beside them. But I hope you know how happy you make your children when they excitedly lose their first tooth, and you say “l will send mommy a picture.” It’s amazing they aren’t afraid to speak about their mom to you when so many other little kids with divorced parents are afraid.


You can never know what that possibly means to them -knowing that you are a still a team, that you still love them together even though you are not together.


You deserve some recognition and to know that you are amazing.


I wish all fathers were like you. You make us better mothers, and you are molding your kids into the kind of people we need most in this world right now.


Source: https://goodmenproject.com/families/to-the-good-single-dads-from-a-single-mom-bbab/

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Finding your One Reason - Dealing with times of trauma and upset





Following on from the tragic terrorist bombing in Manchester this week, this video considers how finding the one-thing that motivates or underpins your actions can help you when going through times of trauma, difficulty or upset.


10 Harsh Lessons That Will Make You More Successful

Everyone fails in life, and failure can be a crushing experience. The only thing that separates successful people from the rest is how they respond after they fail.
When facing obstacles, you have to decide if you’re going to let them be the excuse for your failure or if you’re going to make them the story behind your success.




“There is no failure. Only feedback.” -Robert Allen


When you adopt the right attitude, failure is a great teacher. Failure interrupts your routine and gives you an opportunity to explore new solutions, but only if you have the right attitude.


Psychologist Albert Bandura conducted a study that showed just how great a role our attitudes play in the face of failure. In the study, two groups of people were asked to complete an identical management task. The first group was told that the purpose of the task was to measure their management abilities. The other group was told that the skills required to complete the task were improvable and that the task was merely an opportunity to practice and improve. The trick was that the researchers made the task so difficult that all participants were bound to fail, and fail they did. The first group—feeling like failures because their skills weren’t up to snuff—made little or no improvement when they were given opportunities to repeat the task. The second group, however, saw each failure as a learning opportunity, and they performed at progressively higher levels each time they attempted the task. The second group even rated themselves as more confident than the first group.

Just like the participants in Bandura’s study, we can either view our failures as reflections of our abilities or as opportunities for growth. The next time you catch yourself wallowing in the self-pity that often accompanies failure, focus on what you can control: your attitude.


Some of the best lessons in life are also the toughest to accept and to adopt the right attitude toward. These are the lessons that challenge your flexibility and willingness to learn. When we don’t embrace them soon enough, the lessons we learn turn out to be harsh ones.

1. The first step is always the hardest. When you want to achieve something important, that first step is inevitably going to be daunting, even frightening. When you dare to make that first move, anxiety and fear dissipate in the name of action. People that dive headfirst into taking that brutal first step aren’t any stronger than the rest of us; they’ve simply learned that it yields great results. They know that the pain of getting started is inevitable and that procrastination only prolongs their suffering.

2. Good things take time. Success, above all, requires time and effort. Author Malcolm Gladwell suggested that mastery of anything requires 10,000 hours of tireless focus. Many successful people would agree. Consider Henry Ford, whose first two automobile businesses failed before he started Ford at the age of 45, or author Harry Bernstein, who dedicated his entire life to writing before he finally landed a best-seller at the age of 96. When you finally do succeed, you realize that the journey was the best part of it.


3. Being busy does not equal being productive. Look at everyone around you. They all seem so busy, running from meeting to meeting and firing off e-mails. Yet how many of them are really producing, really succeeding at a high level? Success doesn’t come from movement and activity; it comes from focus—from ensuring that your time is used efficiently and productively. You get the same number of hours in the day as everyone else, so use yours wisely. After all, you’re the product of your output not your effort. Make certain your efforts are dedicated to tasks that get results.


4. You will always have less control than you want. There are too many extenuating circumstances in life to control every outcome. You can, however, control how you react to things that are out of your control. Your reaction is what transforms a mistake into a learning experience and ensures that a victory doesn’t send your ego through the roof. You can’t win every battle, but with the right attitude, you can win the war.


5. You’re only as good as those you associate with. You should strive to surround yourself with people who inspire you, people who make you want to be better. And you probably do. But what about the people who drag you down? Why do you allow them to be part of your life? Anyone who makes you feel worthless, anxious, or uninspired is wasting your time and, quite possibly, making you more like them. Life is too short to associate with people like this. Cut them loose.


6. Your biggest problems are mental. Almost all our problems occur because we time travel: we go to the past and regret things we’ve done, or we go to the future and feel anxious about events that haven’t even happened. It’s all too easy to slip into the past or jet into the future. When you do, you lose sight of the one thing that you can actually control—the present.


7. Your self-worth must come from within. When your sense of pleasure and satisfaction are derived from comparing yourself with others, you are no longer the master of your own destiny. When you feel good about something that you’ve done, don’t allow anyone’s opinions or accomplishments to take that away from you. While it’s impossible to turn off your reactions to what others think of you, you don’t have to compare yourself with others and you can always take people’s opinions with a grain of salt. That way, no matter what other people are thinking or doing, your self-worth comes from within. Regardless of what people think of you at any particular moment, one thing is certain—you’re never as good or bad as they say you are.

8. Not everyone will support you. In fact, most people won’t. Some people will inundate you with negativity, passive aggression, anger, or jealousy, but none of this matters, because, as Dr. Seuss said, “Those that matter don’t mind, and those that mind don’t matter.” We can’t possibly get support from everyone, and we definitely can’t spend our time and energy trying to win over the people who don’t support us. Letting go of the opinions of people who don’t matter frees up time and energy for the people and things that do.


9. Perfection doesn’t exist. Don’t seek perfection as your target. It doesn’t exist. Human beings, by our very nature, are fallible. When perfection is your goal, you’re always left with a nagging sense of failure that makes you want to give up or reduce your effort. You end up spending your time lamenting what you failed to accomplish and what you should have done differently, instead of moving forward, excited about what you’ve achieved and what you’ll accomplish in the future.


10. Fear is the number one source of regret. When all is said and done, you will lament the chances you didn’t take far more than you will your failures. Don’t be afraid to take risks. I often hear people say, “What’s the worst thing that can happen to you? Will it kill you?” Yet, death isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you—the worst thing that can happen to you is allowing yourself to die inside while you’re still alive.



Bringing It All Together

Successful people never stop learning. They learn from their mistakes and they learn from their triumphs, and they’re always changing themselves for the better.

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-travis-bradberry/10-harsh-lessons-that-wil_b_14422346.html?utm_hp_ref=emotional-wellness

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

6 Ways to Overcome a Soul-Crushing Life Challenge

It was never in your life plan, certainly never predicted in your high school yearbook.
And yet, here you are. You’ve gone through a soul-sucking life experience and are suffering from the collateral consequences. Uncertainty, fear and disbelief rule the day. You keep waiting to wake up and find out this was all a bad dream.




The problem is that wishing, wanting and waiting don’t help. Whether you’re still in the midst of the storm or idling in the aftermath, the truth is that you have to reach down and make the decision that although you may have had no control over what happened to you, you do have control over how you respond and move forward. These six tips will help start you on that journey:



1. Don’t Compare Your Blooper Reel to Other’s Highlight Reel

At times it may seem like the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. Social media exacerbates this perception because people tend to show only their green patch of lawn and not their backyard full of weeds!

Wouldn’t it be refreshing to see someone’s perfect vacation pictures captioned: “Don’t know how we’re really going to pay for this; We’re up to our ears in debt! The kids got carsick and puked in the rental car, and Jack and I haven’t had sex for weeks! Wish you were here!”

The grass isn’t always greener. Everyone has something in life they wish they could undo, redo or erase. They just don’t post it on Facebook.

2. Realize That Sometimes You Have No Control Over What Happens to You

Like the saying goes, life is what happens to you when you are making other plans. I truly believe that things happen for you rather than to you to nudge you into growth. When something unexpected happens, ask yourself “What’s the lesson here?”


3. Surrender to Your Situation

Surrendering doesn’t mean giving in; it simply means you stop fighting the fact that the situation happened. Accept the fact that it occurred, that it sucks, and that yes, it probably was unfair and undeserved.

When you continually try to fight against a situation, it’s like trying to swim against a rip current. You can fight it and end up exhausted and pulled out to sea, or you can accept that it is done, swim parallel to it and overcome it. You cannot change what has already occurred but you can change how you respond to it. This is the tipping point to taking your power back.



4. Understand That Your Coping Mechanisms May Be Holding You Hostage

It is natural to feel disbelief, anger and sadness, and to want to blame others for what you are going through. These coping mechanisms are designed to help you deal with the situation at hand. They are also a defense mechanism, a way to push back on the reality of the situation.

The problem is, when you get stuck defending, denying, and blaming, you form an endless loop of negative thoughts that won’t stop spinning in your head. The part of your brain that is controlling the loop is your ego. When you learn to harness your ego, you can transform the way you think and move past these self-destructive thoughts.



5. Harness Your Ego

Your ego is part of your consciousness, and it competes with your higher self, or spirit, for control of your thoughts. Your ego is fear-based and your higher self is love-based. The two cannot coexist because the higher self simply does not recognize fear. Think of the ego as the darkness and the higher self as the light switch; once the light goes on darkness cannot exist.

The ego thrives on fear and separation in order to control your thoughts. It causes you to think you need to be better because you’re not good enough or are lacking in some way. The egoic brain creates this fear of inferiority and you react by putting others down as a way to raise your sense of self-worth up.


You can recognize your ego at work when you are critical or judgmental of others, when you take on the role of victim, or when you blame others rather than looking inward. When you feel self-important, when you feel the need to be right, and when anger, jealousy, and self-importance take center stage, that’s your ego, and it isn’t helping you. It creates a false sense of self.


Once you are aware that your ego is talking, you have begun the process of winning the mind chatter war in your head. Your awareness helps you realize that you no longer have to react to the fear it is creating. Your thoughts are not you but are of the ego. Remember that your ego and your higher self cannot co-exist; When you recognize the ego it has to take a back seat to your higher self. You then can move above these thoughts and shift your perspective from negative thoughts to ones that serve you positively.



6. Create Calm and Gratitude

The ego loves for you to focus on your past, on what you lost. What if you shift the way you look at your situation and focus on what you gained as a result?

What did you learn as a result of the trial? Are you more compassionate, less judgmental? Is your house calmer or cleaner? Did you start taking better c
are of yourself emotionally or physically? Are you finally putting yourself first?

Focusing on what you are grateful for instead of what you lost is a mindset that creates a calmer, happier you. And that is something to be grateful for!

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mary-holloway/6-ways-to-overcome-a-soul-crushing-life-challenge_b_7157082.html

Monday, 22 May 2017

Why I’m Proud To Be Divorced

Whether it’s meeting new people, spending time with extended family during the holidays, or just having a conversation with my hairdresser, I usually mention my first marriage and subsequent divorce 11 years ago at one point or another.


Why?


Well, I’m not ashamed of it, that’s why. And it just happened to be one of the greatest lessons of my life.


I wear my mistakes like badges. I write about them fervently because time is of the essence. I’m only here on this earth for a limited time and the experiences I’ve lived through have a right to be passed on.


There’s almost always a lesson that I’m learning, even 11 years after my divorce, that’s relevant or useful to other people who I come across in my travels.


It’s not that I can’t let go of the relationship itself - because I have - and I’m actually joyful that the marriage ended after many difficult years. It’s what I took away from the experience that I can’t help but bring up time and time again.


Even today, I am absorbing the total effect that the experience of “failing” at marriage had on me. And on the surface, I did fail — miserably. But it wasn’t for a lack of trying. I gave that relationship my heart and soul and — ultimately — my peace of mind.


I was married at 24 and divorced by 27. Add three years of living together prior to marriage and that’s six years of slugging away at a relationship that was plainly doomed from the start. But I’m not going to hide in the shadows of divorce shame.


I’ve blogged about the experiences of my first marriage, including domestic abuse and drug addiction. At the end of the day, the lessons I learned about myself, the depth of my strength, and my vulnerabilities are absolutely priceless.


I’m proud and excited to talk to other people — especially younger women — about what happened in my first marriage and how I dealt with life after the divorce. Knowing that my prior naivety and suffering can be an “aha moment” for someone who may be in a relationship that’s not working — or even an abusive relationship — is 100% totally and completely worth it.


I often say that I don’t subscribe to regret. What I mean by that is that even though there are things that happened to me or mistakes I made that I’d rather forget, I can’t repress them. Those memories will come back around no matter what, so why not be proactive and turn those difficult experiences into a valuable life lesson that someone else can gain knowledge from?


I’ve said that I love my mistakes. I adore them as if they are my children. But they make me angry sometimes. They remind me of unfortunate choices I made and heartache that once tore me apart. But I’m still going to carry them with me, caring for them and nurturing them until that misery becomes a smile either for myself or someone else.


Everything I am today I owe to my younger, brasher, uninformed, hopeful, kind, and impulsive self. She made me who I am today, sitting here writing about it. She existed and her mistakes existed. I’m not going to erase everything she was just because divorce is — to most people — a failure.


I can say that the younger version of myself tried her hand at love, gave it her all, loved unconditionally, and when all was said and done, she broke through as substantially a stronger mold than she was before.


In my second marriage today, I’m going through experiences that I’ll be able to draw upon several years from now. It’s not so much that hindsight is 20/20 but it’s more like hindsight gives more meaning to past experiences that seemed to be senseless or confusing at the time. Sometimes the painful lessons we learn in the past end up being valuable tools for the future.


Horrible mistakes and experiences are definitely regrettable but that doesn’t mean you have to live a life of regret on a daily basis. Own those mistakes. Make them work for you now.
It’s time.