The first adventure we will be taking on our road to self-discovery is the concept of becoming “SELF AWARE”. Self-awareness is the first step to any self-help program. I mean, if you don’t know what you feel, know what you believe, what you desire and what you dream, how can you change? How can you grow? And most importantly, how can you be happy? Notice how I wrote the word YOU. Becoming self-aware means that you are able to differentiate what YOU feel, from what others want you to feel; what you believe from what you have been programmed to believe. It is becoming aware of your judgments and deciding that you really agree with that judgment and it fits with your true morals, ethics and values! In a nutshell…it is experiencing, discovering and living your own belief system! Now isn’t that a glorious new world to discover?
It seems this week that the biggest issue that my clients are dealing with is balance. Maybe its the time of year? Kids graduating, families coming to town, getting ready for summer, weddings around the corner. What I am finding is that my clients are forgetting to look out for their health and their own sanity. It is remote control time! Yet, I will tell you that when you are in a stressful time of your life, remote control is the worst way to deal with it! You become outer focused versus inner focused. It sounds corny, but the first thing you need to do is stop and breath! Go in a room by yourself for 5 minutes and just breath. You will immediately take yourself out of stress mode and be able to think clearly. You will find clarity of thought and a beautiful word called simplicity! Even if it’s for just one moment, do it! Balance. 🙂 Sometimes we all feel like we are stuck at the top of a precipice, with no way down. Just take a few breaths and you will ground yourself once again.
When people think of divorce, the big conversation seems to stem around money. How much, and who’s getting it? But eventually the issues that walk into my therapy office are the ones that dig deep into the soul. “How did this happen? Could I have changed it?” Or maybe, “Should I have left earlier? Why didn’t I see the red flags before we got married?” I have a firm belief that if you don’t dig into all of the emotions, questions and personal responsibility in the divorce, then you will repeat your issues in your next relationship. But more importantly, if you don’t acknowledge all of the emotions surrounding this massive change in your life it will affect you, mind body and soul!
Divorce represents many things in your psyche that need to be addressed in order to heal and be happy. You need to look at how your expectations of your future have just changed. It’s as if we write a script for our life and then halfway through shooting it, the script changes. Now what? Another huge piece that I help my clients work through is the fact that their identity changes after divorce. “I am no longer so and so’s wife, or husband. I am no longer part of a married, seemingly stable family. What the heck does it mean to my feelings of safety and identity to call myself SINGLE? Who am I now? How do I relate to people now? How do they see me? How do I see myself?”
The biggest piece of the Individual Therapy, or the Divorce Groups that I lead; help divorcees take back their control! Instead of reeling at the affect of the divorce, I help my clients find the control in their lives again. Their joy returns when I help them write that new script to their future! Divorce is a major change in someone’s life. But it’s how they deal with their healing in the aftermath that will help them create a new, amazing future.
Written by Shauna Hoffman, MA, MFT
DIVORCE, THE AFTERMATH
Appeared in the June Issue of Santa Clarita Magazine.