STARTING OVER AGAIN
Divide your problems into two piles
A Series of Articles on Adjusting to Divorce
copyright 1996 By Harlan Jacobsen
WE HAVE DISCUSSED FINDING NEW HAPPINESS AS A SINGLE PERSON
Most of us are looking to shape up the world on the outside a certain way, concluding that then we will be happy. The wise person is the one who goes through a divorce and as a result finds out that happiness is mostly getting your internal "you" in order.
HAVE A DAILY MENTAL HOUSECLEANING
Your new internal mental happiness-house needs daily house cleaning. Clean out unwanted negative thoughts that have pain (stereo) associated with them. Planting new happiness goals is like a farmer planting a seed; my goal during the next six months should be to become a happy single person. To make sure it is well planted, repeat it over and over to yourself. Nothing will become of it if the farmer allows weeds to choke it out.
WEED OUT NOXIOUS THOUGHT WEEDS
Thought weeds, if allowed to, will grow in your mind and choke out your happiness goals. Learn to weed out these thoughts.
IRRIGATE THE NEW HAPPINESS GOALS YOU HAVE PLANTED
Take some immediate action to accomplish your happiness goal. Be sure you have your goal written down. Look at it several times a day and each time consider what steps you can take on your happiness journey right now.
LIKE A SEEDLING PLANT, NOTHING BIG HAPPENS RIGHT AWAY
Initially, only a sprout, but once it starts growing, if you weed and water regularly, you will be amazed by how it just seems to grow automatically.
IF YOUR LIFE STINKS IT IS BECAUSE YOU ARE STILL HOLDING ON TO GARBAGE
Everybody has garbage in their life. Most people probably have more than you. The happy people are those that recognize garbage and get rid of it. Those that canít sort out and get rid of the garbage are unhappy people.
THERE IS A LOT OF MENTAL THOUGHT GARBAGE IN THE DIVORCE PROCESS
How long it takes you to throw it out of your mind and replace it with fresh new stuff is pretty much how long it is going to take to get over your divorce.
IF YOU HAVE A LOT OF TERRIFIC NEW THINGS HAPPENING, YOU WONíT HAVE MUCH ROOM TO HORDE GARBAGE
Getting new things going in your life helps get rid of the garbage. If you like stirring it up and not letting go of old stuff you are still hung up in divorce garbage. Mental garbage spoils anything good or new you throw in because the garbage overwhelms it.
HAPPINESS IS SOMETHING LACKING FOR MOST NEWLY SINGLED
Many think, Boy, when I get rid of this Ďno goodí spouse of mine, then Iíll be happy. Yet when we get divorced we are still unhappy and become disillusioned because now, we thought, with all this freedom we would naturally be happy at last, but instead happiness has eluded us again.
UNHAPPINESS AND HAPPINESS ARE OFTEN DEPENDENT UPON WHAT WAS
If you always had steak and your divorce has reduced your standard of living to hamburger, then you are unhappy. If you never could afford meat in the first place and now you can afford hamburger, under that condition the same hamburger makes you happy. So if you have a come-down from what you are used to (and you always have some come-down in a divorce) then you are unhappy. You are unhappy and grieving for what once was. Eventually you get used to what is, and when you start to get things better and better again, you are happy. When you start getting what you havenít had, then you are happier.
DIVORCE USUALLY MEANS LOWERING YOUR STANDARD OF LIVING, AND HAPPINESS LOWERS WITH IT
Often the family income wasnít quite making it and contributed to the marital stress and break-up. Making that income stretch now to cover 2 households means either lowering your standard of living or financial disaster or both. Unfortunately, some resist lowering their standard of living so long that financial disaster strikes. Why should I have to lower my standard of living now, it took me all those years to get where I am.
WHEN DIVORCE HAPPENS, MOST USUALLY HAVE ONLY TWO BASIC CHOICES
1. Lower your standard of living OR 2. Increase your income OR 3. Some combination of both.
BOTH PARTIES IN A DIVORCE WILL BLAME AND BE ANGRY WITH THE OTHER FOR PUTTING THEM IN THIS POSITION
Money and the threat of financial harm are major weapons in the divorcing hassle. If one wants to rile the other, money and what they are going to do about it are sure-fire reaction-getters.
INCREASING THE INCOME IS ONE WAY OUT OF THE MESS
To increase income usually means one of the following: 1. Working longer hours OR 2. Changing to a better-paying job OR 3. Taking an additional job OR 4. Gaining specialized knowledge that pays more. If you need additional income and learn how to tune pianos part time, that is an example of gaining specialized knowledge.
GOING BACK TO SCHOOL IS A GOOD EGO PATCH FOR THE NEWLY DIVORCED THAT WE RECOMMEND
Going back to school does many things for you all at the same time. First, it gives you more potential income and it lets you know your life will be getting better, that you are getting somewhere, that you are accomplishing something worthwhile. Also, it gives you a new goal, something you are working towards, where until now you may have been bouncing off walls with no goals in mind. Competing successfully in school again can give you back a lot of self-esteem you may have lost. Lastly, it gives you contact with new people and exposure to possible new directions and options for your new life.
Loosing what you had, money, security, sex, companionship, etc. is a come-down and no longer having any of these things can make you become unhappy. As you will discover, it is great to find you can regain these all on your own. It is the ultimate happiness expander as you eventually put what you lost back in your life even bigger and better.
DEFINITION OF A "PROBLEM", UNHAPPINESS, FOR A NEWLY SINGLED PERSON
A problem that causes unhappiness is having something you do not want - or -wanting something you do not have. When you become overwhelmed by more of these "problems" than your emotional computer can handle, you become depressed.
Trying to fulfill wants, trying to get rid of what you have that you donít want and having more big decisions to make at this crisis period all add up to a computer overload.
DEAL ME OUT, IíM JUST TOO DEPRESSED TO FUNCTION
One of the things you donít want is anger over your divorce and your ex and getting rid of that anger was impossible, so you turned it inward since you were unable to get rid of it. So that anger now affects your depression.
DIVORCE PROBLEMS ALL LUMPED TOGETHER CAN BE OVERWHELMING
Take these problems and sort out which ones you can remedy and which ones you cannot change. Take them one at a time, beginning with the most crucial. Those which you canít do anything about, let fate handle and use your efforts and energy only on those you can affect.
You now have two piles of problems, those you can do something about and those you cannot. Take the pile that you can do something about and sort them into 2 sub-piles. Those of having something I donít want, and those of wanting something I donít have. Pick one of each that cannot be worked on as well as any other day as today, and work only on those today.
WORK ON ONLY THE TOP TWO PROBLEMS EVERY DAY
Forget the rest. Many will solve themselves with time. The rest will become the top two on another day.
WHAT ARE YOUR OPTIONS WITH THESE DIVORCE PROBLEMS?
Every problem has alternatives or options for dealing with problems.
BECOME ACTIVE IN DOING SOMETHING, ANYTHING TO PROGRESS ON THESE PROBLEMS
Activity changes the category of the problems, from "nothing will change" to "everything is getting better and better."