5 Lessons I Learned Since the End of My Marriage

 

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image by Eric Magnuson

Your intellect may be confused, but your emotions will never lie to you.

– Roger Ebert

 

My husband and I decided to get a divorce over a year ago now, and have been separated since then. It’s not a secret, but I haven’t spoken about it here on Kaizen Journaling until now, because I think it’s important to take the time to process your emotions when it comes to major changes in life. It is important to hold off saying things, until you are certain of what you want to say, because words spoken can’t be taken back.

I take the institution of marriage very seriously, and to be fair, so did my husband. Therefore accepting that we needed to end things was not an easy thing for either of us. For me, personally, it also felt like a huge failure, because I’d agreed to do something for life, and I was breaking that commitment. For someone who takes commitments and responsibilities seriously, it’s a big deal.

It’s been over a year, and only now, I’m beginning to get a clear perspective.

It was not because I wanted to stay married. I didn’t. Splitting up was the right thing to do for us.

It was not because we were vicious to each other. We weren’t. We parted more amicably than most couples.

But it was still difficult to get instant perspective, because you don’t realise, until you’ve given yourself time and emotional freedom, just how much you feel and how much you’ve kept inside you.

It is a sad thing when a relationship you’ve dedicated years to, ends – whether it’s a divorce, or a break-up. No doubt, most of you, have experienced a break-up at one point or another. As my life is about Kaizen Living, about continuous improvement, and continuous learning, I want to share the things I’ve learned/realised so far (through personal experience, as opposed to theory or logic) because my marriage ended.

 

5 Lessons I Learned Since the End of My Marriage

 

1. Don’t get over-exuberant about the initial relief

When we decided to get a divorce, people were surprised that neither of us seemed very upset. It wasn’t because we didn’t care, but rather because we had spent so much time being unhappy together that finally having made the decision to get a divorce, we had come out on the other side of misery.

At the time, it was just a relief to have finally decided, instead of remaining trapped in the perpetuity of “let’s try some more” and basically doing what Einstein advised against:

Insanity: doing the same things over and over again, and expecting different results.

We’d made the decision. It was a huge relief.

A lot of people feel that. However, a mistake many people make is to believe that it is the final feeling. I thought that too. I was wrong.

Relief is merely the first feeling. It’s similar to feeling relieved when you finally get to the top of the mountain, because the hard work is done. That’s because you haven’t started thinking about going down the mountain yet through a different, unknown route.

 

2. Be prepared to face unexpected emotions and deal with them

It will be different in every case, of course, and dependent on the circumstances of your divorce or break-up. But it is inevitable that once the initial relief is over, and you spend some time alone, you will face an array of emotions. Generally, these emotions fall into three categories: Resentment, Guilt and Regrets.

Accept your emotions. You don’t need to justify them.

This is where journaling becomes a life saver. Write down how you feel, and be honest. If you think your ex was horrible to you, write just that. If you think you did something wrong, admit that to yourself. You don’t have to discuss it with your ex. In fact, it’s better if you don’t, because discussions about break-up with the person you break-up with, is almost always going to end in tears.

But get your feelings out in your journal, or talk to a friend you trust.

WARNING: Do not talk to a mutual friend. That would either put your friend in the uncomfortable middle zone (if they are a nice person), or give them gossip/stirring power (if they are not a nice person). Stick with friends or family who are unreservedly on your side, whether or not they like your ex.

I was fortunate that I got to spend the last seven months visiting my family and friends in India and the US. Find your shelter. You don’t need to go to another country (though it helps to get away for a bit), but don’t feel guilty about the escape. It’s good to have that time, where you feel loved and protected, so that you are in a stronger emotional position, and able to handle your feelings better.

I spent so much time dealing with things on my own before we agreed to get a divorce, keeping it secret from my family because I didn’t want them to worry, that it was a relief just to have it out in the open, and just be present with the people who love me unconditionally and want what’s best for me.

 

3. Don’t End Things in Bitterness. Just Let Go.

It is very easy to be bitter and resentful, because your brain easily recalls bad memories. It’s difficult to focus on the good, when the bad is more recent in your mind. But there is no point in dwelling on it.

Why end a relationship, that you committed to for years of your life, in complete bitterness?

Why end up hating the person that you once loved?

Why wish them ill when you tried to make them happy for years?

There is no point.

If things don’t work out, regardless of whose fault it was, just let go. You will be angry, sad, resentful and bitter. Process your emotions when they happen, vent in your journal or to a best friend, then let go.

Try to control what comes out of your mouth when you talk to your ex. Try not to say things that can never be forgotten.

The relationship is over. Why make it worse by adding hate to it?

If you can be friendly with your ex, great. If you can’t be friendly, then that’s okay. You don’t have to feel guilty about that. Just wish them well – even if it’s only because you loved them once – and get on with the rest of your life.

 

4. Learn From Your Mistakes

Your relationship may have ended because of one specific reason, or for multiple reasons. It may have been your fault, his fault, or both of your faults. It is now irrelevant.

What the other person did or didn’t do, no longer matters.

You need to focus on you, and how you can be a better partner in the future.

Think about the mistakes you made, and how not to repeat them. Because we all make mistakes. Even nice things, taken too far, can become mistakes. Like sheltering a spouse’s faults, when you should have given them a kick in the behind.

Focus on being more self-aware, know what you want, know what compromises are acceptable to you, and what compromises would cost you your happiness.

Focus on being a better person, because when you focus on being the best you can be, you will inevitably become a better partner in any future relationship.

 

5. Be Single for a While

Seriously! Take your time. I’ve technically been single for over a year now. But until last month, I didn’t really have an opportunity to be alone as I was visiting my family and friends. I was loved and cherished – which was very heart-warming – but it didn’t leave me much time to feel single.

Now, I’m back in the UK, settling into a new city, and now I feel single.

What does it mean?

It means, enjoy the space and the time to focus on yourself for a while. Get perspective so you know what you actually want in a future partner, or a future relationship. Don’t just go blundering into a rebound relationship with someone who happens to be an opposite of your ex. Get clarity about your priorities, so that you don’t end up compromising the things that are essential to you, because of someone else.

I moved to London, because this is where I’ve always wanted to live, even though I’ve never actually lived here before. It wasn’t the place my ex wanted to live in. I have been a Londoner for about a month now, and I know that I was right all along. This is where I belong. I love this city. I love being here.

Even before I had a permanent place to live (I’d a temporary room for a week in a really crappy area of London), or made any local friends, and though I was still living out of a suitcase because all my stuff was in storage, I loved being in London. I will not move away from here for any relationship, because this is home. That’s establishing priorities, and getting clarity on what’s important to you.

When you are in a relationship, you need to focus on the other person too. Relationships require compromises. You hope that those compromises will be worth it for the love and the companionship you receive, but when you are single, that’s the time to enjoy not having to compromise.

I want to stay single for a while, so that I can be sure that when I meet someone special, I am in the right place in my life, and that I can be with someone whose values and lifestyle matches my own so that neither of us have to compromise who we are.

 

Finally,

Remember, happy individuals make a happy world. That means, happy individuals make happy partners. Two happy individuals have a better chance of creating a successful relationship than one happy person and one miserable person. Focus on finding your self-reliant happiness. It isn’t someone else’s job to make you happy. It is your job. Find your happiness, take responsibility for the person you want to be, for the life you want to lead, and then when you meet someone who is also doing that for himself, you will have better odds for creating a happier relationship.

 

 

 

 

Take Control of Your Daily Happiness and Simple Pleasures

 

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How much power do you give to other people over your happiness? How much power do you give to other people to determine how many simple pleasures in life you get to enjoy?

If you are like most people, plenty of power – and you probably don’t even realise it. When you love someone, no matter what the relationship, you automatically tie your happiness to theirs. This is particularly true in romantic relationships. There is an expectation that it is this person’s job to make you happy, to think of the little things. Perhaps it is – but that is something they need to think about. Your job is to think about how you can brighten the day of someone you love, and your own.

Buy yourself flowers if no one buys them for you. Get whatever little things that make you happy, instead of waiting for others to get them for you. Go for a walk, or soak your feet in the sea, or get a massage – enjoy the simple pleasures that you want to enjoy. Never mind that the people in your life don’t deliver them to you, or don’t want to participate.

You are more than the sum of your relationships. Relationships are important. People are important. But so are you – just as an individual. Every day you spend waiting is a day lost forever.

So don’t wait. Go do things. Go live. Go enjoy the little things.

Don’t let other people be in-charge of creating your Kaizen Life.

Celebrate your aloneness – whether you are single or not. Celebrate the power you have to treat yourself. Celebrate the power you have to offer yourself life’s little pleasures.

ACTION YOU CAN TAKE TODAY

Decide on one little thing – a simple pleasure – that you want to enjoy. Go do it. By yourself, and just for you. Savour it.

 

If You Think Other People’s Life Is Better Than Yours…

 

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Everyone has problems. Look at Keira Knightly, who is gorgeous, rich, and successful at such a young age and yet has major self-confidence issues. Her problems are no less real to her than yours are to you. J. K. Rowling, successful now, but still has control issues.

President Obama has the power over a nation, but his actions are watched by the entire world, and if he screws up one tiny bit, the whole world proclaims him a failure. Imagine that. He is a human, just like you and me. We are allowed to fail, in the privacy of our homes, with no one, or at least only a few people being the wiser. He fails, and everyone knows, and it goes down in history.  

I use the above people as examples, because nearly everyone knows them. However, they are a mere representation. Everyone you know, no matter how seemingly successful, has their own problems that you know nothing about. Whether their problems are psychological or tangible, their problems are very real to them.

While  you are sitting there, envying the guy who gets paid five times more than you, he is probably envying you for being able to go home at five o’clock, and not have a care about what happens to the company until 9 am the next morning. 

While you are feeling jealous of the super hot, skinny super model, she is probably eyeing the Big Mac or the chocolate bar you are waffling down as you browse the internet. 

While you are aching to have a child, the woman attempting to manage two children probably desires, for a fleeting moment at least, the freedom of her pre-motherhood days. 

The point of all of the above examples is simple: we all want everything, and we all want what we don’t have.

Therefore, envying others is completely unproductive. When you envy someone, when you think someone else has a better life than you, you are only looking at what they have that you don’t have. You never get to see what they don’t have. 

Their life is not better than yours. It is different than yours. Because they are different than you. They were offered, and made different choices along the way. 

If you like something they have, think about what it is that you truly value. Dig deeper. Is it really their money that you value, or the freedom it brings? Is it really her gorgeous husband you want, or to feel wanted by the man in your life? Is it really the housewife lifestyle you want, or just more time to spend with your children?

Your opinions or judgements about other people are rarely about those people. They are usually a reflection of your own beliefs and attitude. So when you find yourself thinking that so-and-so has a better life than you, stop. Pause. Reflect. 

What is really missing from your life?

What are you really craving? Is it love, attention, freedom, companionship? 

What is it that you need, that you are attempting to seek through envying others? 

Focus on yourself. If you can’t find the answer, try journaling for self-awareness

 

ACTION YOU CAN TAKE TODAY:

Make a list of all the people you think have better life than you, and then write down why you think they have a better life. Once you have done that, focus on the issues behind the things you envy. 

What is it that you are currently lacking in your life? If you have it, how would that improve your life? 

 

5 Ways to Know You Are Spending Time With the Right People

 

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image by tvtropes.org

 

The people you spend most of your  time with are the most important people in your life. Think about it. It may not be your family, or your best friend, or even people you like.

Who do you spend most of your time with?

These are the people whose thoughts are influencing you. Their attitude and beliefs affects you. The things you talk about, or even argue about, occupy precious space in your thoughts. Are these the kind of thoughts you want to be focused on? Are these beliefs in accordance with your beliefs?

Spending your time with the right people is an essential ingredient to leading a happy and successful life. Look at any successful person – in any area – and you will find that the  company they keep is the right company.

So, how do you know if you are spending time with the right people?

 

5 Ways to Know You Are Spending Time With the Right People

 

1. You spend more time talking about the positives than negatives

The right people are the people who are focusing on what they want, rather than what they don’t want. They are busy looking at the up-side of things. It doesn’t mean they have no grasp of reality. It just means that they choose to be positive. Pay attention to the conversations you are having.

Are you spending most of your time complaining about things or people? Or listening to others complain? Or are you spending your time saying and listening to positive, constructive things?

Do your conversations revolve around the good things that are happening in the world, the good things about people you know, or do they sound an echo of most news reports, reflecting on the doom and gloom?

2. They are always trying to do better, get better, and inspire you to do the same

The right people are not just sitting on their hands, waiting for things to happen. They are trying to make them happen. They are not expecting other people, or companies, or the government to deliver their dreams to them. They are working for it, creating their own opportunities, and finding motivation from within.

3. They are enthusiastic and passionate about what matters to them

The right people know the power of passion and enthusiasm. They themselves at things with rigour. They spread cheer and can-do attitude around them. They make you feel like being available is a gift enough, and you can do anything you want.

4. They value integrity in themselves, and in others

The right people may be ambitious, but they are not dishonest. They don’t believe that the end justifies the means. They want do the right things, the right way. They are not up for backstabbing people, nor looking to cheat and lie their way to success. Integrity is essential to them, in both themselves and in others.

5. They encourage or even inspire you to be the best you can be

The right people are not insecure about your success. They encourage you to do your best, and to be your best. Because they know that there is plenty of room for everyone. They push you to pursue your dreams. They never advocate mediocrity. They know that every moment wasted is an opportunity gone. 

ACTION YOU CAN TAKE TODAY:

For one week, journal about the people you are spending most of your time with. Pay attention to the conversations you have with them. Do these people match up to the five points mentioned above? If they do, great. If they don’t, then you’ve got some work ahead of you, bringing the right people into your daily life.

 

 

1 Reason You Should Pause Before Judging People: You’ve No Clue

 

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When it comes to human interactions (yes online counts too, because we are still real people behind the keyboard), there is one thing you can be absolutely certain of: that you have no idea, or not a complete idea of what is going on in the other person’s life.

It doesn’t matter how much you talk to people, it doesn’t matter how close you think you are, there still may be things going on in their life (even if it’s just in their head) that you have no clue of. That means, you don’t know what their priorities are, you don’t know what problems they are trying to solve, and that means you should not judge them merely based on what you see.

We all do this, to some extent or another, because our world view is about us. I’m not saying you are selfish. In fact, it’s a perfectly logical assumption.

Have you ever played or seen those first-person role playing games? What do you see? Only what the character can see.

What happens in books written in first person? You can only see, hear, and feel what the character feels. You get to know the world through that character’s opinions and prejudices.

Each of us are the main character in our very own first person role playing game. You see the world through your very unique eyes, and your perception of the world is filtered based on everything that you believe and experience. 

For example, last week, I returned to the UK after 7 months abroad, I found a temporary place to live for one week, and during this week, looked at more permanent places to live, found one, and I am moving there today. Of course this is just one aspect. I’m now in a new city, settling down, and there are a million things that need to be done. And yet someone across the world may be wondering, why the hell didn’t Dolly reply to my email. I sent it two days ago. Well, excuse me, but I was busy fulfilling the basic needs on Maslow’s Hierarchy, like looking for shelter.

This is not even the extreme example. You have no idea if someone’s family member is severely ill, or if their teenager’s getting into trouble. You don’t know if they are suffering from depression, if their relationships are falling apart, or if they have low self-esteem.

Not everyone shares their problems with anyone who would listen. And they don’t need to.

But what you should do is think about that for a moment. Because you would sure appreciate it when someone else pauses before judging you. Haven’t you been frustrated when your boss or colleagues have been on your back, and you were having a rough time at home? Haven’t you been frustrated when your partner keeps nagging you about getting home on time, but you know you need to do more at work to get the promotion you want?

There are so many things going on in people’s life, that you really can’t have a clue.

So next time, before you jump on someone, just pause for a moment. Give them a chance. Try a gentle reminder first, or a request. 

Be mindful of others, and hopefully, others will also learn to be mindful of you. 

 

ACTION YOU CAN TAKE TODAY:

As you go through a day, keep reminding yourself to be mindful of others. At the end of the day, journal about how many times you were successful and how many times you failed. Take note of why you were successful, and against which people.

 

 

 

Contest for All Kaizen Warriors

 

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You, Kaizen Warriors, are the reason why I’m constantly motivated to put in more time and effort into Kaizen Journaling. It’s an incentive, for me to continue improving myself, to keep learning and discovering more and more benefits of journaling. Contests are way for me to both encourage you to participate, and give away free products as a Thank You. 

ELIGIBILITY

This contest is for everyone who has purchased one or more products – any product – from Kaizen Journaling.

Whether you purchased one of the courses, or one of the e-books, or 365 Guide to Journaling, you can participate.

RULES

– For Amazon Products – If you purchased one or both of my e-books, Journaling to Self-Awareness in 30 Days or A Journal of Letters: 30 Days of Explosive Creativity, through Amazon, then all you need to do is to leave a review on Amazon, and let me know that you have done so (either through Kaizen Journaling Facebook Page, Twitter, or by email) with the link of your review.

– For Direct Kaizen Journaling Products – If you purchased 365 Days of Journaling or any one of the courses from Kaizen Journaling Academy, then simply email me a review of the product to dolly [at] kaizenjournaling [dot] com

If you purchased more than one product, then you can review as many as you like. Each review earns you one entry into the contest.  

WINNERS & PRIZES

First Prize – You will get 3 of the current products for Free. You can choose from any of current products (e-books, courses, 365 Guides.) You will have 30 days to choose, so if I release any new products in that time, you can pick  those too.

Second Prize – You will get 2 of the current products for Free. The rest – same as above.

Third Prize – You will get 1 of the current products for Free. The rest – same as above. 

DEADLINE

Submit your reviews – or send me links of your published reviews on Amazon by Sunday July 20th, 23:59 (GMT). 

Winners will be announced by the end of Friday July 25th. 

 

 

Journaling Exercise: Do You Love Yourself?

 

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Love yourself first, and everything else falls into line.
You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.

– Lucille Ball

 

You know we don’t do fluffy talk on Kaizen Journaling. So when I ask this question, do you love yourself, there are practical reasons behind it. 

I have experienced it from personal experience, and I am sure at certain point, most of you have as well. You often spend so much time and effort trying to be something for other people that you forget what you need to be for yourself. Perhaps you are trying to maintain or create a specific image, because you think that’s the cool thing, or because it will get you what you want, like a great job. 

Are you always looking at yourself through the eyes of other people?

Do you believe you are selfish, because your partner says so?

Do you believe you are incompetent, because your boss says so?

Do you believe you are a bad parent, because your child says so?

Maybe those people are right, but maybe they are wrong. I am not saying you should hide away from your flaws. I am saying you should have enough self-awareness to differentiate your genuine flaws from other people’s opinions. 

For today’s journaling exercise, focus on what you think about yourself.

Do you think you are a good person? 

Do you think you are successful?

Do you think you are a  good influence on those around you?

Do you think you contribute positively to this world?

Do you love yourself, as you currently are?

If the answer is yes, great. If the answer is no, then you need to delve deeper. You need to focus on what parts of yourself you don’t like, and what parts of yourself hold you back from being the person you want to be. (If you need guidance to know yourself better, check out my book, Journaling to Self-Awareness in 30 Days. )

Grab your journal, and start writing. 

 

 

 

A Journal of Letters – 30 Days of Explosive Creativity

 

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Hello Kaizen Warriors, 

My brand new book, A Journal of Letters: 30 Days of Explosive Creativity, is now available on Amazon.

This book is one of my most beloved, and absolute labour of love. It builds on the “A Journal of Letters” course, previously offered through Kaizen Journaling. 

Check it out here: A Journal of Letters: 30 Days of Explosive Creativity 

Thanks,

Dolly.