Personal Growth & Divorce
You may wonder: “Personal growth during divorce? Give me a break, I’m just trying to get through it.”
We aren’t saying that divorce is easy, but we are saying that divorce is one of the biggest opportunities for personal transformation in our clients’ lives.
Read on to learn why — and how.
Personal Growth, Divorce, and TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic)®
I’ve done a lot of intentional work on myself over the years — as a human, as a divorce lawyer, and as a business owner. None has been as transformative as TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic)® framework. Every new member of the Freed Marcroft staff has read the TED* book, which we also send to clients and potential clients. TED Founder David Emerald came cross country to train our Freed Marcroft team, and I’m currently studying under Donna Zajonc MCC, The Center for the Empowerment Dynamic’s Director of Coaching.
This is all to say that TED* has been (and will be) tremendously powerful in my life. I am keenly aware of the opportunity it provides to divorcing people and the lawyers and legal professionals that help them. Of course, I still have plenty of bumps in the road and setbacks. But TED helps me understand that my reactive triggers aren’t just problems, they are opportunities to learn.
Read: Control & Divorce
External Events Don’t Control Your Thoughts; You Do
TED* teaches that your thoughts and feelings are generated from within your mind, not from external events or actions. While you cannot control external circumstances (including other people), you are 100% in control of how you react to them. That means you are the actor, not the acted-upon.
But our brain defaults to viewing things differently. Here are some examples that might come up during the divorce process:
- “My lawyer saying I’m not likely to be able to keep all the retirement savings I worked so hard for makes me angry. It’s so unfair.”
- “I’m frustrated that the other side is not doing what they are supposed to, and no one seems to be doing anything about it.”
- “I’ll be happy when this is over.”
See how the implication here is that thoughts and feelings originate from external forces and events that have the power to create your emotions? That’s our brain’s “default,” but it’s not the truth.
How To React to the Challenges of Divorce
Once you understand that you are in control of your own thoughts and feelings and have the power to choose your response to the challenges of the outside world and the people in it, everything changes. Of course, challenges will still arise — especially during divorce — but you’ll by becoming responsible for your own thoughts and emotions, you’ll experience control and calm. You’ll catch yourself beginning to perseverate and waste time and energy focusing on the uncontrollable, and you’ll put a stick in your own spoke. You’ll become able to observe without constantly trying to fix.
How might this mindset sound? It starts with an “I.” Let’s play it out with the examples from above:
- “I feel angry that I worked so hard for my retirement savings and might not be able to keep them all.”
- “I feel frustrated that my spouse continues not to do what he’s supposed to.”
- “I’ll feel happy on the other side of this.”
And here’s the really tremendous part. When you shift your focus away from the external circumstances and embrace your own power to choose your response to life’s challenges, you will be more fulfilled, more creative, and, yes, happier.
How does this work in the divorce context?
There will still be issues. For example, the divorce process may be slower than you’d prefer. The rules you agree with may not be enforced as you’d like, or the court’s view of things may not align with what you think is fair or right. But when you feel yourself heading down a path of drama, you can pause, take a breath, and remember that you can choose your response to the challenges in your divorce.
And then, you’ll get to choose it.