Are the records in your head ruining your day?
Starting Over Again, Part 12
A series of articles on adjusting to divorce
By Harlan Jacobsen
TRUE, YOU NEED TO TALK OUT THE TRAUMA OF YOUR DIVORCE.
But do it primarily with good listener "security blanket" friends (and professionals, if need be). What you don't talk out, remember, will pop out another way.
SAVE A CERTAIN TIME EACH WEEK INITIALLY; THE REST OF THE TIME, CONCENTRATE ON MAKING TODAY A GREAT DAY.
Do have set aside a divorce "hassle time" where you think about and talk about what is and has happened to you. The rest of the time, stop playing those records of past woes over and over again.
YOU BECOME WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT ALL DAY LONG. Stop playing the mental ""woe is me"" records all day long. All records (thoughts) come in stereo with an associated feeling. You cannot have a thought without having an associated feeling (stereo) play at the same time.
If you want to get rid of the feeling, get rid of the thought. If you are fleeing blue, stop playing the blue thought records that have an associated feeling you don't want. Substitute new records of what you have coming up, what you look forward to, what you are improving in your life, etc. Remember, you control what thought records you play all day long and as such you also have control of the "feelings" that play in stereo with the thought.
STOP THINKING ABOUT WHAT WENT WRONG. PROCESSING A "NO-SOLUTION" PROBLEM OVER AND OVER AGAIN USES UP TREMENDOUS EMOTIONAL ENERGY.
Even with a tremendous mental effort, nothing worth the trouble will be of help in your new life; your old married life is over--junk it. Use your emotional energy and your big computer's processing time to get on with your new life.
WHEN YOU PLAY BASKETBALL AND HIT A BASKET, YOU CONCENTRATE ON WHAT YOU DID RIGHT SO YOU CAN DO IT AGAIN.
You forget all those times you did it wrong and missed. You forget the misses. You concentrate on your hits and remember how to repeat that.
WHEN YOU BECOME DIVORCED YOU START CONCENTRATING ON YOUR MISSES AND IGNORE YOUR HITS.
Backwards. Forget and stop processing all the things you did wrong. Concentrate on your hits; tune out and stop wasting time and energy on your misses. Remember the good parts and successes. Concentrate on your wins, stop rehashing misses. Remember what you did right.
YOU LEARNED AS A KID TO HOLD A SPOON USING THIS METHOD.
You dropped it a zillion times and finally learned to hang on to it by remembering and concentrating on what you did right. You forgot all those things and times you did it wrong.
Your divorce is the same way. Forget all the wrong -- they are of no value and a waste of time. Concentrate now on whatever little successes you have, remember what you did right, and try to duplicate them and have more of them.
YOU SAY YOU ARE RESTRICTED, YOU "HAVE TO" DO SOMETHING THAT KEEPS YOU FROM GETTING ON.
We say there are no "have to's". You do not "have to" do anything. You say I have to go to work. We say you do not. You can go on welfare, be a bum, beachcomber, whatever. Lots of people are not going to work and they are surviving. Now you may decide to go to work and that probably is a good choice. However, realize that you "decide" to go to work, so don't blame anyone for it.
You say, "I have to take care of my kids." We say no, you do not. You can give them to your ex. If you ex doesn't want them, call your relative or your ex's relatives. If they don't want them, call the State and they will take them but do realize that you don't "have to" take care of your kids. You may well decide to do that, but again realize that it is your decision to do so. You do have options. When you decide to do something, take responsibility for your decision and stop blaming the world.
WHERE YOU ARE TODAY-BLAME YOUR EX, MOTHER, ETC.-WHERE YOU ARE ONE YEAR FROM NOW, BLAME YOURSELF.
Yep. You are finally going to have to take full and total responsibility for your life. If your life doesn't work now, you will only have yourself to blame and that is scary. Maybe all your life, when things didn't work out you always blamed your mother, who somehow was keeping you from doing all the "right" things you had wanted to do. Then your mother died; then you blamed your spouse for your life not working. So you got rid of your spouse. Who are you going to blame now, your children? Remember you are an adult and you are now totally in charge of your life.
STOP BLAMING YOUR EX FOR NOT LEAVING "RIGHT." STOP DEMANDING "JUSTICE".
There is no such thing as justice. It isn't fair, etc. It really isn't fair that you were born here instead of in North Korea. It really isn't fair that you have plenty to eat and others are starving around the world. There is no "right way" for your spouse to leave.
Remember, most people don't know how to leave and even if they were experts at leaving and did everything perfect in divorcing you, you would say it isn't fair, the dirty crumb bum, leaving me now.
Forget all that. They not only were not a "perfect" spouse, they weren't perfect in divorcing you either. They are probably frightened about making it on their own also, no matter how self- confident they appear compared to you. Remember, one year from now you will probably realize they did you a favor getting out of your life, because your new, "better" life would not have been possible had they hung around. They probably did it wrong, but they did leave and that's good.
STOP PROCESSING WHAT YOU SHOULD HAVE DONE--OR WHAT THEY SHOULD HAVE DONE. PROCESS WHAT YOU NEED TO DO NOW TO GET ON WITH YOUR NEW LIFE.
Learning to become single successfully is a complicated job. You need every bit of your mental computer's time and emotional energy to get on with and handle your new life. Remember, hundreds of thousands of other people, less capable than you, have learned how to be independent, self-sufficient, self-responsible, and happy on their own.
YOU BECOME LIKE THE PEOPLE YOU ASSOCIATE WITH. Your parents were right, it is important who you hang around with. You do indeed become like the people you associate with. You learn most of your actions and attitudes, including being single, modeling after others. If you hang around a group of negative downers for whom nothing is going right, then that is probably the way your life will go. If you hang around with other happy successful single people, then that is likely the way you will become.
RIGHT NOW, YOU SEE YOURSELF AS A LOSER, SO YOU SAY-- I BELONG OVER HERE WITH OTHER LOSERS.
I have to sort myself out to where I figure I fit and right now I am a loser, so I am uncomfortable with happy successful people.
Wrong. Deliberately find people who are like you want to be, not as you see yourself now. Even though you are uncomfortable there initially, put yourself there anyway. Eventually you will get yourself up to where you know you are okay and by associating with these people, it will rub off and you will change.
GET SOME GOOD FEEDBACK THAT YOU ARE OKAY!
Remember, only about 1 in 500 will really like you immediately as you are. Others will over time learn to like you and you will grow up to the standard to where others will accept you in bigger percentages than 1 in 500.
WHEN SOME ACCEPT YOU, THEN YOU BECOME MORE COMFORTABLE. INITIALLY YOU WILL BE UNCOMFORTABLE BECAUSE YOU STILL ERRONEOUSLY SEE YOURSELF AS NOT OKAY.
Go where they are anyway. Decide what you want to be like and to become. Then go and find that king of people to associate with. You can start with negative groups but you'll have to keep moving as you eventually outgrow them. However, the danger is you may become like them and get hung up there, so better to deliberately be uncomfortable with a group like you want to become.
NEXT ISSUE: the easiest way to gather the strength to handle life's difficulties.