Couple sitting at table looking at a document

Divorce: Not A Four Letter Word

"What you send out comes back. What you believe about yourself becomes true for you." These two concepts will have more to do with how your divorce affects you than anything else that happens.

These two concepts are the basic premise of Louise Hay's philosophy in the book You Can Heal Your Life. They have become the basis for my life as well. The truth is, whenever people have a problem, no matter what it is - poor health, lack of money, unsatisfying relationships, or stifled creativity - the underlying cause is a lack of loving the self.

When we learn to really love, accept, and approve of ourselves just as we are, then everything in life works. It's as if there are little miracles everywhere. And in fact there are, since a miracle is simply a shift in perception.

Positive Thoughts About Divorce: It is time for us to apply this wisdom to the subject of divorce. In America, at least 50% of marriages end in divorce. Some people may find that a shocking statistic. Some may think it is something to be ashamed of. I see it as a simple fact of modern life.

We need to "un-demonize" the whole concept of divorce. We need to stop seeing it as a failure, and view it instead as just another turning point on our life's journey. As a Michigan divorce lawyer, I applaud my clients who choose to go through this process in an enlightened way, without the anger and blame that so often accompany the "traditional" divorce.

A New Approach: I often lead clients through a meditation before discussing the logistics of a divorce (i.e., custody and property settlements). My goal is to encourage both parties to relax their fears, and see the other as someone they once loved enough to want to spend their life with. It seems to help the parties focus on what is important, finding the win-win divorce solution for all concerned, especially the children. I am blessed and inspired when I see the way that many divorcing couples treat each other as friends, as people that they care about.

A wife who plans to remain in the marital home will often help her husband get settled in his new home. Together we will sit down and discuss how future contingencies, such as the children's college expenses, will be handled. While I encourage my clients to treat each other with love and respect, they are the ones to be admired and emulated for their ability to see the bigger picture. They are sending out loving vibrations into a world desperately in need of it. They are taking a higher view to the subject of divorce.

Rituals: Rituals are an excellent way for couples to end one phase of their relationship (i.e., divorce) and move to the next (friendship). I have started asking my clients to write down several things they like or admire about their soon-to-be ex-spouse, and several things that they wish for them. I think it is a good way for them to make the transition positively; to remind them of the fine qualities they once admired, and will grow to admire again, in time.

The last thing divorcing couples, or their children need, is to feel a stigma, a sense of failure or shame, because their marriage did not "work." This will lead to long-term problems for all concerned, especially the children, and affect their attitude towards intimate relationships. Criticism never serves a useful purpose.

Criticism actually locks us into the very pattern we are trying to change. Understanding and being gentle with ourselves will help us to move out of the habits we don't like. Criticism never will. Remember, you have been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn't helped. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.

Be Gentle With Yourself: When a marriage, or other intimate relationship ends, there are certainly lessons we need to learn. There are patterns we may be repeating in our life, patterns arising from childhood, that we need to release and let go, in order to attract the love we want. However, chastising ourselves for having "failed" when a marriage ends, or trying to put the blame on our partner for being wrong, is not the way to accomplish this! Compare it to unraveling a ball of yarn that has gotten tangled up: the more you yank and pull, the tighter the knots get! The only way to get them out, is to gently and patiently loosen the yarn.

That is why I feel it is so essential for you to "love your divorce." Be loving and accepting of the fact that your intimate relationship is ending. Blame no one. See it as an opportunity to learn and grow, as another steppingstone on your life's path. Bless your former partner with love, and wish the best for them. By so doing, you will attract good into your own life. Treat yourself with kindness and gentleness, and the lessons will become apparent to you in the right time. Anger and blame will only hide these lessons from you, and you will continue to attract the very situations that lead to the break-up of your current marriage.

Our words are powerful. The thoughts we think and the words we speak create our future. I believe we need to come up with a new word for divorce. Just as "mentally retarded" is now "cognitively challenged," "garbageman" is now "sanitation engineer," and death is now "life transition," we need to create a positive word for ending the legal relationship known as marriage.

New Way of Looking at Divorce: Recently, I spent several hours, trying to come up with a positive word or words for divorce. "Fresh start, magic mistake, marital transition, second chance, life redirection, reverse merger," these were a few of the ideas I came up with. I haven't yet come up with a phrase that satisfies me, and that I think would be adopted by the courts, to replace the word "divorce." How about you? Have you an idea for a positive word or phrase that could help change the energy around this sensitive area? If so, please feel free to email me or call me at 248-773-3317. Together we may help make a major positive change on the planet.

Affirmation: I bless my former mate with love, and release them to the next person, who will be happy to have them. I am free to create wonderful new relationships in my life. All is well in my world.

Mindy L. Hitchcock (Michigan Divorce Lawyer)