Divorce and the Holidays

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…”, right?

Sleigh bells are ringing, the halls are being decked; Santa is getting ready for his magical trip around the world; elves on the shelf are keeping our kids acting on their best behavior since they are reporting to the big guy every night. Christmas music is everywhere, malls and stores are bustling, and families are celebrating all of the yearly traditions.

But… some of us don’t have those traditions anymore. Some of us are facing major loss and grieving; some of us don’t have that family to celebrate those traditions with.

This is my very first Christmas outside of my marriage in 10 years. I’m very grateful that I am in an amazing emotional place because I’ve healed and moved forward over the past 15 months; but the holidays are bringing up some raw and real feelings that I have to deal with, process and learn from. As I’m doing that, I decided to share some of my thoughts with you to help anyone that may be going through something similar.

ACKNOWLEDGE IT

First and foremost, please remember that when you feel sadness, grief, and pain, and get caught up in the emotions that it is NORMAL. We are a society rich in traditions, and the holidays are full of them. The last 10 years for me have been full of family gatherings that I grew to love; such as playing Christmas songs on the piano for a huge Italian family as we all drank wine and sang. Heading to the in laws and then Grandpa’s house on New Year’s for celebrations because they didn’t want to take away from other family gatherings. Placing the stockings in the same place in the house we bought 7 years ago; excitedly unpacking Jack the Elf for the kiddos on Thanksgiving after the kids went to bed.

Listen, there is going to be pain and sadness. Acknowledge it, accept it and learn from it. All of those memories are wonderful things, and they now provide you with a springboard to come up with all new traditions and joys to celebrate with your kids, families and friends in your new home.

Remember, negative feelings are not meant to be a regular part of life; they are a call to action! When you feel and experience them, it is an opportunity to grow, change your life and direction of your thoughts. And you are going to want to blame your ex for these negative feelings, and that is completely normal. But if you are you to put that energy into blaming them for the pain and frustration, you better thank them for it too. If you didn’t go through that pain, you wouldn’t have this new opportunity to grow into your new life, and find your new bliss. You couldn’t build these new traditions and have an opportunity to do everything you always dreamed of that maybe at some point, you settled and didn’t pursue anymore.

ATTITUDE PRECEDES PERCEPTION

If you believe that the holidays are going to be horrible and you’re going to “be a mess”, you’re right. If you believe that you will have an amazing Christmas, create new traditions and be full of joy and choose happiness, you’re right. If you focus on all you are missing and what you won’t be doing anymore, you honestly won’t do anything except wallow in your own unworthiness. That won’t serve you, that won’t help your kids with the transition, and you’ll be setting yourself up for a miserable time.

Focus on the blessings, the love and the joy you still have; focus on the NEW! It’s exciting and fun, and again, it’s an opportunity to create the exact experience you’ve always wanted to give yourself and your children.

Your attitude influences your beliefs, and your beliefs will change your inner state and your outer world. Make sure you’re filling yourself up with the positivity, love and joy that you deserve!

SET YOUR INTENTIONS

When you are done reading this, grab a piece of paper and a pen and write down how you INTEND for your holidays to go. And get specific; from the decor, to music playing while you’re making cookies, activities for the kids, the happiness and excitement you’ll feel as the season progresses. How do you want your mood to be? What will you do to make sure you’re in a good emotional state? How do you want to wake up the kids on the morning you celebrate Christmas? What kind of breakfast will you make as the kids are swimming in presents and wrapping paper? Who will you call first thing to wish them a Merry Christmas? Writing it all down sets your brain in motion, and it is human nature to want to check off that list. Giving yourself a guideline will help you create a wonderful experience for you and the kids, and it will help you focus on the new instead of getting stuck on the old. Intend and expect it to happen; read that list outloud and call it into being!

FILL THE VOID

I remember back when I quit smoking; I tried a few times but always seemed to go back to it after a few days or even weeks. Why? I didn’t fill the void. When something is missing in your life that you’ve grown accustomed to, you have to fill it up with something else- and it needs to be something that serves you and helps you find your joy. When I officially quit smoking for good it was because I filled the void with exercise; it became the new focus and passion and I didn’t ever have to worry about smoking again.

When the kids are with their other parent through the holidays, it’s going to be hard. When you aren’t a part of the traditions you were a part of with your ex and their family, you’re going to miss them. You cannot let that void create an empty space in your heart; don’t camp out in the shadows because you don’t belong there. Fill the void with something that you love, creates joy, and something that makes you feel good. When the kids are with their mother for Christmas, I most likely will be writing because that is the most effective way for me to identify and process my feelings. When I’m sad that the kids aren’t with me, I will focus on the joy and excitement they are experiencing and anticipate the same reactions when I get to share it with them. When my kids are at the big Italian family get together, I’m still going to sit down at the piano and play for myself because it brings me joy!

What will be happening over the holidays that you can identify as a void? What will create an empty space in your emotions? What do you intend to fill it up with? Again, make the plan NOW so that you can control the situation; don’t let the emotions and situation control you!

BE PRESENT

I believe the most important thing of all is be present for everyone that is around you, loves you and appreciates you. When we get sad and let the grief take over, it’s easy to isolate ourselves and allow the negative feelings to blind us from all the love and light that we surrounded by. Don’t ever doubt the love of your children, and the fact that they are just happy seeing you smile and holding them in your arms. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and honest with your support system; they love you for all that you ARE, not what you’ve been through.

Emotionally invest in yourself, your children, and everyone around you that lights up your world; allow yourself to feel the love and support you need to make it through the holiday season, and the entire healing process.

Much love you and yours this holiday season; may your hearts rejoice and your world be full of love, laughter and joy. Find your bliss, and may the new year be full of healing, contentment and success. You deserve it!

#beMORE #doMORE #loveMORE

If this resonated with you, I humbly invite you to join myself and 16 other experts on grief and loss for the After Chloe Online Summit from 12/15/17- 12/21/17.

You can sign up here: https://afterchloe.samcart.com/referral/tRcCSD5y/AvHMsLcgk29uBd2J

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