Divorce Advice: A Cheat Sheet for Finding Peace

By Jackie Pilossoph, Founder, Divorced Girl Smiling, the place to find trusted, vetted divorce professionals, a podcast, website and mobile app.

I am going to give you some of the best divorce advice! It’s actually just life advice, in other words, it’s not just for divorce, but can truly help you if your divorce is wearing you down. In my opinion, divorce can be exhausting, and can take a toll. IF YOU LET IT.  I guarantee if you read this, you will immediately feel better, be inspired and realize how if you follow this “cheat sheet,” you have a better chance of finding peace and just being a happier person.

Written by “Doug”, a divorced dad of two who has guest posted a couple times in the past,  this is an email he wrote to a friend  who is recently separated. He asked Doug, “Does the suffering we experience ever end?”

The friend loved his response so much, that he told Doug he was going to print it out, frame it and hang it, so that he could refer to it whenever he needed to be reminded of how to find peace. I did the same!

A Cheat Sheet for Finding Peace by “Doug”
Life is the journey not the destination . the skiing not the mountain
or moguls.  Whatever presents is okay . live fully and gratefully in this
moment . choose to see the positive and the opportunity . Like in golf, life is the
privilege of playing through.

Here’s my cheat sheet:

1.       Be wary of Conditioning – there is no universal right or wrong
but we are conditioned to follow a path that serves others’ notions
(parents, spouses, children) of what we should do.  It is painful to try to
stay in that place. The distance between what your heart wants and what
conditioning dictates is the suffering you are experiencing.  Go back on
course of what your heart wants (purpose) and suffering will drop away.

2.       Embrace self-acceptance, self-care and self-compassion – Live your
truth, moment-to-moment, and accept that it can change over time (others
will talk of obligations and commitments in order to bring you back to
conditioning).  BE KIND in thought and action to yourself.  DON’T represent
the opposing client, let them represent themselves.  Faithfully defend
yourself, see your side. You are human and there is always a perspective
of self-acceptance that is worthy of embracing. most days no one else will
do it for you (they are understandably seeing their own view).

3.       Similarly, take responsibility for yourself, your wants, feelings
and actions – refuse responsibility for the wants, feelings and actions of
others – their path is theirs . it is a disservice to our loved ones to
carry their load . it is a terrible loss to everyone to forgo your story to
live the one others would write for you.

4.       Live in the present – attention to the past can cause depression .
to the future can cause anxiety . the PRESENT will align you with purpose
and the perfection of the moment.  The present moment does not allow space
for suffering . if you are feeling unwanted emotions then you are not
sufficiently present . narrow your focus . to a single breath if necessary .
when that works, do it again.

5.       Choose your reaction – no situation is a single thing – it is a mix
of myriad ingredients.  Give your attention to the ingredients (elements)
that YOU choose (pick positive emotions which include happiness, love and
acceptance . instead of negative emotions of fear, anger, anxiety and
depression).  In any situation, look for “positive notes” (like in wine) and
give your attention to the particular elements of every situation that speak
truth, clarity and joy . there are no extra points for giving attention to
the negative.

6.       Adopt “I LOVE that!” about every situation – see the joy and magic
in even the hardest experiences – both for yourself and others.  We must let
go of the notion that we can SOLVE someone else . one L-O-V-E-S . not
S-O-L-V-E . same letters . yes, I just made that up, ha! 🙂

7.       Quiet the conditioned mind – I had long vowed to take up
meditation, a universally recommended practice but long avoided it as “one
more thing to learn” – it isn’t, it is as simple as noticing when you are
not in a mental place you wish to be (during any upset or emotional
suffering) and taking a moment (a fleeting moment, a minute, 5, 10 .
whatever you wish . it can’t be done wrong) and quieting your mind, dropping
the negative thoughts, listening to peaceful breaths, thinking an
aspirational thought or just imagining a joyous scenario (your pup running and
summersaulting through the snow, for example).  This is the navigation
system guiding you gently back to the path . it is easy, free and
miraculously effective at bringing you back (some suggest saying “I am back”
when a meditative moment brings them back to the present).

8.       Life is a journey not a destination . there is no finish line
before we go . there can be joy in EVERY moment (even in the struggle with
loss, disease, family dissolution and the upsets of our children).

9.       Lead with Joy – The single biggest thing we can do for our
partners, children, extended family, friends and colleagues is be present,
joyful, on purpose and at peace . this will create a magnetism around which
they can take inspiration and comfort.  Think of the people in your life who
do this for you . be one of those people for others.

10.   Gratitude:  Smile, feel gratitude . enjoy the taste of the food as you
eat it, the music as you hear it, the presence of a person that makes you
feel good . and the lesson being presented whenever you fall into suffering (every moment of suffering screams to inform us about our triggers . how conditioning is undermining our joyful pursuit of our path . listen and be
grateful for the answer that comes up . it will sharpen your process and
make you better).  When I was 16, I was practically euphoric to get in my
car, turn the ignition, change the gears, press the accelerator, drive down
the street, give someone a ride, put gas in the tank and take it out for a
wash.  Those are the feelings of gratitude, presence and joy so common in youth . over time we can forget the vibration of unadulterated happiness
that comes from small things (and tilt toward negative aspects like sitting in traffic and driving carpool) . gently remind yourself of those joyful things . and bring them back.

There is not much original here . most is ancient, time-tested and proven.
I hope it helps.  I truly believe that our contribution to the world is our
best self . living a life of love, passion, growth and evolution is the
greatest gift we can give ourselves, our children, our families, our
communities and the world.

As always, thanks for this beautiful, inspiring post. It is truly a gift!

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    Jackie Pilossoph

    Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

    Jackie Pilossoph is the Founder of Divorced Girl Smiling, the media company that connects people facing with divorce to trusted, vetted divorce professionals. Pilossoph is a former NBC affiliate television journalist and Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press features reporter. Her syndicated column, Love Essentially was published in the Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press and Tribune owned publications for 7 1/2 years. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University. Learn more at: DivorcedGirlSmiling.com

    3 Responses to “Divorce Advice: A Cheat Sheet for Finding Peace”

    1. Hayley

      In therapy. But looks like leaning towards divorce.. He’s cheated ‘, lied. I’ve suffered from his actions last 3 yrs terribly. I hope there is a light. Ty for your blog.

    2. Carolyn

      Loved this! Recently divorced, separated over 2 years. I’ve been doing a LOT of work with friends and therapist. This is the FIRST time I’ve ever commented. Love “Doug”


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