How To Be Happily Divorced

How To Be Happily Divorced

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Americans as a nation are obsessed with happiness. So what does it take to be happily divorced?

After all, the promise of happiness written into our founding documents: From the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

The thing is, happiness is subjective and it’s also completely within our control. In fact, that’s the only place it can begin – because if we are dependent upon outside forces to deliver satisfaction to us, we are going to ride a ridiculous emotional roller coaster.

So how can someone be happily divorced?

Simple. Decide to be.

Ok, I know that’s a bit too easy, but the sentiment isn’t far off. Because to be happily divorced, you have to accept your situation, choose to find the opportunity in the misfortune and commit every day to strive for personal growth and acceptance.

People going through divorce face an array of emotions. Disbelief. Sadness. Hurt. Anger. Denial. Depression. Elation. Sometimes all at once!

But at Transitions Legal, we view divorce as neither good nor bad – it’s a transition from one phase of life to another. You were married to a person one day and the next you no longer are. That’s all it is – the judgment is purely fabricated from within.

So once we accept this undeniable truth, we can begin to understand that all emotions are created within our own minds, and we can make choices to lead us toward the emotions we want to embrace – and not the ones we want to shed.

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If you want to be happy, what will it take to make you happy? Even if you’re feeling sadness at the loss of the marriage, this too shall pass. One day, you won’t feel quite so sad. Each person must move through the emotions that come to them, knowing that they are temporary. That’s the only way to get to the other side.

Happiness is hard to define. You’d think it would be obvious, but it’s not!

From the Greater Good at University of California Berkeley: “…to understand the causes and effects of happiness, researchers first need to define it. For most, the term happiness is interchangeable with “subjective well-being,” which is typically measured by asking people about how satisfied they feel with their lives, how much positive and negative emotion they tend to feel and their sense of meaning and purpose.”

The article continues: “In her 2007 book The How of Happiness, researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky describes happiness as “the experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile.”

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And finally, “It’s important to note that social and cultural factors also influence how we think about happiness. For example, studies by William Tov and others have found that people from cultures that embrace more collectivist ideals think about happiness more in terms of harmony and contentment, while more individualistic-minded people connect it to feelings of exuberance and joy. Happiness levels are also shaped by social groups, like families; happier people increase the happiness of people around them.”

Simply put, happiness is a choice, and it’s a state of mind. How you define happiness will depend on whether or not you feel happy. So why not work on the definition so it serves your ultimate goal?

In the end, you can be happily divorced if you accept your circumstances and each morning commit anew to doing something that will bring you satisfaction, contentment and connection that day. One day at a time, that’s how happiness is built.

Vision for Your Life

Vision for Your Life

Vision for Your Life

I meet with many people who are considering getting divorced. Some have a vision for what their life will look like after they end their marriage. Some have no idea.

The people who have a positive vision and are ready to take action are most likely to achieve happiness down the road.

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How many times have you heard someone complain about being unhappy with their lives? Do they talk about this beautiful vision of how their life could be?

And do they sit there, never taking action, just whining, ranting, crying about what is, rather than changing it to what could be?

To really have a vision, it’s imperative to get up off the couch and take steps to make your dreams come true.

A girlfriend of mine wanted to move from a big city, change her job, and live in a college town. She took action to make it happen. As scared as she was, facing such a huge life change, she moved across the country for a different job, after living in a city for three decades.

She’s so happy in her new life! Yes, it was scary at times, and there were moments when she worried she was making the wrong decision. But she took action rather than just talking about it, and she hasn’t looked back.

Change is scary for everyone. Sometimes we need to scare ourselves into making life better.

Life after divorce can look any way you want it to. It’s up to you.

It doesn’t have to be empty, lonely, lacking love. If you worry that you can’t change your life because you don’t have enough money, or you’re afraid you’ll be lonely at the end, change the vision.

See yourself happy, with friends, finding new love. See yourself filling your time by going to the gym, trying a new activity you’ve always yearned to learn.

Once you change your vision of yourself into something positive, you can actually make it happen. It’s all in your hands.

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Choosing Happiness

Choosing Happiness

Choosing Happiness

Do you realize happiness is a choice?

Can you think of a person, or a lot of people, who indulge in misery, maintain their downcast eyes and unpleasant grin no matter what comes their way?

We all have choices. Recently, I listened to a radio showcalled Simply Happy (find it here) about happiness vs. success. Do we define happiness and success differently or are they one and the same?

Do you take a job that offers you a lot of money, or a job where the work touches your heart and fuels your passion so it doesn’t even feel like work?

On the radio show, the host was talking about happy and unhappy cities. A lot of the unhappy cities were big bustling metropolises like New York, where the expenses and the goals and the lifestyle is fast-fast-fast and money-money-money. No surprise it’s an “unhappy place.”

I’m going to argue that happiness leads to success – if you’re happy, you will be successful, no matter what you do.

California is a happy place for the most part. People focus on the positive there. They don’t talk about potential earthquakes or the very real possibility of the fault lines eventually breaking the entire state apart from the mainland and making Arizona ocean-front property.

They talk about the sunshine. They don’t talk about smog. They talk about being laid-back and opportunity and diversity. They flock to juice bars and yoga classes and mountain hikes and they surf year-round.

You might have to drive through a lot of traffic to get there but once you’re there, you’re looking at ocean and sunshine and wherever you’ve just come from is a faint memory.

People who come to see me about a divorce have usually driven through a lot of their own personal traffic and are making the decision to choose happiness!

Do something to make yourself happy today! Make decisions that will up your happiness factor.

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