How to Win the Guinness World Record for Nicest Divorce Ever

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Ok, well maybe that is going a little too far. But, there is no reason (no matter how angry, hurt, pissed off, betrayed, furious, upset, sick, crushed, or otherwise awful you feel) the divorce process has to be filled with bitterness, contempt, or hateful words.

I am not saying that acting like a respectful, responsible, mature adult will always be easy, but after all, that is what you are right? So it’s time to start acting like one (or at least trying to act like one).

So the next time you are blinded by fury or so heartbroken you could weep, think of this:

  1. No matter how badly we feel, it is NEVER ok to put down or hurt someone else to make ourselves feel better.
  2. What we say and do speaks far, far more about us than it does about those we are badmouthing.
  3. Stress kills. Literally, it will take years off your life, add grey hairs to your head, and put lines on your face. Is your ex worth all that?
  4. In a storm, it is always wiser to take the higher ground.
  5. You are a role model to others (especially if you have children). Show them how gracefully you can let go of what is no longer meant for you.
  6. You will never reach a positive place with negative thoughts and actions.
  7. Who are you really mad at? It might be yourself, and you don’t deserve to be yelled at.
  8. Anger and worry have never solved anything, except maybe how to waste inordinate amounts of time you will never get back accomplishing absolutely nothing.
  9. If your goal is to eventually be happy and move on, you need to start now. That means letting go of all those negative emotions that are keeping you stuck where you are right now, feeling the way you feel right now.
  10. 10. And if none of these words of wisdom have inspired you to stop the yelling and social media bashing, at least be nice for no other reason that it will really piss the other person off.

photo (1)This advice has helped me make better decisions while going through my own divorce. You will struggle. There will be times you will yell, scream, cry, and act less maturely than you truly are. But, the point is not to be perfect, but to strive to be better than you were the day before or the minute/hour before.

I have struggled as a psychologist and conflict specialist who should “know better,” so I am definitely not saying letting go of the anger and hurt will be easy.

I will admit there were times I name-called, bashed, and put down. What I learned from those times was that those behaviors ultimately made me feel worse rather than better. I felt horrible for treating another human being that way, especially one that I had at one time loved dearly. I was also embarrassed at myself and felt ashamed when I had to recount my actions to friends and family. That is not the kind of person I want and strive to be.

We are human, we feel, and that means we are susceptible to irrational, immature, spiteful behavior. But we don’t have to let our anger and hurt control us. Take charge of your emotions and your life. You will be happier you did.