Wednesday, August 4, 2010

One step forward, three steps back.....

Tonight I've been seeking guidance from life coach and author Cheryl Richardson on how to help circumvent the emotional battering that I am experiencing going through the separation from my husband. I know that logically I will get through this and it won't be as draining as it is right now, but at this time I am so over the backwards and forwards and emotional rollercoaster.

Cheryl offers some interesting advice. In an article of hers she recommends asking yourself the question "If this person was sent here to teach me a lesson about myself, what would that be?". By being objective in this way you can identify lessons, life skills or qualities of character that need to be developed as a result of your interaction with this person. I can say that in my case I am learning to trust my feelings and instincts, to stand up for myself, how to set boundaries and how to back up these boundaries with action. This is a huge work in progress for me and right now I feel like its one step forward, three steps back. But I'm having faith that putting one foot in front of the other and persevering will eventually get me to where I need to be. (In saying this, it isn't about being right or wrong, its about being aware of what is true for me and having integrity around what I am or am not willing to accept in my life).

Another thing that Cheryl touches on that really resonates with me is the idea that seeing your partner as a positive catalyst for change for yourself doesn't mean you don't have a right to feel anger or pain. In actual fact it is important to vent your powerful emotions when they come up, before continuing to do any work on gaining a new perspective. I worked this one out for myself about a week and a half ago, when it dawned on me that not allowing myself to express these feelings was actually doing me more harm than good and would prevent me taking proper care of myself. Cheryl suggests that being willing to express all of your feelings is a vital act of extreme self care and I couldn't agree more. Other examples of things that you can do to express all your feelings and take care of yourself are:
  • Making sure you have a safe place to vent the full expression of your feelings-and it cannot be your ex. Finding someone you can trust who will listen without offering advice or hooking into the drama is recommended eg a colleague, friend, therapist, spiritual advisor etc. The purpose is for you to give yourself a place to express your feelings so that you don't incite a lot of problems.
  • Make a list of self-comforting strategies, all those little things you can do to make yourself feel nurtured, comforted and safe. It could be taking a warm bath, having a great book beside your bed to escape with on a regular basis, renting a movie etc. Initially I shied away from tears because I wanted to keep going and to be strong. However, as Cheryl suggests, crying is the soul's way of communicating with us and it helps to move through the healing process more efficiently and effectively (believe me my soul has definitely begun communicating with me!).
  • Identify a strong ally who can prop you up and fuel your courage. It needs to be someone less emotional than you, who has a reputation for standing up for themselves eg a lawyer, colleague or friend. This person can help you to see when you need to take a stand for yourself.
Looking at these strategies, I am grateful that I can say I have most of, if not all of these in place. My family have also been amazing in being there for me and being patient with me through all the ups and downs. I know its not easy for them to see me going through this either. Identifying a strong ally has been the hardest thing for me to do because standing up for myself is my area of opportunity-I have found this person though (once again with the help of my Mum and sister). I also have some amazing friends and work colleagues who allow me the freedom to go through whatever I need to, whenever I need to and who encourage me every day to be true to myself and to believe in myself.

Even though I have these strategies at my disposal all the time, when you're emotions are charged and your sadness, anger and frustration is so great you think they will overwhelm you, it can be hard to think clearly about what to do to get you through. So having a list to refer back to is quite a good idea. For now I'm off to escape into a bubble bath followed by some meditation.......

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