“If someone is not treating you with love and respect, it is a gift if they walk away from you. If that person doesn’t walk away, you will surely endure many years of suffering with him or her. Walking away may hurt for a while, but your heart will eventually heal. Then you can choose what you really want. You will find that you don’t need to trust others as much as you need to trust yourself to make the right choices.”
― Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom
Divorce is hard! Even if you are the one who made the decision to leave you can count on tension, uncertainty and anger to be your companions for a while. Here’s the thing, if you are not careful, these negative emotions end up driving your decisions, creating more pain and result in less than perfect outcomes. In other words, in addition to the pain of divorce you end up hurting yourself by your thinking.
There are no quick fixes or painless ways to get divorced, there is simply the path that you choose. One path is life enhancing and one is life destroying. While you cannot control the level of conflict you have with your spouse, you can make the choice to conduct yourself with integrity and peace and find an attorney who works with similar values.
Don Miguel Ruiz wrote a book called “The Four Agreements”. I highly recommend it as it puts in plain words what we CAN control. Following these four agreements is deceptively difficult, but the effort pays off in freedom and clear thinking. Here are someways you can follow the FOUR AGREEMENTS in your divorce.
Based on the book by Don Miguel Ruiz
- Be Impeccable with your word. Be careful with your words (or petitions to the court) that your intentions are pure. Your intent manifests with your word. Are you using your word to activate fear and further revenge, to spread gossip or hurt? If so, you are ultimately hurting yourself as when you do this it comes back to you. For example, if you tell someone you hate them, they usually respond with hatred against you. So your words ultimately hurt yourself. Be careful that your attorney doesn’t violate this agreement either.
- Don’t take anything personally. It’s easier said than done, but Ruiz says that it is almost NEVER about you- always about the other person’s disfunction, pain, fear and anger. Everything, even direct insults, are because of themselves, not you. When you don’t take things personally you are immune from them and avoid a quid pro quo approach to bargaining.
- Don’t make assumptions. The assumptions we make for the reasons for people’s behavior become our reality. When we use these false assumptions as the basis for our decisions- especially legal decisions- it is impossible to make good decisions. Practice clear communication, clarify your assumptions and find out WHY before you rely on them.
- Always do your best. Doing your best may vary-especially when going through a divorce, but if you always are mindful of bringing your best effort to the moment and living the first three agreements, you will bring peace repeatedly. When you do your best, you are using your whole mind and heart to apply to the situation. You are taking action and you will not have regret. Don’t be too hard on yourself or others. If you are giving your best at the moment you are upholding this agreement with yourself.