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Almost worse than the divorce itself, paralysis – or an inability to make decisions or move forward – can sometimes be an even more difficult private hell. The root cause of the paralysis can be a myriad of reasons ranging from fear or a feeling of a lack of control. So what can be done about it?
I can tell you that I have been exactly where you are – my life has had its own share of twists and turns, including my own heart wrenching divorce. I was born into an upper middle class family in the Washington DC suburb of McLean VA. My father, an anesthesiologist, emigrated from China and my mother was a businesswoman. I went to public schools until high school when I was sent to an elite boarding school in the Northeast. There, I met a local boy during my senior year of high school, and (much to my parent’s chagrin) he became my first husband when I was 19 years old. I then had my first child at 20, then next at 21 and the third at 23. Shortly after my first three babies were born, I started to wake up and realized that, perhaps my dad was right after all, and I had chosen a difficult path, financially and emotionally. I went back to college and graduated when the kids were 3, 4 and 5. I started teaching in an inner city elementary school and then I decided to divorce my husband – who I realized by then that while he was a nice guy – we were just not meant for each other. I chose to go back to law school because it was the only graduate program that would accept my education degree – and because I saw it as the ticket to freedom for me and my children.
Did I have a lot of fear? Definitely! Every day I was gripped with fear. I worked super hard in law school because I was afraid I was really an imposter there. But I knew I couldn’t repay my student loans on my teacher’s salary. And I just kept thinking about the end game. I knew I needed to create a better life for my children. That’s what kept me going.
So how to overcome that paralysis? Here’s a few ways:
- Thinking of FEAR as False Evidence Appearing Real – the thoughts that we conjure in our minds are always way, way worse than reality. And why torture yourself unnecessarily? If it’s not fact – if it isn’t actually happening, don’t go there. Remember that your thoughts create your reality too – they are your orders that you are placing to the universe. So learn to pivot as soon as you start having thoughts that aren’t productive.
- Create your end goal – figure out where you want to end up – then write it out. Visualize it very specifically. Decide what your personal life will look like, where will you live, what kind of work will you be doing, how much money will you have, what will your income be, what does your house look like, and then keep going. Write down – make a vision board.
- Then start putting one foot in front of the other. The old adage does apply – the journey of 1000 miles starts with the first step. Just start moving toward your goal – one day at a time or even one moment at a time if you have to think of it that way. If it is just – I will get out of bed now; now I will take a shower; now I will write in my gratitude journal; now I will look at my vision board. Whatever you need to do to keep that forward momentum going. Create to do lists every day and check off each thing as you go along. All that you do should be with those end goals you’ve visualized in mind. Then whenever that paralysis starts to set in – look back at your goals or your vision board and pivot. Maybe even take a photo of your vision board and keep it as your screen saver.
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Thanks for joining me today. I give tips, tricks and divorce secrets every day. If you enjoyed this, please head on over to my youtube channel and hit subscribe. Also please check out www.breakingfreefromdivorce.com for ways to be supported in your divorce.
I will see you tomorrow for Tuesday Divorce Tactics where I will discuss How to Deal With Pets in Divorce.
Until then, remember you’re just one step away from your new life. Together, we’ve got this.