What are your hopes and aspirations? Many people create New Year’s resolutions at the beginning of each year, perhaps adopting a word to guide them in the coming twelve months and striving to turn over a new leaf in some area of their life. It tends to be a fresh start, full of endless possibilities and desired changes. How are you doing with your goals now that we are a couple months into 2023?
When we make resolutions or goals, we often focus on the external things we want to achieve and behaviors we want to change to get there, while neglecting the inner thought work needed to enable real and lasting change. If we are going to change something permanently, the change must be more than a New Year’s Day decision. Lasting change results from radical shifts in the way we think.
Part of shifting our thoughts is understanding which of them are optional and which are not. If you jump off a building, you don’t have the option to turn back. All the thought work you can do in a few seconds until you meet the ground will have no impact on the result. The law of gravity is simply a fact and will have its way, regardless of how we think in that moment.
Most of the time we have many choices in how we think about whatever has happened before action is required. It doesn’t need to take a long time. If a person is divorced, that is simply a fact. It doesn’t change anything to wish it away. But we have choices in how to interpret our experiences. We can justifiably wallow in self-pity and think that something has gone very wrong. Conversely, we can accept that the divorce is part of our life path. We can’t change the fact of the divorce once it has already happened. But we can change our understanding of what it means for us.
These principles apply even if you have been metaphorically thrown off the building by a former spouse who chose the divorce. You don’t get to change the fact he or she made that choice, but you can choose the way you think about it. Instead of seeing it as a tragic wrong beyond your control, done to you by another person, you can adopt the belief that it was for your highest good and that it will ultimately lead to a brighter future.
Separating facts from stories is helpful so we can consider different stories that serve our mental, emotional, and spiritual health better. Denying irrefutable facts isn’t helpful, yet adopting a reasonable and positive interpretation of any fact is healthier than adopting a negative and fatalistic one.
Even if you are not ready to date and still in that raw pain following divorce, a good coach or therapist can help you reframe your thoughts and heal faster so, when you do want to begin dating, you are more prepared. Exercising your agency to carefully embrace supportive thoughts can help you turn over a new leaf and unchain your future from the burdens of old traumas and pain.
FEATURED THIS WEEK
LILY Pod Episode 101: Facts vs. Stories – Separating Them Out (46min)
LILY Tube: Coaching – What Are We Afraid Of? (8min)
LILY Tube Short: Why You Need a Coach in 2023 (1min)
About the Author
Jeff Teichert, and his wife Cathy Butler Teichert, are the founders of “Love in Later Years,” which ministers to Latter-day Saint single adults seeking peace, healing, and more joyful relationships. They are co-authors of the Amazon bestseller Intentional Courtship: A Mid-Singles Guide to Peace, Progress and Pairing Up in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Jeff and Cathy each spent nearly a decade in the mid-singles community and they use that experience to provide counsel and hope to mid-singles and later married couples through written articles, podcasts, and videos. Jeff and Cathy are both Advanced Certified Life Coaches and have university degrees in Family & Human Development. They are the parents of a blended family that includes four handsome sons, one lovely daughter-in-law, and a sweet baby granddaughter.
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