THE EMOTIONAL BANK ACCOUNT

I have previously mentioned the passing of Stephen Covey and one of his books ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’

This book had a big impact on me the first time I read it and still continues to teach me something new every time I read it.

Many of you have indicated that you would love to have the man of your dreams in your life and rightly so, this is in my opinion what we all deserve so I would like to share with you what he has written on what he calls ‘The Emotional Bank Account’.

Particularly for those of you who are spending time thinking deeply about the qualities and traits you would love to have in a man. What he writes is applicable to all our relationships, with our children, our family, our friends and our work colleagues.

It begins like this..

As we look back and survey the terrain to determine where we’ve been and where we are in relationship to where we are going we clearly see that we could not have gotten where we are without coming the way we came.  The landscape is covered with the fragments of broken relationships of people who have tried.  They have tried to jump into effective relationships without the maturity, the strength of character, to maintain them.  But you just can’t ‘do it’, you simply have to travel the road.  You can’t be successful with other people if you haven’t paid the price of success with yourself.

He shares a conversation with a man who was at one of his seminars, “You know Stephen I really don’t enjoy coming to these seminars.”  “Look at this beautiful coastline and the sea out there and all I can do is sit and worry about the grilling I’m going to get from my wife tonight on the phone.  She gives me the third degree every time I’m away.  “Was I in meeting all morning? What did I do in the evening?  Who was I with? and so on..  Then he said rather timidly,  “I guess she knows all the questions to ask, it was at a seminar like this that I met her…when I was married to someone else.”

Stephen said, “My friend, you can’t talk your way out of problems you behave yourself into.”
” You can’t have the fruits without the roots.”
“It’s the principle of sequencing, Private Victory precedes Public Victory.”
“Self-mastery and self-discipline are the foundation of good relationships with others.”
“If you don’t know yourself you can’t control yourself, it’s very hard to like yourself except in some short-term, psych-up, superficial way.”

The most important ingredient we put into any relationship is not what we say or what we do, but who we are.

If our words and our actions come from superficial human relations techniques rather than from our own inner core others will sense the duplicity.

The place to begin building any relationship is inside ourselves, inside our own circle of influence, our own character.

He then uses ‘The Emotional Bank Account’ as a metaphor that describes the amount of trust that’s been built up in a relationship.  It’s the feeling of safeness you have with another human being.  If I make deposits into an Emotional Bank Account  through courtesy, kindness, honesty and keeping my commitments to you I build up a reserve.  Your trust towards me becomes higher and others can call upon that trust many times if they need to.  When the trust account is high, communication is easy, instant and effective.

However if I have a habit of showing disrespect, cutting you off, overreacting, ignoring you, threatening you or playing little tin god in your life, eventually my Emotional Bank Account is overdrawn.  Now it’s tension city.  It’s protecting my backside.

Many organisations are filled with it.
Many families are filled with it and
Many marriages are filled with it.

If a large reserve of trust is not sustained by continuing deposits, a marriage will deteriorate.  Instead of rich, spontaneous understanding and communication, the situation becomes one of accommodation, where two people simply attempt to live independent life-styles in a fairly respectful and tolerant way.  The relationship may further deteriorate to one of hostility, fight or flight, verbal battles in a cold war at home sustained only by children, sex, social pressure or image protection. Or it may end up in open warfare in the courts where bitter legal battles can be carried on for years .

We are talking here about the most intimate, the most potentially rich, joyful and satisfying and productive relationship possible between two people on this earth.  Our most constant relationships, like marriage, require our most constant deposits.

Your thoughts, comments, personal story or suggestions are important to me.

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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ON DEATH AND DYING

It has been said that divorce is like a death. And in terms of life as you once knew it, it is! The death of your dreams, your plans for the future, and the commitment you both made to each other.

In her book ‘On Death and Dying’, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross talks about the Five Stages of Grief which can just as easily be applied to what is experienced through separation and divorce and it looks something like this although many of us go through different stages more than once.

Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. From my own experience and my experience with other women it rarely moves smoothly from one stage to the other, there is simply no beginning and end.  Most women take one step forward and two steps back repeatedly moving back through different phases over time until eventually reaching the point of acceptance.

Acceptance that the relationship really is over and there is no going back. Everyone travels this journey at a different pace, there is no right or wrong.  The important thing is that there is eventually a point at which you are able to start looking towards the future.

Denial:
This is when the shit has hit the fan, your partner has just pulled the rug out from under you and you are in a state of shock.  You spend your time talking about how things can be better, suggesting going to counseling to sort things out, pleading and begging for this not to happen and making all sorts of promises to make this stop. Eventually when all else has failed you move to the next phase Anger.

Anger:
I have seen some women move into this stage as if comatosed until the anger bubbles to the surface and the vitriolic outburst and physical expression of their anger would frighten a harden soldier.  This stage will be returned to time and time again as every little obstacle, upset, fight with one of the kids, running out of money, whatever daily instances that were once never that big a problem become yet another reason to unleash your anger.

I actually think it is a really good thing when you get to this stage.  The build up of all the fears, hurt, resentment, and hatred all erupt like a volcano and the sooner this happens the better.  You will call him for everything you can lay your tongue on and then when you’re done, you’re done.  After the anger has been spent you may move into the next phase.

Bargaining:
In this stage you will attempt to repair and undo the damage done to your life.

If you have caught you partner out in an affair he might swear that it will never happen again and promise you the world if you just stay.

If the thought of living without him scares the crap out of you, then pleading for him to stay might be your response.  In an instant you forget all the fights you had, all the annoying things he did that you complained about, all you see is your imagined future living on your own and struggling to survive.

Bargaining is a last ditch attempt at coming to terms with the decision to divorce.

Depression:
This is when the sadness really kicks in.  You might find yourself hitting the alcohol in an attempt to numb the pain, you listen to sad songs about breakups, watch the girly movies in your pj’s for days on end and live on ice-cream and other assorted comfort foods.

This is also the stage when you need to find a professional to help you.  Many women sink into the depths of depression and stay there for a very long time.  Feeling sad is normal but you need to be around people who will take you out of yourself from time to time, check in with a counselor or therapist so you can work through what needs to be done.  This can be a very difficult stage for many women and for many it is the time that doctors will prescribe anti-depressants.

A word of caution – ask your doctor to give you all the facts about anti-depressants, the possible side effects, the fact that you may become dependent on them just to function normally.  The body can provide you with another way of getting the same results without the risks through exercise.  Using exercise, even if you become somewhat addicted to it initially will certainly help you in many different ways.

Acceptance:
Once you reach this stage you will certainly feel much lighter and ready to start thinking about your future and getting on with your life.  There will be times over the next year or so when you have moments of regret and sadness for the lost dreams of happily ever after and till death do us part, but for the most part you are on the path to a new and different life.

In my work and in my own personal experience I know that there are thousands of women who will testify to the fact that their life is happier and more fulfilling after divorce than they ever thought was possible. 

Your thoughts, comments, personal story or suggestions are important to me.

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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HEARTBREAK HURTS LIKE CRAZY!

EMOTIONAL WOUNDS BURY THEMSELVES AT THE VERY CORE OF OUR BEING AS A RESULT OF SEPARATION AND DIVORCE

Today I am sharing some snippets from the delightful Martha Beck in my writing today.

‘Emotional Wounds’ we all have them.
Some from childhood experiences, our teenage years and lost love and relationships that came to an end.

In my role as a coach and mentor giving divorce advice for women a common question is about heartbreak.  Questions like ‘when will the pain go away?’

Many women use these words to describe how they feel, ‘my heart is broken,’ ‘my heart has been ripped open,’ ‘I can feel the pain in my heart.’

These words are in songs about lost love, and used by people in various stages of grief, whether related to separation and divorce or the loss a loved one through death.

A broken heart is a felt experience, there is literally pain felt in the heart region.

Our emotions are incredibly powerful and precise navigational tools and many of us have encountered circumstances that damaged our emotional wellbeing.  If you have managed to go through life without taking any shrapnel to the heart, you and I obviously aren’t living on the same planet.

Hemingway wrote that although life breaks us all, some of us manage to become strong at the broken places.

This happens naturally if an emotional wound has the right conditions to heal.  Some people who live in an emotionally safe environment start mending almost as soon as their injuries occur, the rest of us were on emotional battlefields where there wasn’t even a safe place to rest let alone anyone skilled enough to administer first aid.  So we patched our wounds as best we could and battled on, still bleeding, still carrying shrapnel in our souls.

Our self-doubt, fear and grief made us pull away from our desires and opportunities that would have been perfect for us if we had been in good emotional health.

When we stop to clean, dress and stitch up our emotional injuries it is a key step toward attaining the life you want.

Even if you achieve things that seem outwardly fabulous, or head into a new relationship an unhealed emotional injury will make you experience them as empty and unappealing.  These are the things that will keep coming up to bite you time and time again.

There is evidence that the body will store these emotional wounds for years and years and they can have a detrimental effect on your physical health of our bodies.

I thought I had done all that needed to be done for myself, forgiveness and acceptance until about 10 years later when I was doing a detox for a week it all came out as I was having a Reiki treatment. There were tears that seemed to come from nowhere that flowed, non stop for about 24 hours.  I’ll never forget that day or the words that came out of my mouth.  Strong ugly words that I would normally never use to describe how I felt about what had happened years before.

The reality is that we all need time to grieve, it is the bodies natural way of helping us heal, but sometimes we need to get some external help to release some of these deep core tightly held emotions.  Before you head off into a new relationship my advice to you is this, ‘do whatever you need to do to clear up the emotional wounds and blocks before you enter into a new relationship.’

Practicing mediation, massages, working with a body worker and energy healer, Reiki, EFT or other similar techniques are all there to help you.

What was your personal experience of feeling your heart break?

Your thoughts, comments, personal story or suggestions are important to me.

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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A New You

It’s a new year, so let’s think about a new you!

Are you finding it really hard to even get dressed in the mornings you feel so bad about what’s going on around you.

I get that!  We all have had days just like that, and even days when we just thought “What the hell, I’m just gonna stay in bed all day”.

And then eventually (and hopefully soon) you reach the stage where you just get so over yourself you find yourself boring.

Great!  Awesome!  Exciting!  This is real progress and calls for some celebration.

This is also the perfect time to think about some repackaging.

Repackaging you that is.

How long is it since you treated yourself to a new outfit?  And when you think about repackaging yourself, as you look in the mirror, what do you notice that you would like to update, or to be different?

Your hairstyle and colour perhaps? Your makeup?  Or your wardrobe?  Or the whole lot?

If you have the financial resources engage a stylist to come in and assist with your makeover.

If not, grab your bestie – he or she might the only one who will be totally honest with you.

If money is really tight just buying a new lipstick and making the decision to put some every single morning will begin to make a change in how you feel.  Trust me, I’ve been there 🙂

Sit down and make a list of all the things you want to change about your appearance. Start at the top with the hair and makeup. Do an honest appraisal of your wardrobe and perhaps it’s time to do a clean sweep.  Throw out the old and make way for the new.

Treat yourself to a visit to a day spa, a massage, a facial, a manicure and pedicure.

Just imagine how it will make you feel as you begin this process of transforming your appearance.

Just imagine how this change in your appearance will affect other areas of your life.

Just imagine the people who will begin to notice you.

Just imagine the experiences that may be waiting for you.

You looking so damn hot that you find yourself irresistible.

Your thoughts, comments, personal story or suggestions are important to me.

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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SCARED, AFRAID AND OUT OF CONTROL?

The end of a relationship can be downright scary.

The thoughts of starting all over again will have waves of emotion including fear washing all over you.

So much of your life is changing, what was once just your ‘normal’ life is no more.

For most people it is going through the motions, day by day, simply to get through the things that must to be done. And right there constantly with you are thoughts running through your mind that are making you feel afraid. Fear of the future, fear of the unknown, fear of being alone, fear of not know how you will get through this, fear of financial insecurity, fear of having to to it all on your own, fear that your children will be suffering, fear that you will never have that special someone in your life again, fear that you will grow old all alone, fear that you are not loveable, and so it goes.

So many women go into overwhelm at this time, I’ve been there too!  The thoughts begin to spiral out of control and take you deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole. When you are in the thick of it sometimes just going with it for a while helps, no resistance just letting it flow through you and over you until it’s time to start doing something different.

There is no time frame I can give to for how long it will take for you to get to the place where you are ready to take the next big step.  For women who work with a coach or a counsellor the time will certainly be much shorter, doing it on your own, relying on family and friends will take a whole lot longer and there is a chance you will take all your resentments and anger with you into the future.

If you have decided that you want to turn your life around as soon as possible a great place to start is by beginning to think about and keeping your eye on the bigger goal, the better days, and how you want things to be different starting today.

Focusing only on your future, on the time when everything is as it should be again, the time when you feel at peace again, knowing that you have come through this all in one piece, healthy and healed and happy. A new found sense of inner peace and living and loving life again, truly living this time around.

Make use of the power of visualisation to propel you forward.

Did you know that the mind doesn’t know the difference between what is real and what is imagined?

Did you know that our futures are created in our minds first?

Start right now thinking about how you want your life to be, and the more detail you can add the better.

When you focus on these things really get in touch with what this future feels likes, imagine in your minds eye what it looks like, really allow yourself to feel what it feels like, I want you to close your eyes as you do this and allow the sensations of having this new life to flow through your body, notice what you hear, the sounds around you, the peoples voices, perhaps your children laughing and playing.

Redesign your life just as you paint a picture of it exactly the way you want to.  Imagine the new people you have in your life, the fun you are having, and embrace a deep knowing within that you have never experienced before. This new awareness that you really do have the power to create your future and that it all starts in your imagination.  Put all of your desires ahead of your fears every step of the way, always keeping your eye on the bigger picture.

You will still have moments of fear, hey, you are human after all, this is normal.  With a new found awareness and consistently coming back with your focus on your future over time you will discover that as you  move past these fears you find the flip side of fear, courage.  Eventually you will see it as a faithful and trusted friend that can be relied upon to be your guide. Courage to continue on when things get tough and do whatever it takes to get your life back on track.

I love this little snippet I read about how Bruce Springsteen approaches his moments of fear before he goes on stage to perform.  (fear has many different faces) He was asked if he ever gets nervous and fearful before he goes on stage and he said no, “my palms get sweaty, perspiration runs down my face, my heart starts pounding and when that happens I know I am pumped.

“Simply by changing the meaning behind the fear, changes everything.”

Change is never painful, only resistance to change is painful. Buddha

 

Your thoughts, comments, personal story or suggestions are important to me.

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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DID YOU USE A ‘HEART STARTER’

Have you heard the term DEFRIBRILLATOR?

The word defibrillator means, in medical terms, “treatment for any abnormal activity of the heart … defibrillator consists of delivering a therapeutic dose of electrical energy to the affected area of the heart”

It’s a new phrase coined by actress Jennifer Aniston when she announced that the actor and comedian Vince Vaughan had been her defibrillator man, after her painful divorce from Brad Pitt.

‘He brought me back to life,’ the actress said in an interview. ‘He made me laugh, and put the spring back in my step.’

Newly divorced women need ‘defibrillator’ men to shock them back to life before they start a serious relationship. From the viewpoint of most people, there seemed little chance that the somewhat chubby Vaughan was ever going to step into the shoes of her ex.  But, like so many other women who have been through divorce, Aniston felt the need for a fling which wasn’t going to go anywhere, but which would re-establish her faith in herself as a sexy, fun woman.  Vince Vaughn was the ‘defibrillator’ she needed after the breakup of her relationship with Brad Pitt.

And I agree, after divorce women feel deflated, they lack confidence and they are very wary of falling into the same trap again.
In my experience, newly divorced women want a man as different from their ex-husband as possible.
‘Jennifer Aniston choosing Vince Vaughan was a classic case. Whereas Brad was short, blond and most famous for his looks, Vince was tall, dark and bubbling over with cheery good humour. He would have been easy-going, made Jennifer laugh and offered her friendship as much as romance.’

Many women use them as a way of putting themselves back in the driving seat after a marriage that has spiralled out of control and left them feeling as if they have no self-worth and the issue of control is vital for divorced women in defibrillator relationships.

Annie 52, and works as an office manager. She lives in North London, and has two grown-up children. Annie says: ‘My defibrillator relationship after my divorce was hilarious – something I would never have done as the staid stay-at-home mother I was before.’

Like Shirley Valentine, the formerly prim middle-class mother cast caution to the winds and jetted off to the South of France with a millionaire businessman for a weekend of passionate romance.
‘It was never going anywhere,’ she says, ‘but it made the world of difference to how I felt about myself.

I’m curious to know how many of you had a defibrillator relationship after your divorce and what it meant to you.

I’ll put my hand up first here.  Yes, I did – and yes he was a complete opposite to my ex-husband and although it was also never going to go anywhere and nor did I want it to, it was nevertheless a time in my life that I will always remember with wonderful memories, and special friendship that will last forever.

Your thoughts, comments, personal story or suggestions are important to me.

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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WHAT BRINGS YOU JOY?

JOY – the dictionary defines it as a feeling of great delight or pleasure, bliss, ecstasy. Pretty big words aren’t they?

Some of you may be wondering if you will never feel joyful ever again.

Let’s talk about JOY! Before we do I want you to remember a time when you did feel joy at the very core of your being. For me it was at the birth of my children. A depth of feeling that I had never experienced before and Joy is the perfect word to describe that feeling for me.

What’s your most memorial moment?

According to Martha Beck there are two rules for using joy to chart a course for your own North Star, that place of coming home to who you are.

Rule No 1. If it brings you joy, do it.

Rule No 2. No, really.  If it brings you joy, do it.

In fact, if the only thing you ever did was fill your life with the people, things and activities that bring you genuine joy you’d find your own North Star almost immediately.  Naturally this isn’t as easy as it sounds.  Many people know they don’t want quiet desperation, boredom, perpetual anger or outright despair, but that doesn’t really help them know what they do want.

To chart your course in life by the compass of joy, you must first understand how genuine, core-deep happiness looks, feels, sounds, smells and tastes.

Pleasure and suffering are opposites, joy and suffering are not.  Anyone who has felt the pain of bearing a child, or pushed past physical limits in some athletic event or struggled to learn difficult but powerful truths, been through a heartbreaking divorce understands that suffering can be an integral part of the most profound joy.  In fact, once the suffering has ended, having experienced it seems to magnify the capacity to feel pleasure and delight.

“Joy happens when you finally fall in love with the whole span of life, even the parts that hurt.” 

Your love for yourself and others for the whole process of life and growth and loss and death is so strong it somehow illuminates your suffering and pain.  In the end, it’s all joyful.

Rachael, said “I became truly happy after I lost everything at once, a baby (who was stillborn), my job, and my marriage.  As I lived through that I broke down completely but then I began to feel a kind of cushion beneath me, like a net below a circus acrobat.

I realised that by accepting my sadness and then going beyond it I could find a deep source of happiness inside myself, one that will be in my life as long as I am”.

This kind of joy, the kind that runs deep and broad, requires facing and mastering all the painful experiences we’ve discussed in the previous posts. It means making yourself stand and face the things you fear long before you have had a change to develop courage.  It means allowing grief to wash over you when you really think you’ll drown in it.  It means channeling rage into compassionate action when you long to commit mayhem.  I hate that, but I’ve never found a way around it.  To be a true hedonist to chart your course by joy you need a strong moral center and some serious guts.

Albert Camus wrote, ‘In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.”

The confidence that your capacity to experience joy is internal and indestructible grows as you let go of joyful experiences and find that they are replaced by others even more wonderful.  You can learn to hold your own happiness lightly by remembering that you are its source, and that there is an infinite supply.

Kicking the suffering habit….   I personally don’t believe in suffering for its own sake.  Enduring a thankless, painful life doesn’t mean that you deserve happiness as a kind of recompense:  It just means you’re enduring a thankless, painful life. 

And if I’m going to suffer it better be for a damn good reason.  It better yield me more joy than it costs.  If not, I will do anything I can to avoid it and I advise all  my clients to do the same.  This is a profound sacrifice for the martyrs among us.  The truth is that people will love you much more honestly and easily if you give up suffering and fill your life with joy.  More importantly, you will be expressing love toward yourself.  This will increase your capacity for happiness and spill over into your behaviour toward others so that you start bringing them joy as well.

The happier you are, the more joyful the whole world becomes.

Your thoughts, comments, personal story or suggestions are important to me.

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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WHAT’S GOING ON INSIDE YOUR HEAD?

What’s Going on Inside Your Head?

My guess is that you are already aware that our minds are really, really active, you know that, ‘monkey chatter’ that is constantly going on and on inside our heads.

It has been recorded that we have between 40-60 thousand thoughts a day!

95% are the same from day to day.

80% are automatic negative thoughts.

Just thinking about that is in itself enough to ‘blow our minds.’

How they work out those numbers I have no idea.   What I do know is that each one of those thoughts is always influencing your perception of reality, your experience of life and will be having an impact on your body in some way.  How you are feeling in the moment and where in your body you are feeling it.

Now what really interests me and one of the biggest challenges my clients seem to face is that we are only consciously aware of a handful of these thoughts when in fact we are self suggesting all the time.

 What do I mean by ‘self-suggesting?’

These thoughts we are having, our internal dialogue and the images we are making about these thoughts are shifting and shaping our reality.

Now consider this, every single word we say to ourselves, every single word that comes out of our mouths, every single thought that we think is a suggestion to ourselves.

Just knowing this is huge!  Creating more and more awareness of how you are talking to yourself is key to making huge changes in how you see the world around you and how you experience life.

Even as you make simple changes you will begin to notice a huge difference in how you respond to the world around you.  Once I became aware of the power and control of my internal dialogue and I changed my internal dialogue every time I became aware of what was going on, my world really changed in a powerful and positive way.

 Let’s call this a little ‘thought’ experiment.

I would like to invite you to do this and just notice for yourself what’s different.  In the way you feel, the way you think about yourself and the way you think about what is possible for you and for your life.

Grab yourself a notebook or a journal and begin to jot down the thoughts you are having that really just make you feel crappy.  And straight away turn that thought around to one that flips it on its head and notice how this new thought makes you feel.

Try these ones to get you started.   And say them out loud!

My life is an emotional roller coaster

My life is a journey

How could I be so stupid and do a thing like that?

What could I have done differently in that situation?

What an idiot I am to fall for a guy like him, what is wrong with me?

 I am so glad I got to experience that relationship, I’m really clear now about what I really want!

I can guarantee that when you do this you on a regular basis it will open up your mind to notice new opportunities and possibilities.

You are already choosing to think about what is going on in your world in a certain way, so test out what happens when you choose to think differently

What you choose to think is always totally up to you!

“THINKING MAKES A WONDERFUL SERVANT AND A TERRIBLE MASTER”

What steps are you prepared to take to become the master of your thoughts?

Your thoughts, comments, personal story or suggestions are important to me.

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

If you are struggling to know what to do and who to talk to following your breakup, follow this link to schedule a time to chat with Jenny https://Divorcedwomensclub.as.me/

 

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