Post-Divorce Hilly: Why, Hello, Dahling!

I’m delighted to welcome Hilly as my Guest Blogger today.  Hilly responded to a Facebook post on the Divorced Women’s Club page by sharing the link to her article, this morning I took some time to read it, more than once 🙂 and I love it…….  I hope you enjoy her writing as much as I did.

Welcome to Post-Divorce Hilly. I’m sitting in my favorite sushi-Thai restaurant in a perfect little corner, on my laptop, waxing reflectively. A few months ago, while still married, I impassively missed this very scenario which had for so many years been a part of my life before marriage. Chunks of my entire life have been spent in restaurants this way, pad and paper(s) spread across the table with a copy of whatever book I was into, or, laptop (in later years) glowing on said book, fingers wildly hammering out thoughts before they escaped my head. Or just the book, splayed open with a sugar holder or set of salt and pepper shakers. Whatever.

During busy lunches and slow, 5:00 PM-early-bird dinners, over a lovely cup of tea-bliss, in the lilt and lull of foreign tongues and clinking cleared-away cups, I mulled the things I read, found the parts I related to, and churned over the parts I did not. I parsed out my life in fairly unremarkable keyboard chapters. Poetry, songs, fiction and non….(bless this keyboard I bang on. HA. Sorry.)…plays, scenes– that book I’ve started and stopped since Moses wore short pants…..

I write and read in this scene far better than I do in the quiet bosom of my own home. The goings-on become white noise, until that ONE damn kid can’t stop kicking my chair or clanking their metal spoon against the water glass, which Mummy finds so darling, especially when he hops out of the booth and goes barreling down the aisle with a wooooooooosh and a banshee wail.

“Isn’t he precious? Now he’s a truck!”  (Yes, Mummy, dearest, and I wish the front axle would snap off his cab so he’d careen off the……).

But the writing. The purposeful reading in places that inspired me, free of home distraction. The love of looking up for a pause and seeing life go on around me, all of its moving parts, in people bustling and in their actions and faces.

Why had I stopped?

This was not an abandonment of self, before we traverse down that road. This is not that huge and popular statement on women in marriage, that “losing myself” in the gnarly-knuckled fist of institutional patriarchy, etc. etc.; no. This was just a turn I took because something else pulled my attention away for a spell. A 4-year-spell.

Why did it happen?

Why does anyone stop doing certain things they love to do? Maybe as a show of consideration toward a significant other? Maybe just not time enough? In my case, when there was a choice of doing something in free time, I mostly chose to do things with my partner. It’s kind of the point, n’est-ce pas? Having a partner with whom to do things? We did many things together, and I didn’t notice or miss the practice of purposefully dining/having tea alone whilst creating. Until one day, I did.

Creative casualty.

Laze. It is too easy not to explore, to discover, to spill, to wrap up, to release, to mull, to orchestrate, to produce, to bear fruit. This is choosing the couch over the walk in the park at the end of May: you know it will thrill you if you can. just. get. up. And go. But Neflix just released the 4th Season of the Dr. McNuggets hospital drama…..and the decision is made, and the page is left unread, and the word left unwritten, and the brain bleeds from being spoon-fed a story you didn’t take the time to read or write yourself.

And you turn your back on who you are, on God, really, when you think of it. My mother always said, “It’s a sin to waste God’s gifts.” Who are you to sidestep what God gives you???

Parallel and akin to, “Oh- you’re not going to church again? You don’t have one hour for God?” I’ll have an hour next week, right? Dr. McShitbird ended last season in a widely publicized affair with Datia, the 11-fingered Ukranian Foreign Exchange Student turned Candy Stripe-trix. God understands.

My point (there might be one) is that we sometimes make decisions to stop cultivating significant pieces of who we are for spells. It’s okay. I was never empty-handed. I was filled in other ways, and in result, seem no worse for the wear. I didn’t fully stop reading, I didn’t fully stop writing, I didn’t ever stop being Hilly, I just stopped this particular routine and took up others for a while.

I am glad to have this time again, and I’m glad to sit and sip with an old friend.

If you enjoyed this article visit her website here:  http://tippyteacup.com

Visit our website: www.divorcedwomensclub.com.au

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WILL I STAY OR WILL I GO?

According to ‘statistics’ about 1/5th of all people in relationships can’t decide whether to stay or leave.  That’s 2 people in every 10 in a relationship are not sure whether they want to stay with their partner.  Now every relationship has it’s moments when things are pretty rocky, life, work, kids and unexpected events deal some challenging blows from time to time and many couples manage to work through these times together.  However, living every day with the internal struggle going on is not a great place to be and many people, (myself included) spend a few years sorting the why’s, the what if’s, the if only’s as well as the conflict of violating their values around family.

Let’s explore this ‘will I stay or will I leave’ dilemma in more detail.

For me it really was a case of weighing up the pros and cons at the time and attempting to make the decision based on how these balanced out for me – using logic clearly was not the right approach and never one that I would recommend anyone to use, the scales will tip from one to the other on any given day and living in a constant state of ambivalence is mentally and emotionally draining.

Ambivalence in your heart is another matter entirely and goes hand and hand with the distance you will be feeling in your relationship. From my personal experience when you get to this point you no longer want to spend much time with your partner, you talk less and less about important things, both parties end up emotionally detached and the distance between you gets wider and wider.

Here’s the thing!

Your relationship is either too good to leave or too bad to stay, it can never be both and the problem for most people in this situation is not knowing how to really figure out what to do.

Here are some questions to help you get to the heart of the matter, questions for you to ponder that may help you get more clarity and in turn help you reach a decision one way or the other. I would suggest that you write down your answers to each question and come back to them a few days later and see if there is anything you would change or add to your responses.

    1. Take yourself back to when things were at there best between you. Would you now say that things were really, really good?
    2. Has there been more than one incidence of physical violence in your relationship?
    3. Have you already thought about what a course of action that excludes your partner? (In other words have you been mentally preparing to leave?)
    4. If God or some omniscient being said it was okay to leave, would you feel tremendously relieved and have a strong sense that finally you would end your relationship?
    5. In spite of your problems do you and your partner have at least one pleasurable activity or interest (besides children) you currently share and look forward to sharing in the future, that you both like and gives a feeling of closeness?
    6. Are you in a relationship with a power person? If so, then any and all of your needs are a threat to his power. If ever you do get what you want is it such an ordeal that you don’t even feel it was worth all the effort?
    7. Do you have a basic, recurring feeling of humiliation or invisibility in your relationship?
    8. Have you gotten to the point when your partner says something that you usually feel it’s more likely that he’s lying than that he’s telling the truth?
    9. Do you feel willing to give your partner more than you’re giving already, and are you willing to do this the way things are between you now without any expectation of being paid back?
    10. Do both you and your partner want to touch each other and look forward to touching each other? Things like kissing, hugging, holding hands, cuddling. Taking into consideration that some people are just not the touchy feelie type have you or your partner moved to the point where there is no physical affection?

Ideally for couples going through a difficult time in their relationship couple therapy can be very helpful, however this will only ever be productive if both parties are fully committed to the process and in many cases one of the people involved has already made the decision internally and hasn’t been clearly articulated verbally.  Any signs of resistance to this process or other suggestions to work through problems together I would see as red flags.

If you have been struggling to come to terms with an inner discontent for some time and you have reached the threshold and ready now to step over it, if you know there is no going back, then you have reached the tipping point, when you know you are done.

Connect with me by clicking the link below to find out the next steps you need to take before you speak to a lawyer.

Visit our website: https://www.divorcedwomensclub.com.au

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Jenny is an advocate and champion for women rediscovering themselves through the process of divorce.

HOW DOES YOUR LANGUAGE INFLUENCE HOW YOU FEEL?

I’m always interested in the metaphors people use to describe what is going on in their lives little realising that the language we use whether that is the way we talk to ourselves, about ourselves or about what is going on in our lives actually shape our experience and perceptions and hold such power over how we manage some of life’s challenges.

On a Soul.TV episode I had a viewer write in with the following, “I have experienced a run of incidents that impacted me negatively and turned my life upside down. I want to know whether these events were all ‘part of the plan,’ because I am struggling to cope with my life.

As a coach my job is to dig deeper to get to the heart of what is really going on for my clients. In this particular example we don’t know what those run of incidents were, exactly how they impacted her negatively and what her life being turned upside down looks like. There is also a whole lot of very important information missing from the question she asked and there would be a whole lot of questions I would be asking to help her gain more insight, investigate further the mysterious ‘plan’ and in the process she may realise that she has inadvertently given responsibility for taking control of her life over to some nebulous ‘plan.’

We don’t always like or want the things that happen in our lives, our partner decides to leave us, we are made redundant in our job, we are impacted by financial circumstances, someone we love dearly gets ill, all of these things are part of the human experiences and out of our control.

I do believe however that the biggest difference in people are those who take personal responsibility for their life, their decisions, good and bad, and question themselves and their actions.  ‘What is the lesson here for me?,’ “What could I have done differently?” Using language that is empowering will help find solutions to  problems and discover the steps to take to change the things that are simply not working well.

Over the next week or two take particular notice of the language you use on a daily basis. If you find yourself using metaphors to describe something, write them down and think about what they mean to you and also pay particular attention to the way your language affects the way you feel and what events and circumstances show up during the day.

Jenny xx

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ARE YOU SURRENDERING YOURSELF IN YOUR RELATIONSHIPS?

In most relationships, whether they be with a spouse, family and friends or work colleagues we compromise ourselves in some way, to either keep the peace, avoid confrontation or to be accepted, liked and even loved.

Most relationships involve a great degree of compromise simply to allow the other person to maintain their individuality, pursue their own interests and have a different circle of friends. All of which I believe contribute to making the relationship not only more interesting but more importantly allowing both people to grow as individuals within the relationship.

For separated families to put their children’s very best interests ahead of personal feelings or opinions also involves compromise and when the relationship is strained this can be incredibly challenging.

And of course, some things are just not worth making a big deal about much of the time but at what point does ‘biting your tongue’ become something much more?

At what point does compromising become problematic?

Where does it start and where does it end?

Generally when the stakes are high! And they are if our usual response is to avoid any sort of confrontation or voice our opinion on a particular topic, or stating to someone that what they did really pissed us off and when our voice is no longer heard.

This can happen in relationships in very subtle ways. For example if you are telling your friend, partner or work colleague about something that happen during the day and not only are they not listening, they will cut you off mid sentence to tell you something about themselves.

When this becomes a common pattern real communication will cease to exist and the relationship itself will be compromised.

Or conversely

  • When you are too afraid to express your true feelings
  • When your opinion no longer counts
  • When you have been put down so many times that you just keep everything to yourself
  • When you are ridiculed for your opinion
  • When you no longer even know how to express your needs
  • When you no longer feel that you deserve to have an opinion
  • When you no longer even care because you feel worthless
  • When you no longer even know what you think

What most of us don’t realize until we’ve allowed our own sense of self-worth and self-respect to reach rock bottom is that in every moment, situation, and relationship that we do not honor and value ourselves, we are compromising who we really are and thus abandoning, betraying, and ultimately hurting ourselves far more deeply than we know.

I thought I would share with you some tips on Finding Your Voice Again, from my “6 Steps To Getting Your Life Back On Track” ebook.

I remember quite some time ago seeing the movie ‘Runaway Bride’ with Richard Gere and Julia Roberts. There was one particular scene in the movie that really stood out for me and it relates well to this step, finding your voice again.

In this scene Richard Gere asks Julia Roberts ‘how do you like your eggs?’ and she replies ‘how do you like yours?’

This also reminds me of a client who broke down in tears and said to me, ‘I don’t even know what my favourite colour is!’

In the role Julia Roberts played in this movie she had absolutely no idea how she liked her eggs, she had never allowed herself to realize that she could choose to have them anyway she liked and asked for them just the way she liked them.

“How do you like your eggs?”

Exercise

Time to make your voice heard.

Over the next few weeks I would like you to begin to pay particular attention to the times, when for the sake of keeping the peace, or perhaps thinking it’s not that important, you stay silent rather than speaking up or voice your opinion on some topic.

I’m not saying that all of a sudden you become someone who challenges everyone or everything. The purpose of this exercise is simply one of creating more self-awareness. It can often be some of the little things that we let go without comment that eventually lead to becoming our natural way of responding in most situations. Your voice is important and your voice deserves to be heard. It’s time now to find YOUR voice again.

Next time you go to a restaurant with friends or family, take particular notice of how you read the menu. How do you choose what you are going to order? Do you wait to find out what everyone else is having?

Or as you read the menu do you imagine what the food will look like and taste like? Perhaps you may find it really difficult to make a decision at all. This is just one example of any number of different situations that you may begin to notice how you make decisions and when you choose not to say something even though you disagree.

If you would like to chat to Jenny about anything at all, even your favourite wine click here to schedule a time https://calendly.com/jenny-smith-1/what-s-going-on-in-your-world

 

Got Kids? Getting Divorced? – Guest Author Amy Bell Shares Some Insights

Our special guest Author Amy Bell shares some words of wisdom.

So, for whatever reasons, you and your partner have decided you don’t want to be together anymore and you want to know the best course of action for your kids.

Do you want to avoid having kids who are stressed, anxious, upset and conflicted?

Would you like your kids to feel as secure, supported and happy as possible during this time of transition?

Do you want to experience less stressful days, move on and settle into your new circumstances faster?

Divorce is an incredible opportunity to powerfully demonstrate particular beliefs about the world, how things work and what is possible to your children. What is it that you would like to demonstrate to your children? Do you want children who believe that when a marriage ends it is a painful experience, ? Do you want children who know that when life doesn’t go to plan you can adapt and move on to the next wonderful thing?

That human beings hurt each other and are controlled by their emotions or that human beings are supportive, flexible, adaptable, resilient and resourceful. How are you going about demonstrating that through your current behaviour and interactions with your ex, your children and your other family members and friends?

Find a way to continue to love your ex as the father of your children. This is the best thing you can do for your kids right now. He is their father and they love him. His relationship with them is just as important as yours is with them. Show respect for the bond between them. Show respect for your children and their feelings. If you diss their father it hurts them. You can go to a girlfriends place who you know you can trust to keep it between you and vent all you like. Make sure her kids are not there. You think you can get away with a few bad words about their father on the phone because your kids are watching tv? To one of the mums or teachers at school? You can’t. Kids pick up on everything. They see you. They hear you. And if it’s not your own kids it’ll be someone else’s that heard it from somewhere and when it gets back to your kids it hurts them. Besides, it won’t do you any favours either. Remember what you want to demonstrate to your children. Are you operating from this space?

Here’s an quick little exercise to play with: Replay either an interaction between you and someone else where you have talked about your ex or an interaction between you and your ex. Step back and see yourself there. See the interaction playing out between these two people. Notice what you are communicating both verbally and non verbally. Notice the tone in your voice, your physiology, muscle tension etc. What are you demonstrating to your kids and the world in your behaviour during these interactions?

During your initial conversations with your children set some frames for what they can expect during the days and weeks to come. Explain that there may be days when you are upset, stressed, etc and that’s ok. They’re all perfectly reasonable emotions and that even when you’re upset, you’re ok. This is temporary and it will pass. Explain that it’s ok for them to feel whatever they’re feeling too. Have some discussion around what is expected of everyone and how you can best go about supporting each other during this time.

And look, you will have your moments. It’s perfectly ok to let your kids know that you’re having a tough day, in fact I would encourage you to communicate this to your children when you do. Meaning makers that we are, the more open we can be about how we’re feeling leaves less room for other people to make up their own meanings about that. If we notice that someone is upset or angry, it is very easy to make that mean that we are to blame. Kids can make all kinds of assumptions, that it is something that they did to make you upset, or something their father did. When you explain that you are upset, they don’t need to know the details. Keep it chunked up, don’t burden them with your worries or make it about their father. “I’m adjusting to our new circumstances” , “I’m problem solving” “there are a lot of details to work out when people get divorced and I’m feeling overwhelmed” whatever it may be. And remind them that this is temporary. It won’t hurt to remind yourself of this either.

And here’s the good news, human beings ARE incredibly resilient and adaptable and each of us possess a wealth of internal resources that assist us in challenging times. How you approach this time of transition as a family is up to you.

This is some very general advice and I recognise and appreciate that every set of circumstances, every parent and every child are unique. I don’t believe in a one size fits all and my approach in my coaching work is very much tailored and customised to suit each individual client. If you would like some personalised advice or if there’s ever anything I can help you with, please feel free to get in touch with me any time.

If you would like to chat to Jenny about anything at all, even your favourite wine click here to schedule a time https://calendly.com/jenny-smith-1/what-s-going-on-in-your-world

CHASING YOUR DREAMS OR RUNNING FROM DEMONS?

This is the first in a series of posts by K.M Harris who is an aspiring Writer from New Zealand with connections to the Ngapuhi tribe, and tribes in the Bay of Plenty and East Coast regions. ‘Real experiences from real people’ is the kind of writing she enjoys producing and ‘reality reads’ is what she calls it.  I am delighted to have her on board as a guest blogger.

Before the start line.
‘Chasing your dreams or running from demons?’ is a quote I read off the back of an old man’s t-shirt at the start line of the 2013 Sydney Blackmores Half Marathon. Hundreds of people gathered at Milsons Point that crisp, early September spring morning for the start of what would be another leg-killing race, but nothing could’ve frozen me more than the words scribbled on that mans t-shirt.

‘Chasing your dreams or running from demons?’
The words spoke to me.
The words spoke to me loud and clear.
The words spoke to me loud and clear as if the Devil wanted to screw with my head right before the race like he’d kinda already done in the previous 3 years – and didn’t want me to forget it. To have a reality confront me in such a strong but subtle way, made me think how I’d not prepared myself for such a mental curveball, because the truth was, in that very moment, I was doing both; chasing my dreams in Sydney to pursue my creative writing, whilst secretly running from the demons that plagued me from my DIVORCE.

And #divorce and #running is why you – the reader – and I – the writer are here today. I’m here to share my journey of divorce paralleling my running adventures, in the hope that my story reaches out to HELP women (and men if it resonates with them) going through a separation or divorce, or even a major relationship break up. I can’t say my posts will have all the answers, but through my own lived experience, they will provide an insight to hopefully encourage and uplift you through your situation.

Doing a time-jump from 2013 to 2011 will take us both to the outdoor dining area of a home in Titrangi, New Zealand owned by a very good Army Sister of mine and her (now ex) husband. In mine and Julzi’s company was another dear Army Sister of ours who I hadn’t seen since I left the New Zealand Army in 2007.

Side note: yes, I am ex military. I joined the New Zealand Army in 2002 and after serving and working for them as a soldier and civilian at Linton Military Camp, decided to leave and move to Australia with my ex-husband to pursue the riches of the MINES.

Back to Titirangi to the glowing fire that flickered before Julzi, Aroha and I and our glasses of Muscato wine that we sipped….

I’m not sure if it were ‘liquid courage’ that prompted us to talk deeply about mine and Aroha’s separations, or if the depth of our hearts crying out was why we opened up, but we touched on our heartache situations that night and it really hit me hard. Months beforehand, I had searched the internet tirelessly for stories on women who had been through divorce because I wanted to HELP myself going through the lead up to mine…but found nothing!
Nothing.
Anywhere.

So the conversation I had with Julzi and Aroha that night provoked me to say ‘I want to write stories on women going through divorce to help other women going through it too’ because I knew I wasn’t the only woman in the world searching for such stories.

Fast forward to May 2012 where in the dining room of the place I was living at the time in Henderson, Auckland, I stood opening an envelope containing my divorce papers. My marriage was officially dissolved as per the court document in my hand from Western Australia where it was filed, and at 28 years old, one other thing became official too; I was BROKEN.

Yes, I broke down and wept on the spot almost as perfectly as what Hollywood would portray in a drama movie and yes, I didn’t go to work for a few days afterwards because I physically, mentally and emotionally couldn’t. The onset of depression at 28 years old was on its way to becoming RIFE in my LIFE.

But as much as I held the papers to the end of my life in my hands (at that point in time) little did I know that I actually cradled a golden ticket that in time, would show it’s real beauty to me. A week after I received my divorce papers, I began applying for work overseas so I could help myself through it away from my family and friends and everything that reminded me of my marriage. To be honest, I didn’t know what else to do because I’d tried counselling and had done the whole ‘apologising and owning my wrongs’ thing, but nothing seemed to help. On top of that, I really did want to write the stories I had mentioned to Julzi and Aroha, but knew New Zealand wasn’t the place to make that happen.

So in June 2012, after 3 weeks of doing medical tests and successfully gaining my maritime ticket to work on cruise ships, I left New Zealand permanently to work out of Sydney on P&O Cruises as Youth Security and eventually, a Ship Security Specialist. This incredible journey of connecting with international people whilst concurrently gaining some healing from the security team I became close to, eventually led me to setting up residence in Sydney, Australia where I have been since.

And that is why I say the quote I saw that September morning back in 2013, confronted me and resonated with me hugely, because after all I had been through, I truly was chasing my dreams and running from my demons.

Running and divorce (or long-term relationship break ups) are – in my opinion – very similar; both are painful, but depending on how you deal with them, both are extremely rewarding too. Like anything, it’s up to you as to how YOU look at it, and how you go through the process of getting through it.

A run – whether it be a few kilometres or an ultra marathon race – takes effort when trying to get to something as simple as the start line. The mind has to be in #starplayer mode, and you have to know that as much as it’s not going to be easy to run the distance, it’s going to be ‘ok’. The same is with a permanent relationship disconnection, it takes effort to get up everyday knowing your new journey is going to be WITHOUT that significant other person. Life won’t be the same anymore, and you will go through hills of heartache, plateaus of monotony, and slopes of the soul and spirit tumbling downhill. But you must know in your heart and mind, that everything will be ‘ok’ and the journey has it’s purpose and higher reason in your life.

So over the next few months, I want to share how my divorce parallels my actual love for running, and the physical, nutritional and recovery training I’ve already done, and am yet to do. As of this morning, I have a goal time of 1 hour, 45 minutes and 12 seconds to beat in a half marathon, and with every ounce of MANA I have in me, I am determined to CRUSH it. In the process, I hope my posts encourage you the reader, to work through your relationship break-up and hopefully get yourself outside in the fresh air to help find yourself in that way too. Put your technology on pause for an hour or two and GIVE yourself some selfish goodness by getting your heart rate up with a bit of exercise.

Lastly, please watch Simon Sineick’s TED talk on ‘How great leaders inspire action.’ He touches on doing things from a ‘WHY’ purpose instead of a ‘WHAT’ reason which when you watch it, will make total sense. I constantly go back to my ‘WHY’ all the time to make sure I’m doing right by me first and foremost, so with writing these posts for you, please know my ‘why’ purpose for doing so, is to genuinely help you through your situation.

On my business card, a quote by Norman B. Rice reads:Dare to reach out your hand into the Darkness, to pull another hand into the Light’ which I found on the internet in 2011 when I was searching for ‘reality reads’ on divorce. As I mentioned earlier, I didn’t find any stories, but I did find that quote that’s resonated with me ever since.

So having pulled myself out of my Darkness into the Light, I hope to genuinely help you through yours. Now that I’ve overcome my demons, I think it’s fair to say 100%, that I’m on my way to chasing my DREAMS, so join me on my ‘race’ if you will…

As they say in the NZSAS – who dares, WINS!

With love and kindness always,

K.M Harris.

GIRLFRIENDS AND MISGUIDED ADVICE

If you are in the early phases of separation there will be some people you want to keep close by your side and there will be others that will no longer be a part of your life.

Everyone will have an opinion on what you should do, what they really thought of your partner and be particularly cautious of the ones who love to feed on gossip. The last thing you need to hear is someone saying things like ‘I always thought he/she was a jerk,’ ‘Did you know he tried to hit on me plenty of times?’ and the best one of all, ‘you’ll be fine, just get over it there are plenty more fish in the sea!’

If only it was that easy!

The fact is that any separation, no matter who decides to end the relationship, is a traumatic and confronting experience. It changes who you are, it changes many aspects of your life that you held dear, it causes you to question everything about yourself, your decisions, and it completely wipes out the timeline you had in your imagination of how and when all the things you had planned together would come to life. Now all you see in front of you is a blank wall with no idea of how to get over it, around it, or through it.

Most people these days know someone who has been through divorce and although family and good friends are so very important in your life now, it is time to remove the people from your life who simply have no idea of what it is like to walk in your shoes and hugely beneficial to connect with a few friends or acquaintances who do.  These are the people who will give you permission to spend the day curled up in bed, who will listen to you talk and talk about the same things over and over again without judgement, they will be the ones you can call late at night.  They will come over to spend the night and keep you company, get you laughing and smiling again. They will reassure you that there is nothing wrong with you and share the things that happened to them and encourage you to honour the grieving process and allow the body to do it’s healing in the way it has been designed to do.   Your body goes into shock and all the physical and emotional triggers that are designed to help you through any trauma will kick in to do what needs to be done to begin the grieving and healing process.

Time really does heal old wounds and life goes on, we manage to pull ourselves together, we learn more about who we are and just how strong and resilient we have become, we learn to ask for help when we need it, we learn to swallow our pride and seek financial assistance when we need it, we become experts at managing our budgets, we discover just how wonderful and supportive a select group of special people in our lives are and eventually we regroup, we begin to think about what we want to do with our lives, our work or careers or adding value to others in some way.

There are so many parts of who we are and for many women it’s not until we are no longer someones wife or partner that we have the opportunity to make these discoveries, our self-awareness becomes deeper, we begin to question our beliefs about relationships and other things we thought to be true, many begin a deeper spiritual practice, question why they are here, they realise the benefits of maintaining their health and fitness, giving back to their families and communities and begin to explore experiences that are new, challenging, fun and allowing the growth and expansion of themselves and their lives.

If you would like to chat to Jenny about anything at all, even your favourite wine click here to schedule a time https://calendly.com/jenny-smith-1/what-s-going-on-in-your-world

DIVORCED WOMEN’S CLUB MEMBERS LOUNGE

 

EMBRACING SEX AND SEXINESS IN YOUR LIFE

Before I start talking about embracing sex and sexiness in your life, these are two quite distinct words with very different meanings.

There are so many words used to describe the ‘doing’ part of sex. Sexual activity, sexual intercourse, lovemaking, bonking, nooky, quickie, screwing, and I’m only scratching the surface here.

As I did a little bit of research on what the word sexiness means it became apparent that sexiness is in the eye of the beholder and by that I mean it depends on people’s different views of what ‘sexiness’ means to them, what it looks like and how people exude ‘sexiness’.

Most of the images on the internet of women who fall into the ‘sexy’ category are of buffed women in bikinis overtly strutting their ‘stuff.’

For me it is more about the qualities and traits of a person and how they care for themselves. A particular inner and outer strength, how they carry and present themselves, their smile, a twinkle in the eye, and all summed up as a quiet confidence which is a natural expression of ability and self-respect. This applies equally for both men and women for me.

For women of all ages who have felt rejected by a partner and particularly if that rejection involves another women it will feel like a death of a thousand cuts. Women have a tendency to compare themselves with this other woman and their self-worth and self-esteem takes a nosedive. For many it can become an obsession, at least initially, to find out who she is, what she looks likes, what she does and she becomes the enemy, someone they can blame for the pain they are experiencing and direct their anger towards.

Separation and divorce shatters many women’s beliefs about themselves particularly around their ability to attract another partner. I have used the word attract because I want to come back to my definition of sexiness and ask the question, ‘what can women do to redefine sexiness’ after betrayal and loss?

If you agree with my definition of sexiness being a particular inner and outer strength and a quiet confidence how do women rekindle the flame within themselves that may have waned over time, or been completed snuffed out in a previous relationship.

We all have different coping strategies under difficult circumstances and underlying these coping strategies people who have been hurt will be asking themselves ‘what can I do to feel better about myself?’ or ‘how can I withdraw from the world because I am not enough?’ Whichever path they choose will of course produce very different outcomes.

There is a distinctly different mindset with these women. The pain and the hurt is no different, the grieving and sense of loss is no different, the struggle to build a new life is no different, whether they have financial resources or not is irrelevant, the only difference is that who they are is not defined by someone else or by what ‘happened to them’.

Here are some of the ways my clients have taken steps to turn their lives around which also developed a newfound confidence and strength that exuded ‘sexiness.’

  • Gone through their underwear drawers and thrown out every bra, every pair of knickers and personal items and hit the shops to buy all new very sexy items to replace the old with the new. Always a massive mood lifter and awesome cleansing process
  • Joined a gym, a walking group, a pilates class or yoga any physical activities that gets the body pumping and provides so many amazing feel good benefits.
  • Decided to embrace a completely new hair style
  • Started studying a subject that has always been of interest
  • Spending time with people who inspire and uplift them just by being in their presence
  • Going deeper into aspects of themselves, including spirituality and pursuing their gifts and talents
  • Creating and ticking off a list of things they always wanted to do

These women decide to use divorce as a catalyst to transform themselves and their lives and no longer be defined by someone else’s ideal of who they are and that my friends falls into my definition of ‘sexiness.’

If you would like to chat to Jenny about anything at all, even your favourite wine click here to schedule a time https://calendly.com/jenny-smith-1/what-s-going-on-in-your-world

THE POWER AND THE PAIN OF WOMEN IN GROUPS

I’m sure that most women have experienced both the power and the pain of women in different groups they belong to, whether that’s a social or a business networking group.

Let’s start by looking at the Divorced Women’s Club Members Lounge.

This group definitely falls in the ‘power of a group’ category and like many other powerful groups it is the bond that women create with each other to both seek and provide help, support and advice though the sharing of similar experiences that contributes to making it such a powerful resource.

Cultural backgrounds, religious or spiritual beliefs, financial situation, age, country, children or no children, all totally irrelevant as the single most powerful reason this group functions so beautifully is because of the women who give so freely of their time to share their advice, wisdom and unconditional support for each other.

Within this group as with many other groups women fall into different personality profiles. Some are much more outgoing and ready to put their hand up and ask for help, or share the intimate details of their ‘divorce’ experience and there are many more private ladies who sit quietly behind the scenes and yet still are receiving the support they need and contributing in their own way.

Over the past three, nearly four years I have only had cause to remove two women, one who didn’t agree with one ladies sexual preferences and another who was bullying, not a bad record for a group that consistently has 200+ women as members from around the world.

What about the pain of women in groups?

There are so many fantastic interest groups, networking groups and business groups for women and as many groups as there are not all of them will work for everyone.

It can be as simple as not warming to the person who leads the group, the size of the group, the way the group is run, something about the energy of the group that doesn’t seem right for us or in some groups it can be as simple as them not giving you what you were looking for from the group.

Sometimes it’s hard to fit in particularly with a group of women who are so tight that it feels like there is no way you are going to be allowed into the inner sanctum.

I’m a firm believer in surrounding yourself with the people who will lift and inspire you, are genuinely interested in getting to know more about you. If you are not feeling this from the groups you are involved with, move on until you find your tribe because when you do it will feel easy and you will make some wonderful new friends.

If you would like to chat to Jenny about anything at all, even your favourite wine click here to schedule a time https://calendly.com/jenny-smith-1/what-s-going-on-in-your-world

 

HOW DO I PUT MYSELF FIRST AND FEEL GOOD ABOUT IT?

When someone asks a question like this, or makes a statement along the lines of “I can’t because” there are a whole lot of beliefs about what they must do, what they should do, how they supposed to act and how much or how little they value themselves.

It becomes a very real problem when other people expect us to always be there for them, to jump when they say jump or allow them to speak to us in ways that are unacceptable. If we don’t value ourselves, our time, our goals and our dreams how can we ever expect other people to value us? We end up becoming people pleasers and as a result lose our sense of who we are and our self-respect.

We teach people how to treat to us and if we want things to be different we have to retrain ourselves first. When we change it creates a ripple effect on the dynamics of our relationships with our loved ones, our friends and in the workplace.

For those of you reading this who think you might be a people pleaser check in and ask yourself how many times you do something out of a sense of ‘duty’ or because of what someone might think about you and then notice how that makes you feel.

Now ask yourself how you feel when you decide that you really want to do something for someone, regardless of the inconvenience and take particular notice of how that makes you feel.

Deciding to do something for someone when it is coming from a place of giving is a very different experience from those times when we agree to do something that we really don’t want to do, or we alter our plans to do something to fit in with someone else and there is resentment, anger or we experience a general feeling of being pissed off.

There is nothing wrong with putting ourselves first, in fact if we don’t know how to say NO then we are giving people the green light to walk all over us. We have let them know that their life, their goals, their wants and their desires are far more important than our own.

I remember when I first started work after being at home raising my kids for many years and one of the managers asked me to prepare a report. ‘It must be completed by the end of the day as I need it first thing the next morning” he said. To do this I had to stay back later after work and arrange for the kids to stay with a neighbour for a few hours until I got home. I placed the report on his desk as I left the office.

About 4 or 5 days later I was in his office and I noticed the report still on his desk where I had left it. When I asked about the deadline he had put on having it finished he said ‘the meeting isn’t until next week, I just wanted to get it done straight away.’ A big lesson for me, it never happened again simply because I asked better questions about deadlines and timeframes.

We all want to be liked and loved it makes us feel good right? Friendships and relationships are the perfect training ground for us to learn how and when to draw a line in the sand and when it’s OK to go along with what other’s want even if we aren’t all that keen. It’s about finding that balance between what’s important and what isn’t and when it comes to friendships and relationships it’s about being willing to walk away from the ones that are no longer aligned with who we are.

I would like to share something I read many years ago from The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey that had an impact on me at the time and still resonates deeply with me.

“A personal mission statement based on correct principles becomes a standard for an individual, the basis for making major, life-directing decisions, the basis for making daily decisions in the midst of the circumstances and emotions that affect our lives.

Once you have that sense of mission you have the essence of your own proactivity. You have the vision and the values that direct your life. You have the basic direction from which you set your long and short-term goals. You have the power of a written constitution based on correct principles, against which every decision concerning the most effective use of your time, your talents and your energies can be effectively measured.

Many of us, me included, allow other people and circumstances to have an influence on our day to day lives that takes us away from doing the things that are most important to us. Writing this blog has been a wonderful reminder for me to go back and reassess where I find myself in relation to my personal mission statement.

Which brings me to ‘self-love’ or lack thereof.

Many people give too much and love too much and then wonder why they are left feeling unappreciated, unloved and dissatisfied with life.

If you identify as someone who gives too much and you are frustrated that your goals and dreams are sitting out in some far distant future this is the perfect time to write your personal mission statement and enforce boundaries around how you use your time and your energy.

To share your thoughts or your story please email me: jenny@divorcedwomensclub.com.au
With love and gratitude
Jenny xx

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