The dangers of procrastination and passive behavior

procrastination

I often hear people talk about their intentions, all the good things they would like to do, the services they would like to offer others, the amazing things they would like to build in their lives, etc. But… how often do they take concrete actions that reflect those intentions…?

I find that many people get stuck in the “intention phase” and never get pass that… Especially people who are passive or tend to procrastinate, they will fill their heads with all the great intentions they have and they would even manage to convince others around them, but… never follow through with them.

Unfortunately all your good intentions are totally worthless unless you take actions that reflect them.

There is no mystery, if you want to live your life fully, you cannot procrastinate on it, you cannot wait for things to happen to you, you cannot take a passive stand on your existence.

You have the chance to live by “design” as opposed to by “default,”  but it is ultimately up to you to take that chance, sadly, a lot of people decide not to.

If you want to live by design, to be the architect of your own life, to co-create with the Universe and all the other forces that are greater than you, you need to take action!

There is always a better time and space for an action, and sometimes it is wise to wait for the right time, but you cannot spend your life waiting, in fact, it is best to take action even if you fail, than to have never tried.

A total lack of action could be considered an act in and of itself, because there are clear consequences from it, but when you choose not to act, you are simply waiting for things to happen to you, and if you don’t like those things, you will always feel like a victim and blame others for what happens to you.

When you decide to act, you are creating momentum, you are moving forward, you are taking responsibility, so even if you fail in the action, you will not feel like a victim, you will not blame others; you will know that you tried and that knowledge will give you peace and strength to continue to move forward, to learn from your mistakes, and to try something else.

Sometimes, a lack of action is nothing but an inability to face one’s fears: fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of loss, fear of change, etc.

Some people when faced with a problem for instance, decide to ignore it because they are scared of it, they don’t think they can solve it, so they simply pretend the problem isn’t there, or wait and hope for it to go away.

People manage to ignore problems by staying constantly distracted, taking their mind to a different place and numbing their feelings out, they use distractions such as: overworking, partying all the time, overeating, using and abusing alcohol, sex, and TV, etc.

But the truth is, they are only fooling themselves, by ignoring a problem it only grows bigger.

But, let alone problems and fears, some people still manage to procrastinate and not act even if fear isn’t involved, they somehow take the conscious or subconscious decision to sit and wait around. Some people fill their mouths with good intentions but when the opportunity to act on them comes along, they shy away from it.

In order to live fully, it is important to make decisions, no matter how hard they are, it is important to take risks, no matter if you fail, it is important to face your fears, even if it hurts, it is important to embrace the opportunities even if they are the wrong ones. It is important to act.

If you have the tendency to procrastinate or take a passive stand in life, think twice… this may be robbing you from having richer experiences and richer relationships.

And, if you have good intentions, especially towards others, make sure you act accordingly, make sure that your intentions become actions, make sure that when the opportunity to act comes along, you take it!

 

 

The importance of expressing negative emotions/feelings

The topic for this week has been inspired by a great book I am reading at the moment, it is called: “Siblings Without Rivalry” by Faber and Mazlish. As a mother of 6-year-old twins, I have to deal with my kids’ fighting and bickering and sometimes it drives me off the wall (I am sure many parents can relate). Being a single child I had no experience with having a sibling, so I really wanted to understand my kids and especially find ways to help them improve their relationship in every possible way.

siblings

As it turns out, I am learning many fascinating things about the dynamics of having a sibling, and how the relationship with a sibling can affect the rest of our life, for good or bad. Our parents, as well as our siblings become our first and closest teachers, so the way we interact with them will deeply shape the way we relate with other people and situations later in life.

So, I wanted to delve a little deeper into one of the main messages in this book: The importance of expressing negative emotions! It is quite simple but really profound.

I have always been a strong believer in expressing our emotions, all of them, even the negative ones. However, most people, when they are growing up, are taught to keep those emotions under control by simply repressing them, they are made to feel ashamed of them, to feel something is wrong with them and therefore, on top of having to suppress those emotions (hard enough for a child), they add more negative emotions to the mix: shame, guilt, inadequacy, etc.

Apparently, siblings are the first trigger of negative emotions during childhood because of the inevitable rivalry that arises between them. Experts in the field agree that at the root of siblings rivalry is each child’s deep desire for the exclusive love of his parents, simply because parents are the source of all security for a child (food, shelter, warmth, affection, a sense of identity, a sense of worth, etc.) So, the sole presence of another child threatens that security.

So, those feelings are NORMAL and to a certain extent healthy (from a preservation point of view if you wish). Now, the way children learn to deal with those feelings is extremely important for their future, and parents can help a great deal in this learning process. The very first thing to do is validate the child’s negative emotion, and that can be very hard for parents.

If a small child says he hates his baby sister, he does not mean it of course, but he is expressing a deep frustration. A very young child may not even have the words to actually say what he is feeling, so he may just push or hit his little sister for no “apparent” reason. In these two scenarios, most parents are likely to respond as follows:

1.- If child says he hates his baby sister:

What a parent may say What the child actually hears and feels
Do not say that! I can’t say what I feel (feels repressed)
That is not nice! I am not a nice person (feels guilty, ashamed)
Of course you don’t hate her My feelings are not real (feels he cannot trust his feelings)

2.-If child hits his sister:

What a parent may say What the child actually hears
Don’t be mean! or You are a bad boy! I am a bad person (feels guilty and ashamed)
What is wrong with you! Something is really wrong with me (feels inadequacy and fear)
You can’t do that! I can’t express what I feel (his feelings are wrong)

So, as a child grows up, he learns to keep his emotions under control by suppressing them, and he internalizes all those messages of guilt, inadequacy, not been good enough, not trusting his feelings, and so on.

Instead, parents could help the child find creative ways to channel his emotions, by first allowing them to be, validating them and letting them know that they understand what he is feeling, without judgment nor criticism. It is very important to make a distinction between allowing feelings and allowing actions. Parents can permit children to express their feelings, but they can’t permit them to hurt each other. Parents can help children express their negative feelings without doing damage, and there are many effective ways to do so.

Many of the frustrations and repressed feelings we have as adults came from these childhood moments where we learned that we could not expressed what we felt, whether it was anger, sadness, etc.

Another typical example that causes so much damage (especially in men) is the urge to have boys hold their tears, to learn to suppress them with comments such as:

  • Boys don’t cry
  • Don’t be a girl (this one is even worse, as it carries within it, a message of great disrespect to girls and therefore to women)
  • You are a big boy now, it is NOT ok to cry (suddenly they are not allowed to feel sad anymore, just like that!)

Ignoring a child when they cry is also very negative, because it gives them the message that their feelings (in this case their sadness) is not important, it’s not worthy of attention. Even though as adults we may feel that their crying is over something unimportant, from a child’s perspective that something may be truly important.

It is all about simply acknowledging and respecting their feelings, regardless of where they came from.

As adults we will still feel sadness, anger, frustrations, etc. many many times, so we need to first be ok with our feelings, acknowledge them, respect them (self acceptance) and, then know how to channel them in a non-damaging way (self control). These two simple things will give us enormous peace and control over our lives! Remember that Control is not the same as repression.

Also, as adults, if we are not in touch with our feelings (if they are so badly repressed that we don’t even feel them anymore), we will not be able to truly relate to other people’s emotions, so we will be less capable to establish deep, intimate relationships, and be emotionally present for others.

So, if you want to learn more about the ways you can help your kids and give them some vital tools, or if you wish to better understand the hurts of your own past, I really recommend this book. Click here
to see it in Amazon.

And last but not least, it is very important to realize that we are NOT our emotions, we cannot be defined by them, but we ARE entitled to feel them, and we CAN channel them positively!

Have a great week!


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No more problems please!

Have you ever wondered about how you deal with problems? those kind of problems you actually would prefer not to deal with? the problems you may not even see because you prefer not to? I recently read something that inspired today’s post: When you ignore a problem, it doesn’t go away, it just gets bigger and bigger

problems
Image: piotr marcinski/Shutterstock.com

Most of the problems or conflicts we have, arise from the way we relate to the world around us, especially other human beings or situations we find ourselves in. When a problem or conflict that creates emotional discomfort arises, we sometimes choose to ignore it, we’d rather not face it because we may not have a clue how to fix it, or it may be so big and scary that it is overwhelming just to think about it, so we don’t!, we shut it off, we ignore it and we try to occupy our minds in something else and pretend it is not there. We often do this unconsciously, we may not even be aware that we are shutting it off, or we may even convince ourselves that there is NO problem at all, that we are fine!

It is fascinating how our mind works, in its constant effort to avoid pain it will divert us from what is really going on. However, by ignoring a problem we are allowing it to grow bigger and bigger, and one day, inevitably it will blow up on our face, and by then, the damage might be unrecoverable… This is particularly true when it comes to relationships, we often allow the conflicts and the discomfort to become the norm, and we live with them instead of solving them, until one day something breaks (whether it is our health, the relationship, or both) and there is not much we can do to fix it at that point.

But, since we may be ignoring our problems without really being aware that we are doing it, how on earth can we get around this…?

The good news is that while our minds can totally trick us, our bodies cannot, our bodily sensations are a very good gauge to measure the state of our life. That is why it is so incredibly important to be in touch with our bodies, with our physical sensations and discomforts, and with our overall state of health.

Most of us have experienced what we call butterflies in our tummy when we are excited or nervous, or that knot in our throat when we are sad or speechless, or the tension in our shoulders or tummy when we are angry; our bodies are always reacting to the way we feel, no matter how hard we try to control it. Our bodies always tell us the truth, so we must listen…

The sensations in our bodies do not abide by the rules and filters that our mind dictates and chooses. Our bodies are plain and simple sensors of life… our organs do not “analyze” nor “judge” everything, they just function well or not so well, depending on what is going on around us, and especially inside our minds.

If you feel emotional discomfort, the first step is to make peace with the feeling, by that I mean, don’t be hard on yourself for feeling the way you do, you have a right to feel sad, angry, frustrated, guilty etc. no matter what the situation is. Acknowledge the feeling, let it be there (which is different than feeding it by being overly negative or taking a victim role) just be aware of it and try to understand why it is there?, when do you feel it? is this only an emotional feeling (sadness, anger, frustration, etc.) or it is accompanied by a bodily sensation (pain, discomfort, tension, etc.)?, allow it to be there, do not escape the feeling, but do not cling to it either, just witness it and try to notice when it came about (did something happen that triggered it? has it happened before? what were you doing when it happened or right before? what were you thinking about when it happened or before…?)

There are many fascinating stories about how our body speaks to us, here below I wanted to share a few that I have read about:

A little boy that felt totally neglected by his parents, who were too busy to spend quality time with him, became sick, and his parents were forced to be by his side and take care of him, sickness became his way of calling for attention, and he went on to become a sickly adult. It wasn’t until later in life and many illnesses, that he understood (through therapy) this dysfunctional pattern, and little by little he recovered his health.

Or the woman who never felt listened to by her husband (something neither of them had acknowledged nor realized) until one day she lost her voice, with no explanation, she could not speak for almost a year. Luckily, through therapy, she understood what had caused her voice to shut off, and she slowly recovered her voice.

Another woman in a seemingly stable and long lasting relationship, had lost all interest in intimacy, sex became painful and she started having hormonal and fertility problems, she was told she would never be able to conceive. Years later, she was confronted by the fact that she had never felt loved, appreciated nor desired by her partner of many years, and her sexuality and reproductive organs started shutting off as a consequence. She later went on to enjoy great health, enjoy intimacy and even had a child (with a different partner.)

Just remember that the problems you may be facing, especially in regards to relationships in your life, may not be totally clear to you nor obvious, but the physical sensations along with the emotional discomfort are a great way to delve a little more into what is going on and hopefully get to the bottom of it before it becomes a really big problem.

Do not ignore problems, face them, allow them to be, accept them, make peace with them, as that is the only way to start solving them. It is important to take an active role in solving our problems as opposed to ignoring them and numbing ourselves. So start by listening to your body a little more and to your mind a little less…

Have a great week!


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Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are

I was just watching Amy Cuddy’s TED talk: Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are and it got me thinking about this very important way of communicating.

bodylanguage

I have always been interested in the way people relate and communicate with others, and I always knew that body language plays a very important role in that communication, more so than we care to admit. However, I never knew that our body language could actually have an impact on the way we, ourselves feel.

Aside from our verbal exchanges, we are constantly sending out a lot of signals that can be silent or not, and involve body movements, gestures, facial expressions, voice tone, loudness, etc. they convey a lot of information about the way we feel and the way we think.

Noticing the signals that people send out with their body language is a very useful social skill. Some people can read it naturally while others may be oblivious of it. Very often the difference between the words people speak and our understanding of what they are saying comes from non-verbal communication.

Aside from being aware of other people’s body language, it is very important to be aware of our own, since our body language can help us feel a certain way or achieve a certain goal. According to Amy Cuddy, we can purposely use body language to convey feelings that we are not experiencing, but we can also start to actually feel them, as she says in the video: fake it until you make it, or rather fake it until you feel it!

For instance, if you are about to be in a situation where you do not feel very confident, such as a job interview, an important meeting, giving a speech, etc. you can adopt gestures of confidence so as to convey confidence and by doing so, you may actually start to feel more confident.

You can spot a person’s level of confidence by looking at the following:

Posture – standing tall with shoulders back.

Eye contact – solid with a ‘smiling’ face.

Gestures with hands and arms – purposeful and deliberate.

Speech – slow and clear.

Tone of voice – moderate to low.

So, by adopting those gestures and tones, you may eventually start to feel more confident, also, the more people see you as “confident” the more you will feel indeed confident, so it is like a snow ball effect, it keeps growing in you.

This principle reminded me of something my therapist told me years ago when I was depressed, I had told her that I didn’t feel any motivation to do the things I used to like, so I didn’t do them any more. She then told me that things could work both ways, so she encouraged me to actually do the things, despite my lack of motivation, and she told me that the motivation would come after I did them, to my surprised, it worked!

I guess we often feel we need to feel a certain way to act a certain way, but we can act first and feel later… I never really liked the expression: “Fake it until you make it” because it seemed to reflect dishonesty in my view, but I really like Cuddy’s version: “Fake it until you feel it” because it definitely works!

So, next time you have an important meeting, a stressful reunion, a speech to give, etc. remember to “act” confident, using your whole body, and in time you will feel that confidence more and more!

If you want to read more about body language, below is a list of good resources.

Have a Good Week!

Related Resources:

Improving your non-verbal skills and reading body language

The key to understanding body language

How to become a master at non-verbal communication


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Is your attachment style affecting your relationship?

One of my favorite topics is relationships, so today I would like to explore the different styles of attachment that we develop during childhood and that affect all of our relationships, as adults. It is really important to be aware of what our attachment style is, in order to better understand our relationships and how our unconscious patterns may be affecting them.

attachment

There are 4 main styles of attachment that we all fall into, and that were developed during our early childhood through the emotional attachment we formed with our primary caregivers. As we become adults, we unconsciously behave following that attachment style, so every relationship we have is affected by it, especially the closest relationships in our lives, such as our partners and children, although they affect all of our relationships to a certain degree. Here are the 4 styles:

  • Secure Attachment
  • Avoidant Attachment
  • Insecure/Anxious Attachment
  • Disorganized Attachment

Without going too deep into the psychological explanation of each style (which you can find in the resources provided at the end of this post), I just want to point out the main characteristics of each style when dealing with romantic relationships as adults, as it will give you a sense of where you might be.

Secure attachment:

People who have secure attachment patterns, tend to see themselves and their relationships under a positive light, they tend to feel secure, connected and at the same time independent, they allow their partners to move freely, they trust them and they are able to stay engaged emotionally even when conflict arises. These people have a deep seated belief that they are worthy of love and caring, they do not fear being abandoned when conflict appears, they are confident that conflict will resolve and they are able to stay fully engaged and intimate during conflict.
This adults are able to offer support when their partner feels distressed and they also go to their partner for comfort when they themselves feel troubled, so they usually have very open and honest relationships.

Avoidant Attachment:

People who have avoidant attachment patterns tend to avoid conflict at all costs, they lack the skills of intense emotional engagement with another, so when communication heats up, they are usually out the door. They tend to be loners, and they regard relationships and emotions as being relatively unimportant, so they don’t put a lot of effort into their relationships. They are usually very cerebral and not very emotionally expressive nor understanding. They tend to rely mostly on logic and reason to explain their behavior and they will try to “fix things” so they may experience feelings of inadequacy when their partner becomes more distressed, as they can’t “fix it”. They tend to be calm, reasonable and rational (shutting off all emotion). Their typical response to conflict and stressful situations is to avoid them by distancing themselves (physically and mentally), the avoidant adult will tend to do things like overworking, using drugs or alcohol, watching lots of TV or anything that will help them anaesthetize or bury unwanted feelings.

Insecure/Anxious Attachment:

People who have insecure and anxious attachment patterns often feel the fear of being abandoned, that their beloved will desert them, that no-one will be there for them. This fear of separation may haunt them anytime, whether or not there is a reason that would justify it. Deep-seated feelings that they are going to be rejected make them worried and not trusting so they may act clingy and overly dependent with their partner, as well as possessive and demanding. They’re frequently looking to their partner to rescue or complete them. These people will want to talk everything over, sometimes often and endlessly. They constantly seek approval and in doing so they tend to prioritizes the needs of others ahead of self, which leaves them depleted. They tend to be self critical and insecure and often throw themselves into emotions such as hurt, despair, fear, upset, aloneness, hopelessness, helplessness, or powerlessness quite often. There is a feeling of emptiness inside.

Disorganized Attachment:

People who have disorganized attachment patters are ambivalent: they desire relationships and are comfortable in them until they develop emotionally close.
They are afraid of being both too close to or too distant from others. They tend to be mixed up or unpredictable in their mood and tend to find themselves in rocky or dramatic relationships. They may cling to their partner when they feel rejected, then feel trapped when they are close. Their relationships are usually filled with highs and lows, they are afraid of abandonment and at the same time unable to be intimate.

So, if any of these styles resonates with you, you may want to look more deeply into it, especially if you are dealing with relationship challenges, as it can be very helpful to be aware of your patterns as well as your partner’s in order to improve the quality of your bonds.

Below you will find a list of related articles on this topic.

Have a Good Week!

Related Resources:

How Your Attachment Style Impacts Your Relationship

What is your attachment style? (How it was formed in the early years)

Save Your Marriage By Understanding Your Attachment Style


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Taking Responsibility for our Mental Health

Most people, at some point or another, become aware that their actions play a very important part in their physical health, we know for instance that in order to keep our body in good health we need to eat healthy foods, we also know that our body needs exercise to be in good shape, and we know that self destructing habits like smoking and drinking (let alone drugs) are detrimental to our body.

man holding head

However, there is very little awareness out there about how to take care of our mental health, and this is just as important as our physical health if not more! Most people may think that unless they have been diagnosed with some sort of mental illness, they don’t need to pay special attention to their mental health. This is not true at all!

Being mentally healthy doesn’t simply mean been “sane” it is much broader than that, it means enjoying an overall state of well being. Our mind is, to a great extent, responsible for our overall well being. The fact that the majority of people are able to function well in society, does not mean they are in perfect mental health, the truth is, we all have some areas in our psyche that could use improvement.

It wasn’t until recently that this awareness became more widespread and that people started to look inwards, trying to understand the workings of their mind and even seeking help if needed, without it being taboo or shameful, but there is still a long way to go.

Aside from serious mental disorders, that are rare and more complex, there are many personality or behavior disorders that are quite common and affect people’s lives in many ways. If we struggle with relationships, with our eating, with the way we see our bodies, with stress, with insecurities, with addictions, etc. chances are, there is room for improvement. The way our psyche works determines the way we relate to other people, the way we relate to food, the way we perform our work, the way we treat our body, in other words: our psyche determines the way we live, and the quality of our life.

Just as we clean our bodies, brush our teeth and comb our hair, we need to work on our mental cleanup. Most people don’t openly talk about their mental / emotional challenges, but there is an alarming increase in the number of people that take medication for depression, anxiety, ADD, etc. and then there are the many more that are not treated but still suffer from the consequences of mood disorders, lingering sadness, loss of purpose, constant anger, etc.

Although in some cases it is important to use medication, especially in the more severe cases of mental illnesses, in the milder, most common cases of personality disorders or mental/emotional challenges, medication is rarely needed, however, there is a real need for personal commitment to healing, and the problem is, most people don’t even know they have a problem, or if the do, they deny it or they think it will go away on its own, or they try to “numb” it by using escaping mechanisms (like alcohol, smoking, drugs, etc.) which is a problem in and of itself.

When I was 20 I suffered from my first depression, although at the time I had no idea what was happening, I just felt really sad and was loosing interest for the things that used to excite me. I was clinically depressed but totally unaware of it. After a year or so, I moved to a different country and the change in my environment lessened the symptoms of my depression, until I relapsed a couple years later, then I was diagnosed and treated with medication and psychotherapy. The medication did help, but I did not like the idea of being medicated and I was still struggling deeply with the diagnosis, I was not in denial any more but I was ashamed and shocked by it.

A few years later I relapsed, yet again…I had to accept that it was happening to me again, and I sought treatment (this time I refused medication and worked with therapy alone). Once I felt better I was determined to take action and do whatever I needed to NEVER relapse again. Even though there is a history of depression in my family, I chose to believe that I was not “doomed” to be in and out of depression and medication all my life, but I had an active role to play in my recovery, and ever since that moment, I have been actively working on staying healthy, and in spite of great challenges in my personal life, I am proud to report that I have not relapsed, my last episode was 10 years ago!!! This is a real victory for me.

I know every case is different, but I also know that we can all play an active part in the prevention and recovery of our mental and emotional challenges. I have come to personally know so many people around me that suffer from debilitating insecurities, obsessive compulsive behavior, eating disorders, self destructing habits (alcohol, smoking, other addictions), social anxiety, constant worrying, chronic depression (which often goes undiagnosed), etc. That I realized that I was far from being alone, and that mental health is all about mental well being. In my particular case I was lucky because three very important things happened for me:

  1. I realized I had a problem
  2. I accepted the fact that I had a problem, and
  3. I decided to take an active role on my recovery and further prevention

Most people simply don’t realize they have a problem, and if they do, they do not accept it, and if they accept it they do not believe they can play an active part in their healing. We all have a responsibility for our health, we are not just victims of fate, and we all have the capacity to heal ourselves, but first we need to believe we can.

Until we realize our responsibility towards our mental health, there is little we can do to improve those areas in which we continuously struggle.

“Nothing will change if nothing changes”

If we don’t do anything to change things, they simply won’t change, and it is our responsibility to make a difference, nobody will live our lives in our place, we are the architects of our own lives. A good way to become aware of the state of your mental health is to start noticing the areas of discomfort in your life and detect any usual patterns in your behavior or your feelings, take the time to look a little closer at your hard set beliefs, your behavior patterns, your emotional reactions, etc. they can all give you valuable clues on the state of your mental health.

Little by little we can become more aware of our minds’ functioning and we can work towards making it work for us instead of against us, it takes commitment, a true commitment to ourselves, to our well being.

If you are interested in further reading on this topic, see below for a list of good resources on the most common challenges that can go undetected and can really hinder our capacity to live a more fulfilling life.

Have a good week!

Resources:


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When Marriage Falls Apart

Today more and more marriages are crumbling, more and more couples are struggling and this creates a lot of pain for all the parties involved (including and especially children). The end of a marriage brings with it, aside from the loss of a life partner, many more losses, such as the end of family life as we know it, the loss or transformation of other relationships (children, friendships, in-laws, etc.), the loss of security (whether it is financial or emotional, or both), the loss of a dream, and the list goes on.

broken-marriage

To understand why couples seem to struggle more than in the past, and why divorce has become more common, let’s look briefly at some facts about this institution that has taken many different forms across cultures and time periods. Marriage existed for different purposes at different times: from a way of organizing and controlling sexual conduct and providing a stable structure for child-rearing; to a means of preserving power, forge alliances, acquire land, and produce legitimate heirs.

For most of our history women had very little say over whom they would marry (and this is still true in some countries). Polygamy has been another form of marriage that still exists today. In many cases marriage was a way to subjugate women so they would serve their husbands and produce heirs for them, but in other cases it was also a way to protect them.

For most of our history love did not play any role in this union, marriage was considered too serious a matter to be based on such a fragile emotion. In fact, love and marriage were once widely regarded as incompatible with one another.

So it wasn’t until fairly recently that the definition of marriage became: a romantic free union between a man and a woman (not to mention the most recent development on gay marriage). Marriage has been and continues to be in a constant process of evolution.

But lets say that in most parts of the world today, this union is based on love. But love is indeed a fragile emotion, and it is not always enough to sustain the great responsibilities and challenges of modern life marriages. As couples become more and more isolated and are the sole caregivers for their children (often both needing to work in order to provide), with the gradual loss of the extended family’s presence and support, and the lack of strong communities, this institution is becoming more and more fragile. On top of that, women have become more independent, so they now have a real choice to leave a relationship, which was not the case before.

Romantic love requires the constant involvement of both partners, if either of them neglects the other, or there is poor communication between them, this kind of love cannot survive for very long. It is hard not to neglect one another once the couple is flooded by the never ending load of responsibilities, work, and worries that come with adult life and especially parenting in modern societies. And as far as communication goes, it can be quite complicated to even realize there is a communication problem until it is too late.

Many marriages do survive despite of lack of romantic love however, because there is a lot more involved in this union. Marriage is a true contract, and as the years go by, the bonds between the partners become stronger (financial, filial, lifestyle, etc) and for many it becomes impossible to leave, no matter how unhappy they may be in the relationship.

In most successful cases, the partners learn how to live together in harmony and their romantic love transforms into a companionship that is enjoyed by both of them (at best), or it simply becomes a cohabitation that is tolerated by both (at worst).

Now, for some couples, no harmony nor cohabitation can be found and they become toxic to one another, they bring the worst out of each other and they live in a constant state of struggle, anger, resentment, dissatisfaction, frustration, etc. Those couples are the ones that usually end up divorcing, and it is a good thing, for nobody should live a miserable life…

However, if the couple has children, the separation aside from being incredibly painful becomes also incredibly complex, because, whether they like it or not, they will remain bonded to one another, as parents, for many years. The way the couple deals with pain becomes incredibly important when they have children, because the consequences of their actions will not only affect their lives but that of their offspring, who are innocent victims of the process.

When there are children involved, even if the romantic relationship ends, another relationship needs to be born, and in order to build it, the couple needs to be very mindful about their actions. Now, if their actions are triggered by their suffering, there will only be more negative consequences and more suffering for the entire family.

Pain is part of our human life, however, the way we process pain is unique to each individual, and ultimately to the level of awareness or consciousness that individual has. Pain and Suffering are not the same, and although we can’t avoid the pain, we can limit the suffering by finding a mindful way to end it.

The end of a marriage can create more or less suffering depending on how much and how long each individual holds onto their story of “what went wrong” “why did it happen”, etc. The good news is, once the relationship ends, there is no need to hold onto the story, in fact, it is time to drop it all together, in order to build a mindful new story that will ensure a healthy transition and experience, not only for the children but for the couple themselves.

If you want to read more about mindful divorce and parenting, here is a really good article Giving Up the Story: A Journey to Mindful Divorced Parenting

Have a good week!


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