The business of getting unmarried can be one of life’s most unforgiving experiences. Unless you’re Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin, it’s not likely that you will have a family-filled beach celebration to formally proclaim your freedom from one another. For most of us, divorce begins with family members drawing battle lines, and it ends with the merciless bang of a judge’s gavel. It is an experience that can mire us in a morass of negative emotions. It is important to remember that there are ways to maintain your mental well-being and emotional equilibrium as you make your way through divorce.
As a coach, an important part of my job is to refrain from giving advice. Those of us who love to help others love to give advice, and wise counsel can often be helpful. But giving advice can be counterproductive; sometimes by offering our wisdom we take away a chance for our friend, client, or loved one to grow in strength and self-discovery. Giving too much advice is much like helping a baby bird hatch from its egg; helping the baby may make YOU feel empowered, but it ultimately weakens the bird.
So what does this have to do with divorce? If you have been through a divorce, or if you are currently going through the process, you will know that this is true: EVERYONE wants to give you advice about what to do. The problem is that they don’t know the intricacies of your relationship, nor do they understand the secret language of your marriage, so how can they possibly know the best way to end it?
A friend of mine (we will call her Jill for the purposes of this article) became a divorcee’ at the age of 29. She had drowsed through her marriage, and had made herself numb to the painful issues that continued to crop up during the course of her relationship with her husband. She had been betrayed in the usual ways: infidelity, lies, and fraud, and as her marriage crashed down around her, she was fully awake to the pain for the first time.
The legal aspects of the divorce were fairly straightforward and were resolved swiftly, but the aftermath was incredibly difficult for Jill. She reached out to her friends and family, and they did what friends and family do: they offered advice. But Jill found that none of the advice empowered her, and her pain remained intense and almost unbearable.
Jill began to find peace when she sought professional help. She found that her coach did not give her advice at all. Instead, she asked powerful questions that allowed my friend to discover that she already possessed the tools that she needed to break through her shell of pain and regret.
Baby birds come into this world armed with an “egg tooth.” It’s a tiny little speck on the end of the beak. It’s not an obvious tool, but it is certainly not insignificant. Almost every reptile or fowl that hatches from a shell has this eggtooth. Humans are gifted with this tool as well, although our “eggteeth” are not tangible, and are often hard to find.
This is how a life-coach can be an important catalyst in your rebirth after your divorce. A coach can help you ask the questions of yourself that need to be asked, and will help you find the “eggtooth” that you need to free yourself from your shell. My hope for you is that you will find your “eggtooth” and that you will become an expert in its use.
Until next time,