Whether you are looking forward to the holidays or not… HERE. THEY. COME.

When you are divorced, the holidays can be bittersweet for a lot of reasons. The approach of the holidays may be bringing up all those familiar “SHOULDS”:

“We should still be a family”
“The kids shouldn’t have to split their holidays between us”
“We should all be going to church as a family”
“I shouldn’t be up by myself preparing everything”

Ah, the shoulds. Even when you are “right” about how things “should” be, do the shoulds really make you feel any better?

Notice how the shoulds make YOU feel. Angry? Irritable? Indignant? Bitter?

Really, what is behind all of the shoulds, what is underneath all of our anger is… our sadness.

We are sad that things are not the way that we wish they would be. What if we replaced the word “should” with “wish”? :

“I wish we were still a family”
“I wish the kids didn’t have to split their time”
“I wish we were all going to church together”
“I wish someone were here to help with preparations”

Notice the difference?

When you dig a little deeper, under your anger and bitterness, you discover your grief. You may be thinking, “I’d rather stay angry”. And I get that. Your anger is like a suit of armor sometimes. You wear it to protect yourself. You feel like under all that hard metal, you won’t get hurt again.

Yet, there comes a time when you want to remove the armor, at least for a little while, to allow yourself to breathe more freely. You may need to feel some of your other feelings…if you want to get “unstuck”… if you want to consciously choose to shift from feeling so angry and bitter all the time.

Now, when you shift from angry to sad, do you want to stay in the sadness? Of course not! Feelings are meant to move through us, like a wave, or an experience.

Once you can acknowledge the sadness, things start to shift.  You are OWNING your feelings.  You are owning your experience.  You are meeting yourself where you are, in that moment.

Our goal in shifting our language is to start some movement, to actively start to change the way we are feeling.

When you changed the word “should” to “wish”, did that change how you felt?

Language matters. The words that we think in our heads, and the ones that we say out loud… matter.

So, as these winter holidays are approaching, notice what you say to yourself in your head. Notice what you say out loud. Just notice.

And if you are feeling BRAVE:
Try a little experiment and change the words you use. You have the POWER.

Be sure to check back soon for more posts. And always, feel free to contact me if you need personalized support post-divorce.

 

 

 

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jennifer@jennifercomercounseling.com
609-315-6506


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