Divorce as positive personal growth
“In 100 pages, with an intriguing bibliography, this is a quick but comprehensive overview of our generation at this moment in the 21st century. Carter’s telling is at once realistic and optimistic—and her own story is living proof.
‘Why did I write this book?’ she asks in the prologue of this new book, and then answers with a quote from Joan Baez, a troubadour for our generation:
‘Action is the greatest antidote to despair.’
Carter never looks at our generation through rosy glasses. Her even-handed reporting and clear and compassionate writing help me understand the challenges and opportunities we all face. Thank you.” – Carrie Tuhy
Find Your Reason to Be Here: The Search For Meaning in Midlife is where I share what I have learned from years of research into the psychological legacy of boomers, where the idea of ‘midlife’ came from, and how boomers can make the most of this unique new stage of emotional development.
Here I summarize most of what I have learned in studying the experience of midlife from the inside out. I explain what happens to our hearts and minds in combination with being raised in the time of the boomers, and then show how to combat emotional challenges, find love again, and succeed in becoming your best self in spite of the many factors which may work against you.
It only took me forty years to figure out just how tricky expectations can be. Have you ever noticed that life never turns out as expected? And if you can finally let go of expectations, you will never be disappointed. This goes triple for dating.
Probably the main reason I was so successful when I started dating again at age 49, was that I had absolutely NO expectations. No one could have convinced me to expect the love of my life to turn up at my door on that day back in January 2005. I was actually just trying to attract more men to my dating service inventory at the time.
Sure I wanted to fall in love again, who doesn’t? But I certainly wasn’t expecting it!
The problem begins when we get this picture in our heads of exactly what’s next in our lives. I know, we call that visualizing, and some think it is the best way to manifest what you desire. There is some truth to that, but please don’t mistake your visualizations for exact expectations.
Yes my new friend Mike, who turned up one day out of the blue, was amazing to me. But he was also so different than I would have ever expected. Our educational backgrounds were quite diverse, our interests couldn’t have been more different, and he even looked different than anyone I had pictured myself with previously.
If I had let any of these “pictures in my head” tell me that this wasn’t like it was “supposed to be,” I would have missed out on the love of my life.
Lesson learned! Eight years later, I still struggle every day not to let the picture in my head get in the way of my best reality.
Imagine a world where everyone loved themselves. Imagine if we all found ourselves to be enough. I personally believe this would solve many of the world’s problems. So, where to begin?
First of all, we must get far beyond our cultural obsession with self-consciousness and self-image. Imagine a world where we all realize that we are each so much more than our self-image.
Can you accept that there is truly nothing wrong with you? This is the essence of healing the self.
Just for a moment, try to see yourself as whole and complete. I have always loved this quote from Buddha:
Can you stop improving yourself long enough to appreciate all that you are? Perhaps YOU are what you seek. Perhaps if you stopped improving yourself, your life would improve. So many gifts remain unopened from your birthday. Perhaps the only thing missing in your life now is the real you.
The fastest way to improve your life is to accept yourself in all of your humanness.
Ask yourself, “When do I feel like the real me?”
Fill in this blank for yourself:
One way I could be even more authentic right now is _______________.
“Think of life as a terminal illness, because, if you do, you will live with joy and passion, as it ought to be lived.” — Anna Quindlen
The sad news that Valerie Harper has a rare form of brain cancer was just another reminder to me that right now is all each of us has. I appreciate Valerie’s effort to confront her impending end publicly, and I applaud her courage in the face of death. She is making an effort to remind us all to live each day as if it were our last. This is a message I can use.
Too often I can get totally wrapped up in memories. I may wonder why certain things happened to me, or why someone was so cruel in my past. These days I try to stop myself and say, “There is only right now, and right now things are OK in my life.” There is no future in the past.
The same goes for obsessing about what will happen tomorrow. Realizing that anything could happen tomorrow and I truly have no idea what that might be, is essential to bringing my focus back to today.
This moment is the only one where I have the power to act.
I also realize I have spent most of my life worrying about my future, instead of living in my present. I was raised to plan far ahead for retirement, and I’m glad I did save up for that eventuality. But something about being in the middle of my life has brought my attention to living fully in the present.
I have found meditation to be the best place to start living in the now. Sitting quietly and observing my own mind’s patterns can be quite the education! See where your mind naturally goes. That is the first step towards disciplining it. Do you naturally focus on worries or concerns out of your control? How does that make you feel?
Now try to focus on all of the ways your life might be better if you could discipline your mind. And remember, what you focus on grows!
How’s that working for you?
As we age, we may get tired of taking care of everyone else, and never getting our own needs met. Can we learn how to be different? Can we change?
Only if we’re ready for something different than the same old codependent routine, and finally ready to see life in a very different way.
The most common reason for “helping syndrome” is early childhood training which leads to gigantic feelings of inadequacy when we’re not helping others. We feel we don’t deserve any of the good things in life just for being ourselves. That would be selfish. Instead we should be constantly helping others to earn the right to be admired and loved. We feel fundamentally unworthy of love without first paying for it with care for those we “love.”
I know. I spent years feeling inadequate unless I was “helping” everyone around me. I now appreciate the saying: “Codependents don’t make friends, they take hostages!” Oh boy, someone new to manipulate into needing me and loving me. How can I convince them that their life will never be the same until they admit that they need me?
But let’s try a different approach now. Try to image yourself as completely lovable and adequate just being the wonderful person you are right now. Could others love you just the way you are? Why should you have to prove to them you are worthy of their love?
Very scary stuff, huh? No fooling anyone or manipulation involved. And if they end up not liking you, so what? There are millions of others out there who are mentally healthy enough to not want to be manipulated into codependency, masquerading as caring or love.
Now that you’ve taken care of others your whole life, isn’t it time to take care of your own needs for a change? Isn’t it about time someone showed you how to save your own life? It takes a lot of courage to admit that past patterns aren’t working and have never really worked. Do you have the courage to ask for help this time?
You can change your life and finally start receiving love from those who have the ability to give it to you freely, no strings attached. Please let me know if I can help.
To learn more about a brand new way of life, click here.
To gather wisdom to change your life, check out: Find Your Reason to be Here: The Search for Meaning in Midlife, Midlife Magic: Becoming the person you are inside!, and the Midife Change Workbook.