Reframing the Way We Think – and Talk - About Divorce
I was thumbing through a magazine the other day at the doctor’s office and came across an interview with Jennifer Aniston. She said something so incredibly powerful that I took a picture of the article with my phone and knew I needed to share it with you.
“When a couple breaks up in Hollywood, it’s the woman who is scorned. The woman is left sad and alone. She’s the failure. F that. When was the last time you read about a divorced, childless man referred to as a spinster?”
Jennifer Aniston, InStyle Magazine
Amen, Sister Aniston!
But I’ve got news for you: this misperception isn’t just for the rich and famous. Not at all. It happens with women everywhere.
Why is it when a couple breaks up, it’s assumed that the woman is left alone and broken-hearted? Plenty of times she is - but plenty of times the man is, too. One thing’s for sure: divorce is heartbreaking for everyone involved.
Even more importantly, why in the world would we say that a woman is a “failure” because her marriage ended? The idea that we failed at something because it ends makes me nuts.
I just asked Alexa for synonyms for the word “failure.” Here’s what she told me: loser, born loser (as if loser wasn’t bad enough), incompetent, non-achiever, underachiever. Lady friend, don’t you dare assign any of those words to yourself!
If you did the best you could do, if you worked hard and tried to save your marriage - but at the end of the day it didn’t work out, that has nothing to do with you being a failure. It has to do with the marriage not working.
We can’t control how others think of us. And we shouldn’t try.
But what I’ve seen time and again with my female clients is how they naturally slip into their own self-defeating narrative. They’re telling themselves - and the outside world - a failure story, without even realizing it!
One thing I know for sure: we are the stories we tell ourselves. So, ladies, choose your words and your thoughts carefully, especially now. You’ve heard me say it before: divorce is a marathon. You need to fuel yourself with positive and energizing thoughts to help you cross that finish line.
Not quite sure how to jump-start this mind-shift?
Try this powerful little assignment: for the next 24 hours, pay attention to your thoughts. Carry a pen and paper with you, or use the “notes” feature on your phone. Every time a word or thought like “failure” or “loser” enters your brain, write it down. Then, cross it out with a big black X and write down a better word or phrase next to it. A kind and loving word. A powerful word. One that I know actually DOES describe you, like “goddess” or “champion,” or “warrior.” Or “winner-winner-chicken-dinner.”
If you don’t actually feel like any of these words right now, do this exercise as if you’re describing a good friend who’s going through something really tough in their life. Be as kind to yourself as you’d be to them. Hopefully soon you’ll realize those words describe you, too.
What are your power words? Share as many as you can with our amazing community in the comments section below (only positive words allowed, please!). Who knows, you could help other amazing women through a tough time, too…
We’re here with you.