Nov 18, 2019
7 Truths about my Divorce – Part Three
Truth: I have everything I need to have a good quality of life right inside of me.
Lie: If I just get this or that, then I will have a good life.
Divorce can bring some downright scary thoughts of being broke, homeless, miserable and alone. And the flames are often fanned by divorce litigation attorneys (see “What Is Divorce Mediation.”) Consider countering these extreme thoughts by working with a good counselor or discussing them with a wise friend.
Accept a new way of living
It is a lot harder to counter the more subtle thoughts that come with divorce. These notions focus on the likelihood of having less money, smaller living quarters and fewer “things”. In a culture that seems to value big spenders, McMansions and designer clothing, a step back can seem like a step to the very bottom rung of life.
Researchers from Purdue University studied this cultural belief and found that it rings hollow. It turns out that, the more money we have, the more wants we create. Once we have enough money to meet our basic needs and can purchase small conveniences or repay debt, extra money can make us more unhappy. That unhappiness comes from that fact that the extra money often fuels “desires such as pursuing more material gains and social comparisons, which can, ironically, lower well-being,”
Beware the Self-Worth vs Net-Worth Trap
When we base our self-worth on our net-worth, we keep grasping for more material gains to fill the void. Since there are always people who have more material wealth than us, we are doomed to be unhappy because we don’t “measure up” to them. To make matters worse, there are some people who exacerbate the problem by spending themselves into a big hole in a futile effort to “keep up with the Jones”.
Divorce can be instrumental in helping us move beyond that faulty way of thinking to a more wholesome approach to life. The division of assets leaves us with less in the bank, but clearly focused on what matters most. Our new reality teaches us to start looking inside of ourselves for happiness. It teaches us the following important lessons:<?p>
- My home may be smaller with fewer furnishings, but it will be more peaceful.
- My bank account balance may be lower, but I am in full control and have what I need to have a good life.
- I have less money to spend on myself and others, but I can create a good life that allows me to enjoy myself even more.
- I have people who care about me and a door open to develop good quality new relationships
Remembering that your “net” worth is not your “self” worth is very important to having a good quality of life. Financial excess is counterproductive; however, financial stability is very important so work on it – budget and control spending.
Make Yourself a Priority
Focus on your own personal wellbeing which will give you big rewards that can be achieved without spending big bucks. Just remember these low-cost tips to find happiness:
- Your mind is a garden so keep pulling the weeds of negative thoughts and people.
- Remember that your body isn’t just a tool to carry your head around; make it a priority to keep it well.
- Find a fun and inexpensive way to “keep moving” by hiking, biking, dancing or going for a walk.
- Earn more about healthy eating; spend less on junk food and more on food that nourishes you.
- Make a daily effort to count your many blessings.
Most important, always remember that you have everything you need to have a good quality of life right inside of you.
Keila M. Gilbert, Esq.
©2019 Alpha Center for Divorce Mediation