Define Your Core Divorce Values

bestself divorce Apr 23, 2021

While I was going through my divorce three years ago, I had many moments when people told me to take the high road so that someday when I have to think back about how I behaved throughout the process I would be proud of myself.  Sometimes it was annoying to hear, especially when I was sorting out my ex’s infidelity, or trying to work through intense anger and frustration that I married him at all.  But, it’s really good advice to focus on the outcomes you desire by defining the values you want to live by while you’re going through an awful time in life.

If you’re wondering why the story you tell yourself on the other side of divorce will matter to you and your healing, or how defining your core values will make a difference, read on.

Think about this sentiment of doing things for the story you get to tell on the other side.  What does that mean to you?  Does that mean you become a doormat and let him push you around?  Does it mean you have to feel a certain way at a certain time?   Does it mean you never get in the car and scream at the top of your lungs because you’re angry?  I don’t think so.  What I do think it means is that you need to get clear on your core values and focus on operating from that place, even during this difficult time.  These values are for you, not for your ex.  And living these values are all about the energy you want to put out in the world.  You take the high road for you, not for your friends, family, or children (although they all benefit when you live your highest good).

The sentiment behind this statement is really knowing that when you look back on your story of divorce you will be able to confidently tell yourself that you did the very best you could to live as a values-based individual even though you were going through the absolute worst time in your life.  I can confidently report that I consistently took the high road.  What if you’re reading this and you’re thinking you didn’t take the high road and what if it’s too late?  Now is the time to define your core values of how you want to live from this moment forward. 

I’ll share my three values then let’s define yours!  When I think back now to my divorce process years ago, I can confidently say I took the high road and lived by three values that were most important to me: Love, Respect & Spirituality. 

Love: When my marriage ended, my role as a stepmom also ended in the traditional sense.  I had several people say to me that I needed to let go of my stepkids and walk away.  These people were well-intentioned but it didn’t feel right to me and at no point did I ever live without immense, open love for these kids.  I still love them to this day.  I still talk to them, share my life with them, and love them as much as I did while I was married to their dad.  Our relationships are very different but the core value of love is still there.  I go all-in with the value of love.

Respect: We don’t always know how to show respect for an ex-spouse.  One of the things that happened through my divorce was that my ex’s family and friends reached out to console me and tell me they didn’t condone how horrible he had been behaved.  For my ex, he felt like I was trying to take away his support system.  Even though he did deplorable things to me, of which his own family disapproved, they were still his family and I still wanted to be respectful to him as a person.  I cut off all communication with his parents, siblings, and friends so that I could live as a person who respects the needs of a person that is almost impossible to respect.

Spirituality: I want to be someone who is in flow with God and the universe.  During my divorce, this was incredibly challenging for me.  How could God have let me marry this guy?  Why am I about to turn 40 with two ex-husbands and no children?  These were my painful spiritual questions.  Here’s the real deal on living with values, even when it’s hard to live as a spiritual person I still showed up and hoped for the best.  I prayed, I meditated, I reached out to my faith community. It didn’t always feel like it was clicking for me but I showed up anyway. 

It’s your turn to define your three core values which will help guide you as to how you want to live your best life during divorce. Write down as many core values as you think are important as you go through the process.  Whatever you write down, just sit with it, in absence of judgement.  More ideas: Peace, Authenticity, Faith, Harmony, Fairness, Autonomy, Growth, Adventure, Stability. 

Now, choose the THREE core values that you think resonate most with you.  Let your three chosen values be a touch stone to you anytime you feel yourself drifting down a path that doesn’t serve your highest good. Write them down on a piece of paper or in your phone in a place you can reference. 

Telling yourself a story on the other side of divorce matters.  It matters more that the story is about you living your highest good, as an embodiment of your core values.  Imagine that this horrible divorce process is helping you walk down a path to finding something much happier, better, and more grounded down the road.  Define your values so you can tell yourself an empowering story of healing on the other side of divorce.  Do it for you. 

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