Last Friday, we explored why celebrity divorces and breakups, like the buzz about Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver’s potential divorce, can affect us exponentially.
If you missed it CLICK HERE.
Today, I’ve got a few tips to apply when you feel jostled by news of a pending divorce.
Finding inner peace in the face of divorce news.
1. Fact vs. Story/Meaning/Interpretation. One of the first essentials in finding inner peace in any moment is recognizing “reality” for what it is, and for what it isn’t. That means separating out the facts from the meaning, story and interpretation you assign almost automatically, in the face of “news.”
This isn’t always easy when we’re emotionally charged about a situation.
FACT: Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver are separated.
STORY, MEANING or INTERPRETATION: Love doesn’t last for anyone. Love won’t last for me. This should NOT have happened. They are definitely getting divorced.
Most of us just automatically add story, meaning and interpretation to everyday life. It’s what we naturally do. Yet, it is one of the biggest sources of our suffering. We need to become good at separating out story, meaning and interpretation from the objective facts.
3 Indicators We’re Leaving Reality and Adding Story, Meaning or Interpretation
* When we begin to predict the future, we’re already stepping into a story of the future… which may or may not happen in reality. Typically, these stories of the future are more doomsday-like, and create suffering. Example: “My relationship is doomed for divorce too.” We don’t even know for sure that Arnold and Maria will actually divorce. Apparently, Arnold is still wearing his wedding ring.
* Judgments are also indicators we’ve left the factual reality. The word SHOULD is one red flag. As Byron Katie often says, “How do we know something should have happened, it did. When we argue with reality, we lose, but only 100% of the time.”
In a perfect world, men and women who are married “shouldn’t cheat.” But, the reality is… it happens. Some say, “Everything happens for a reason and a purpose that serves us.” That may or may not be true. But, one thing I know for sure, when I mentally argue with a past that has already happened, and a past I cannot change — it leads to suffering. It’s the equivalent to beating your head against a brick wall, simply painful!
* Emotionally charged language is also a sign we’ve left the “facts” and are basking in a mind-made up story, meaning or interpretation. “If Arnold betrayed Maria, then maybe everything he’s said can’t be trusted.” Not necessarily.
Or how about “Love won’t last for me” ? Again, this is pouty language. You’re essentially having an emotional temper-tantrum with reality.
Look for indicators that you’re adding story, meaning or interpretation that is emotionally skewing reality. These indicators can help you recognize if you’re projecting a celebrity split onto your own relationship.
2. Feel your feelings. It’s normal to empathize, having a sense of compassion, sadness or grief in the face of tragedy. And, the ending of a 25+ year marriage is a tragedy for most.
One of the most effective inner peace tools is simply to “feel your feelings FULLY.” That means, allowing yourself to feel into whatever emotions are alive in you. Dive in. See if you can feel all the way into the sense of compassion, sadness, anger or grief. What most of us do instead, is resist our feelings and only partially feel them. This keeps us stuck.
If you’ve attended my Inner Peace Immersion Retreat, you’ve heard me say this, “Anything fully felt, transforms. Anything fully felt transforms to love.”
Experience this truth for yourself. Feel into your feelings FULLY.
Every relationship ebbs and flows. If you’re reacting strongly to Arnold and Maria’s split, this may be the wake up call you need to give some TLC to your sweetheart. Are you spending quality time with them? Is affection and appreciation flowing generously? Is it time for some honest and heartfelt communication about your desire to grow old and wrinkly with your beloved?
BTW, I’m not recommending you “communicate” in the form of a gripe session. When we point to everything our partners are not doing for us, we can “shame” our partners.
Start with yourself first. Show up as the partner you’d like to be. Be generous with appreciation.
If you’re single, perhaps it’s time to open yourself up to love and make it easier for Mr. Right to find you. Get clear about what kind of man or woman you’d like to attract. Don’t throw in the towel on your “happily-ever-after.” Arnold and Maria’s life path is not yours.
Bring awareness to the dynamics at play in the face of sudden news of divorce, separation or break-ups, whether it’s your best friend or one of your favorite movie stars. Awareness is key in experiencing greater everyday inner peace. You can gain so much perspective simply by stepping back and observing the dynamics at play.
Secondly, be kind and loving to yourself, no matter what emotional jostling arises for you. Drop the judgment. Being harsh on yourself only leads to more suffering.
And remember, celebrity couples have additional challenges that most of us will never have to face. Practically every kiss and tiff are scrutinized by the media, adding an extra level of complexity to relationship.
One of my dear friends experienced betrayal after 30 years of marriage. This infidelity resulted in the birth of a child. While excruciatingly painful, she chose to forgive… and was even present during the child’s birth. I know…pretty amazing! Just this morning, her email shared delight in celebrating 39 years of marriage last month. Had she been spotlighted in People Magazine and The National Enquirer, could she have navigated her way to forgiveness? Maybe so. But, more likely not. The pressure, judgment and opinions of others are difficult to swallow in the limelight. Just think, a million times more so.
Instead, my friend Mimi Gabriel, wrote a book, “The Heart to Forgive.” Perhaps good reading for Maria Shriver, as she decides the fate of her marriage with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Not saying she should or shouldn’t reconcile or divorce. But hopefully, she’ll truly get to make her own choice, independent from all those watching.
And hopefully, as we all bear witness to the relationship romances, dramas and divorces, we can all keep resting back into our own sense of inner peace, inner power and inner choice.