“Related to mastering your emotions is the ability to distance yourself from the present moment and think objectively about the past and the future.” ~ Green and Elffers in The 48 Laws of Power

During a midlife divorce, we all tend to experience a feeling of powerlessness. Circumstances are careening out of control beyond our power to direct or determine their outcome. Our emotions are intense and erratic and the resulting loss of power increases the feeling of helplessness and hopelessness.

The 48 Laws of Power has been an interesting and enlightening read for me. The quote above continues on to say, “Half of the game is learning how to forget those events in the past that eat away at you and cloud your reason.” Use the past, they say, to learn valuable lessons.

“Begin by examining the mistakes you have made; the ones that have most grievously held you back. Analyze them in terms of ‘I shall never repeat such a mistake; I shall never fall into such a trap again.’ If you can evaluate and observe yourself in this way, you can learn to break the patterns of the past – an immensely valuable skill.” Learning to step outside your immediate circumstance and observe it as an outsider gives us great perspective.

Someone observing our situation from the outside most likely wants to say, “Get a grip on yourself. Stop ranting and raving. Let him talk and show his lack of care and integrity. Your rage and your sadness will not change him, so save your breath and your show composure.” In fact, the authors say, “those emotions will invariably make situations less controllable and heighten your enemy’s resolve. Observe your opponents moves with as much calmness as you can muster.”

All of that is easier said than done in the middle of your divorce journey. I know. I’ve done more than my share of all of that crazy, useless, even destructive behavior. But today, let’s practice observing situations from a new perspective. A perspective of calm, confident distance. It’s not the circumstances that matter, it’s how we respond to them and how we can use what we learn to create the life we want in the future.

“Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.” ~ Ecclesiastes 7:9 (NIV)

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