One of the most frustrating and disappointing thoughts about divorce is that it’s an un-doing, a move in reverse, when we want is to feel that we’re making progress. But the skills you learn during a divorce can actually help you. And that’s even more relevant for the tools you are learning through the process of mediation. They are useful in any aspect of your post-divorce life, both personal and professional.
First: Happiness Can Come Back
A recent article examined post-divorce happiness and found that any people don’t just rebound—they do better than before divorce. The author points out that once the sadness fades, couples have more day-to-day happiness, which, in turn, leads to better relationships and even better parenting. It’s even possible to have improved (less emotionally fraught) relations with your ex.
Lessons from Mediation
Avoid Re-Hashing the Past
In mediation, participants are encouraged to look forward and not dwell on the past. In post-marriage life, this is key to mental toughness, according to a 2016 Psychology Today article. Set aside a certain (short) period of time to think about mistakes, and then move on.
Focus On The Present
Just as looking to the future was helpful, so, too, is staying in the present after mediation. A Harvard University study found that people who live in the moment are happier than those who are fixated on the past or even the future.
Speak Up About What You Want
Throughout the process of mediation, you are encouraged to be frank about your needs and desires. For some people, it’s the first time (or the first time in a long time) they’ve been encouraged to voice their opinions. Once you’ve been able to do that in mediation, you can feel confident to continue sharing your opinions out in the world.
You Really Have Support
Throughout the mediation process, you may lean on family and friends, and professionals in the mental health, banking, accounting and legal fields. You have an amazing support network, and realize that these networks are just as valuable in the rest of your life. Seek out those whom you trust and those who want you to succeed. They are huge assets that you can lean on for the rest of your life.