memories of our marriage can feel tainted and triggering after divorce. learn how to turn that around when you most need it.
We all love happy memories. They bring a smile to our face when we think of them. They make us laugh and feel connected to our friends and family when we think of them and share them. But memories can often feel tainted and triggering after divorce. It’s really common for memories to create a lot of pain and suffering after their divorce.
In today's episode I'm going to give you 3 reasons why you need happy memories after divorce and why you need to laugh out loud especially after divorce.
If you're tired of feeling like life is letting you down since your divorce and you want to know how you can create a life even better than when you were married, then you need to schedule your free consult call with me. Click here to schedule.
What you'll learn from this episode:
What it means for life to be 50/50.
What to do with things left over from your marriage (photos, rings, etc).
Why laughter is the best medicine.
Using memories to connect with your kids.
Using memories to heal.
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Featured on this episode:
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Full Episode Transcript:
Hello, my friends. Welcome back to Becoming You Again. This is Karin Nelson your host and I’m pretty excited about today’s episode because I am going to be talking about happy memories after divorce. Now I can hear some of you are thinking, ‘Oh I don’t need this one. I definitely do not want any happy memories. There’s no happy memories from a marriage that I want to remember.’ Right? Or you’re groaning and thinking, ‘Ugh, this is the last thing I want here today.’ But hear me out. Just give me a minute because I promise you that I’m going to be talking about a few reasons why happy memories are important even after your divorce and why you need to be laughing out loud at times in your life. So please stick around. At least give this a chance. It is not going to be a very long podcast episode but I promise you that if you will give it a listen, some things in your life may change for the better.
All right. We all love happy memories. They bring a smile to our face when we think of them. They make us laugh and feel connected to our friends and family when we think of them and share them. They are a way of bringing forward the past to the present and it makes us feel cherished and loved and all of the players in the memories become something that we can enjoy and share on and on and on.
But memories can often feel tainted and triggering after divorce. It’s really common for my clients to come to me in so much pain after their divorce that they have a really have a hard time remembering any of the good times when they were married. Anything that was right or good or any times were they were happy because they are so focused on everything that went wrong and how hurt and jaded they are since their divorce. I am not saying that it is bad or wrong if this is you. It totally makes sense if you are not in the space yet where you are able to queue up good memories or share those with your kids. But I just want you to open your mind to the possibility that it could be a really good thing if you can make your brain work to bring up and search for happy times that you had during your marriage. Even if it wasn’t all the time. Even if it’s really hard to find some. If you will be willing to look I promise you that they are there and it can change your whole outlook. There is a place for happy memories and it can be a beautiful way of connection between you and your children and even your ex if you want it to be. You just have to be open and willing to allow your brain to do the work to find those memories.
I have clients who come to me asking what they should do with things from their marriage, like photos, keepsakes, trinkets from family vacations, or even their wedding ring. You know, we all have those types of things. Wedding dresses and things like that. Some women are so stuck in their anger that the option they can see is to just get rid of these things as quickly as possible. They find them triggering. They find them upsetting and they just don’t know what to do with them. And yet I have other clients who, who just aren’t ready to let go of their old life. They miss it terribly and use these types of things against themselves to feel miserable when they look at them. To bring up memories and use that as a way to feel sad to feel like they’ve missed out on something and feel sadness about where their life is right now.
But I don’t want you to use memories in either of these ways, in any of these ways. I know that there are some happy times in your life when you were married and I want you to just take a few moments to try and dig through those memories and find some that you can use to recall to create something good.
So I’m going to give you 3 reasons why you need happy memories after divorce and why you need to laugh out loud sometimes, especially after divorce.
The majority of women I coach didn’t have a 100% completely terrible marriage. They just didn’t. But all their brain is looking for during and after the divorce is evidence about how terrible heir ex is and what a terrible marriage they had and how miserable they are right now. But when I ask this question, “Tell me a memory that makes you happy from your marriage,” they can always find one. They may have to dig a little bit but they can always find one.
So why is this important? Because I think it’s really helpful for you to remember that life is 50/50. Meaning 50% of it is going to be good and there is going to be enjoyment and happiness and 50% of that is going to be on the other side of that. Many of our thoughts after divorce are about feeling hurt, and unmet expectations, and feeling let down or abused in some way. And when we’re constantly focused on those thoughts we feel terrible because those thoughts create negative feelings. And it’s ok to think these thoughts and feel these feelings but it’s also ok to have a break from it sometimes if you want. And an easy way to do that is to think of memories that make you feel happy.
I was coaching a woman who had jars of sand from different beaches she and her husband had traveled to during their marriage. She was conflicted because she wanted to keep the jars. They brought back really good memories for her of the trips that she had enjoyed. Times that were really fun and enjoyable. She felt really good when she thought of those memories and when she looked at the jars and held those memories in her mind. And yet her ex didn’t wanted her to keep them. He wanted her to get rid of them. She was confused because she didn’t know what to do. So we coached through it and she realized that she really liked the memories and the feelings that accompanied those thoughts and she wanted to keep them. Her work was that she needed to be willing to let her ex feel whatever he was going to feel about her keeping the jars and allow herself to keep the happy memories that came along with looking at and having those memories about the times they had traveled in their marriage.
This whole idea of being able to recall happy memories at a time when you may need them most always reminds me of Harry Potter when he has to do the Patronus charm. The whole idea behind the Patronus charm is he may be in a situation where he is scared or terrified or fearful or something terrible is going to happen and he needs to protect himself and the way he protects himself if he goes to a happy memory and he recalls that memory and he allows the happiness and the joy to overtake the possibility of a negative emotion and that is how he is able to create that Patronus charm.
I kind of want you to think about it in that way. You could use it as a way to drown out some of the more negative emotions that you are feeling because it is really common to feel lots of negative emotion especially when we are going through a divorce and it can be hard to feel positive when there is so much negativity going on. And this can be a really good, easy way to do it. Even if it is coming from when you were married. For sure look for ways to find those positive memories that are going to serve you in the moments that you need.
The second reason to have happy memories after divorce is because laughter truly is the best medicine. It just feels so good to laugh. It feels so good to smile. Laughter and smiling are so full of joy. I often think of that scene in Elf when Buddy the Elf is in the department store north pole and the store manager asks him, “Why are you smiling like that?” And Buddy says, “I just like to smile. Smiling’s my favorite.”
I totally agree with Buddy. Smiling is one of my favorite things. You can’t have laughter without smiling. Laughter and smiling are fun. Laughter creates endorphins that feel euphoric. You burn calories. It is so fun to laugh and when you can tell your kids stories about funny things that happened during your marriage or when they were little or even if you all have a funny memory that you like to share that happened when you were married talk about those memories. Laugh together. It’s a beautiful way to connect with your kids, to connect with yourself and it feels so good to laugh. Let laughter be a way to heal yourself from all of the pain you’re feeling because of what you’re thinking about your divorce. Give yourself permission to smile and laugh. It’s okay to let go of the pain, even if it’s only for a moment.
The third reason why it is important to keep happy memories of your time during marriage is because these memories can be a way of keeping your family unit connected between you and your ex and your kids.
Now hear me out here. Like it or not, your children are part of you and your ex. You may not be happy with the way things ended or even who your ex was during the marriage, or who they’re being right now, but if you continually reject him as a person your kids will feel that and it will create an environment where it’s going to be much easier for them to feel rejected by you because they know that they are half you and half him. They are a product of the two of you and it’s okay for them to be from you and from him.
Telling fun, happy stories of when you were all together has a much better chance of creating an environment of happy thoughts that are going to lead to feeling joy, and acceptance and love.
One thing that my ex and I told our kids when we told them we were divorcing was that we were still going to be a family unit, even though our relationship was no longer as a married couple. But that we were always going to be their mom and dad and we would always be a nuclear family in that way.
So we often tell stories and think of great memories of times when we were together. We have so many times on vacations like when we were in Virginia and we went to a restaurant called Ted’s Bulletin I do not know like six or seven times and we were only in Virginia for five days but we loved the food so much. Every time we go we get the chocolate cake. This was multiple days in a row. We just kept going back to the same location because we loved it so much. That is one of our most favorite memories to talk about. We cannot wait to go back to Ted’s bulletin again.
Or the time we went to Universal Studies over Thanksgiving and hardly anyone was there which was amazing and so while their dad and I enjoyed some spiked Butterbeer the kids went six or seven times in a row on the Jurassic Park ride because there was no one in line and they just could. They just kept running back and forth. They’d get off the right and jump back in line and go on it again.
And we also like to remember the time we took the road trip to the Grand Canyon when the kids were younger and we brought along the portable DVD player in the car to keep the kids occupied and we ended up watching Pee Wee’s Big Adventure over and over and over again literally the entire trip. It’s still one of the funniest and best movies we like to watch.
It's these types of memories that bring laughter, and love and connection and they can live on from you to your kids and beyond. Divorce is already challenging but it also doesn’t have be completely tainted by sadness and misery. Look for those moments when goodness and joy was felt and give yourself permission to cherish those happy memories.
If you like what you heard on today’s podcast and you want to know more about working 1:1 with me, you can go to www.karinnelsoncoaching.com and schedule your free consult to find out more. That’s www dot Karin nelson coaching dot com.
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