About a week ago, Vishen Lakhiani, Mindvalley’s leader announced that he and his wife of 19 years were getting divorced. Only, he didn’t use that word. In fact, he went out of his way to mention that he and his ex-wife Kristina refuse to use that word or give it any power in their satiation because what they were doing was nothing like divorce, and that is the point.
Vishen’s announcement about their Conscious Uncoupling experience, a term coined by Author Katherine Woodward Thomas, stirred something in me. It triggered me, and I knew exactly why as soon as it happened:
Our nine-year-old son has had several therapists and counselors, behavioral problems, self-esteem issues, and the list goes on, which I believe are related to a wedge the stigma of divorce placed between his father and I being able to consciously come together to do what’s best for our son.
Tell me, how are we supposed to raise children who are not totally screwed up in the head like that?
It’s damn-near impossible, but yet, it has become the norm, and it doesn’t have to be that way. It never did.
I had heard about other “odd” couples like Vishen and Kristina before, but I guess it was always something I looked at as a miracle. When you’d hear of people like them, you’d say “that’s nice and everything, but that would never happen.” I mean who does that?
Who gets divorced and then goes on an 8-day vacation across the world with the person they just divorced and their kids, right?
It’s crazy to most people, it’s beautiful that they can do that, to me. Not that I am running to vacay with my ex, but the idea that two people can put aside all their bullshit, not hate each other, and show their kids and the world how humans should treat each other — especially when they no longer love each other — is AMAZING!
But, unfortunately, that is the social hypnosis of divorce: hate. Society has conditioned us to believe that not only is a hard divorce normal, but it also means war. And if there isn’t a war, you must not be properly divorced, I guess. It’s become almost like a badge of honor we wear because it means we survived something.
We are so quick to give up communication with each other as if we seized to exist the second we stopped loving each other, stay angry for what feels like forever, and go through years of litigation, for what?
What does the divorce war do for you, the other person, or more importantly, your children?
It does nothing but cement that stigma of divorce in you, in our society, and it shows your children how to be LESS conscious of the world they live in.
As a person who unfortunately became a “hard divorce” statistic, I say enough is enough with the way we think, feel and BEHAVE towards divorce. Something must be done, and I hope that something is a Conscious Uncoupling movement so huge, it impacts our Family Laws in the US.
I’ve taken the time to support this movement and write this blog because I think it is important for everyone to understand how Conscious Uncoupling can play a big role in our evolution as human beings. Reducing the war society has deemed normal in divorce impacts everyone, not just you and your family.
With 40–50% of couples in the United States getting divorced according to American Psychology Association, and subsequent divorce rates at even higher, how can we NOT look at our system and think that something is broken?
But here is an unpopular opinion from someone who went through three attorneys and a really screwed up family law system:
It’s not up to the system to truly “handle” your divorce, it is up to you.
It is ALL up to you, and it is all a choice. It’s your responsibility to realize that no communication, fighting, bickering, talking bad about each other, being vindictive, using the children as pawns, etc., only leads to more broken men and women.
And broken men and women bring more broken children into this world. Do you see how this cycle impacts everyone? Those broken men and women are our future.
These are the 7 ways I believe Conscious Uncoupling can help us evolve:
1) Kill the Stigma of Divorce
I understand that there are communities, groups and religious organizations who will always, no matter what, view divorce as a sin, regardless of what the couple has been through, what they feel or what they want.
I cannot speak to those communities as I honestly feel that they are part of the problem because it doesn’t matter what group, sect or religion it is, you are limiting your potions to human beings, and that’s just not how our existence works. We were created to have ENDLESS possibilities.
As a society, we can kill the stigma of divorce by focusing on the beautiful parts of the uncoupling process instead of the horrible ones. Divorce can be an uncomfortable process, yes, but that doesn’t mean it has to equal war, pain, disdain and all the other negative mental, emotional and psychological expectations we place on it.
By choosing to become aware of this, you can begin to kill the stigma of divorce.
2) More Love, Less Hate
You don’t have to want an intimate long-life attachment to a person, to turn up your heart dial to treat them like a person, and to be kind and to be fair. This movement promotes peace over power. Remember, no one wins in a divorce. Everyone just learns how to live with it.
To become aware of something means to become conscious of it. When we understand that it does not have to be a long, dreadful, painful experience, you do not have to fight over assets; and, you don’t have to look at the kids as possessions and weapons to hurt the other person, you realize that there is no reason to hate the other person.
Choosing to be kind to them, like you would a cute puppy or orphaned child, without romance, expectations or opinions — just because they are human, and they deserve it — is the greatest act of love one can do.
3) Strengthens Everyone’s EQ
Divorce or uncoupling, whatever label you choose to place on it, can be uncomfortable even for the person trying their best. It is a big change and change always equals resistance. But something beautiful is born from this process, too: the increasing and improving emotional intelligence not just in you, your ex and your kids, but in everyone around you.
Everyone you work with, your friends, and family members who will want to be there to support you through this process will find a mentally and emotionally balanced person, versus a lunatic who doesn’t see the end of the divorce tunnel (that was me). By increasing and improving everyone’s EQ, we spread consciousness, and like a seed, eventually, it will sprout in them.
Conscious Uncoupling is a great way to lead by example and plant seeds with your story. For the rest of your life, you will be a beacon for peace, love, and consciousness through the uncoupling process instead of what society sees today.
Your uncoupling will be seen as different and odd, and that will spark curiosity in the people who want and need it in their lives.
4) Don’t Let Your Kids Become a Statistic
Everyone has heard and has probably seen or experienced either in their own lives or the lives of someone they know, that divorce can take a toll on everyone involved. You hear terms like “oh, he comes from a broken home,” and you can’t help to wonder why it must be like that.
Why does living in two homes have to be the same as “a broken home?” It doesn’t. The only reason statistics show that kids that come from divorced parents are more likely to have emotional and behavioral problems is not because of divorce; it’s because of the way the parents handled the divorce and their own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors surrounding divorce.
This movement will drastically change the statistics surrounding divorce. Mark my words! The more people Consciously Uncouple, the less “broken homes” and “broken kids” there will be.
5) Helps You Get Better, Not Bitter
I met a Coach at an NLP training who released his first book with that title “Get Better, Not Bitter,” and while I have yet to read the book he gave me, I have never forgotten the name because it made me think of……wait for it: DIVORCE. His book isn’t about divorce, but the title says everything about almost anything!
After a divorce, society has taught us that we are damaged goods. Most divorced people feel like they will never be able to love or trust again. They try to hold onto those negative feelings, but their human side kids in, needing love and connection, so they crawl into a new relationship still having those toxic beliefs, which most of the time lead to what? Divorce. Again.
Avoiding “the war” altogether means giving yourself the time, space and healing you will need to step into that new phase of your life. It means you don’t have to wait 5, 6 or 10 years to realize that you held on to beliefs about that divorce that you should have to let go of ages ago.
It allows you to see your blank canvas again sooner, so you can have what you want and deserve in a healthy relationship in the future. It is your way of not bringing in old relationship baggage into your new love life.
6) Do Away with “Custody” and “Time-Sharing”
When two people are conscious enough to uncouple peacefully, there is no need to fight over time shared with the kids because unless the other parent is unfit, you understand that your children need your former spouse just as much as they need you.
Disagreements over things like custody, time-sharing, and vacations become non-existent or short-lived because you know there are ways to resolve those matters that do not have to end up in front of a judge or fighting viscously.
The last thing you want is to hurt your child during that process, but the truth is that time-sharing, even as mandated by a judge creates a lot of internal conflict for children, especially when the parents are fighting about it constantly. My son used to tell me that he loves me more than his father.
At first, I didn’t know why he was saying it to me because I certainly wouldn’t ask him a question like that, but one day I decided to ask him why. His response floored me.
He said I don’t want you to think I don’t love you just because I have to leave with my father. I know you cry sometimes, and you guys are always fighting about the holidays.”
What could I possibly respond? It was like someone cleared the fog.
I had tried my best to shield him from what I was going through during that time, but there was no way to really keep it out of his world when it was such a big part of mine. Inadvertently, through the fighting and bickering, my son had developed these fears and worries that I never wanted him to have or experience.
Children that know that they are loved and cared for by both parents even if they now must bounce back and forth after uncoupling, grow up to be more confidence, have more self-esteem, and better conflict resolution.
7) End Litigation Tug-of-War
I never imaged when I got divorced that I would be in and out of court for YEARS. And I never could have imagined the toll it would take on me mentally, emotionally, physically and FINANCIALLY.
Even if you had more than enough money to crush your former spouse, why would you want to? No matter what they did or said, no amount of fighting, especially watching lawyers do the fighting for you, will fix what happened.
Save yourself the headaches, the sleepless nights, the calls and emails to your attorney with evidence of this or that — none of it will make you feel better or make this process one ounce more enjoyable, pleasant or conscious.
As I write this, I am flooded with a million more reasons why Conscious Uncoupling is so important. I wish I could speak to the millions of people facing divorce right now and open their eyes to just how many options are available to them, not as in lawyers and judges, but inside them.
All the tools you need to change the way you see and live divorce are already inside you.
I understand that both people may not always be on board with such an extreme idea, but you can choose to do your best to remain present in your commitment to Conscious Uncoupling.
Article originally published by Vanessa Rende on ThriveGlobal.com