One of the most powerful ways to live your life is to be in a place where you no longer need to worry about money. Divorce is a life change that can properly kick this all up, create a sense of financial fight, flight or freeze mode and send you hanging out with the not-so-kind divorce mind monkeys.
Being in a place of financial vulnerability is not somewhere I thought I would be standing in my mid-forties. With two small children, and being a stay-at-home mom who’s been out of the workplace for 10 years, I was left wide open. I had to believe I would be okay, that I was enough, and that at the end of the day I would be able to figure it out. I remember standing at the door of my beautiful family home before we separated saying to a friend “even if we lose it all, I will still be okay”. Fast forward one year, our company pretty much hit the wall of the world recession and at the same time, we agreed to divorce. We were delivered the money lesson and it was hard! It was also one of the most significant times of my life.
So, it is the gut-punching, shoulder tensing financial fear that often takes control, messes with your head, and sends you into the divorce war zone with your Ex. The early days are critical in determining how you navigate your finances and divorce, and how you move forward in your break up and future life.
Fear of lack of money, a home and uncertainty about your future can take control. Blame, anger and revenge can overwhelm you. But, the sooner you remove unhelpful thoughts and worries, by choosing to focus on kindness, the quicker and less painful it will be to move on.
How do you move out of the financial fear mode into a gentler, trusting and more accepting way of thinking?
You have a conversation – with yourself, and when possible, with each other. You each bravely put your courage pants on and you begin to talk. With a willing Ex, you leave your egos at the door and as adults sit down and work out how to move forward. If you need any help, ask – we went for mediation. Each day you commit to the process of communicating positively and kindly, especially if you have children, always coming back to the knowledge that you are building your foundations for their future.
At the end of the day, all my Ex and I had left was to be kind to each other. I took a leap of faith, exposed my vulnerability rather than hiding behind my armor, and I showed up. Going through a divorce can leave your brain tired and frazzled. It’s not an easy path, but we persevered. Why spend the money you both need for your futures on fighting each other? Paying to argue, battle and punish each other is kind of insanity. If you have made the decision to be Better Apart, why then is it a good idea to spend the resources you have to divide on being mean to one another?
Making conscious, kinder decisions takes you to a place of empowerment when it comes to your finances and divorce. Every time you make a choice to be more compassionate, wise and calm, you get to hold on to your power (and if you’re lucky, your money).
Finances and Divorce – How to Overcome Your Fears
Especially with a difficult Ex, facing financial fear through a divorce can be especially scary. Here are some tips that I myself have found helpful to navigate through and beyond my divorce.
- Listen and talk to each other. Don’t be afraid to vulnerable, open and humble. Remember to commit to helping each other through difficult times.
- Practice gratitude – for what you have already, no matter what it is. Begin to say thank you each day. You can do this about your home, your kids, the fact that you are still breathing, fresh water to drink. It may feel silly at first, but gratitude builds. Listen and talk to each other. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable, open and humble. Remember to commit to helping each other through difficult times.
- Create a physical board of wonderful experiences, thoughts, wishes, and desires or you can start with Pinterest. Know you are worthy of dreams no matter where you are today. You need to have dreams amongst the uncertainty, to have aims, goals and a place that no one can mess with that is yours, and yours alone.
- Practice stillness, with a guided meditation, or by taking time to be a human being rather than a human ‘doing’. Focus on your breathing and simply allow yourself to be.
- Get clever with what you have to sell, gift with love and exchange. Gift stuff with love – even when you feel you have nothing left, this act of passing on, with love is empowering. Be open to meeting different people through the buying and selling process too. I once sobbed divorce tears into the hug and kind words of someone picking up a wardrobe.
- Be aware of the words you use around money. If you are always talking about ‘lack’ then it is probably what you are going to attract more of. Words have a powerful effect on how we feel – where our thoughts go our energy flows.
Rather than focusing on what you lack, try to be mindful of the money you have. You may need to cut back financially or learn how to budget. Choosing to stay stuck and be angry about the unfairness of your financial settlement is like “drinking poison and waiting for your Ex to die”. Staying in a place of fear of the future and still stuck, fighting your ex is just holding you back from moving on. You have to accept, let go and work on your forgiveness. Lean into the brilliance of you are meant to be, whatever age you are. Use your divorce as the foundations to your future, what have you learned – strength, hope, resilience and the ability to see that “the sky is blue beyond the clouds”?
And finally, a quote to leave you with…
“If money is your hope for independence you will never have it. The only real security that a man will have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience, and ability.” – Henry Ford
Tosh Brittan is founder and Director of Divorce Goddess with over 15 years’ experience in both practicing and teaching mindfulness.
She has been featured in The Sunday Times and Weekend FT as well as working with BBC, ITV and Sky amongst others.
After successfully using mindfulness through her own divorce, Tosh trained as a mindfulness teacher and coach in order to help others through this often stressful and emotional time.
As a Reconnection and Divorce Coach she is passionate about integrating mindfulness into work of professionals who work with separating and divorcing couples. An inspirational speaker, she runs training workshops and bespoke training packages as well as offering one to one sessions to their clients, reducing anxiety, overwhelm and conflict in families going through this process.
Her podcast Divorce Goddess incorporates interviews with experts on all aspects of divorce life incorporating kindness and mindfulness. She also pens a blog on www.divorcegoddess.com.
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DISCLAIMER: The commentary, advice, and opinions from Gabrielle Hartley are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice or mental health services. You should contact an attorney and/or mental health professional in your state to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.
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