People often tell me that they don’t know how I am able to deal with the financial and emotional complexities that come with doing work as a Certified Divorce Financial Professional and mediator.
I began this work after spending over 25 years in the financial services industry as a CFP and sales manager for large banks, credit unions and insurance companies. My own personal situation and observation of how broken the process of divorce was led me to my current career. Having some time to actually sit with myself during this holiday season I put more energy into why I love the work I do and how the process of divorce while challenging and uncomfortable, can result in enormous personal growth.
I have always been attracted to career opportunities that needed a lot of improvement. Maybe it’s my Italian Catholic upbringing that brings a certain satisfaction with absolution through suffering. I find that when faced with a challenging situation whether physical, emotional, mental or all three (which divorce is) there lies an opportunity to find a deeper meaning in life and our own personal contribution to ourselves, our families, our communities and the world.
While I don’t condone divorce, it happens to over 50% of marriages. So, I thought to myself, let’s find a better way to deal with it. If you have been divorced, are thinking about divorce or currently going through a divorce here are some thoughts that may help you navigate your way through.
You’re not a bad person. Contrary to what you may feel right now your spouse or x-spouse is not a bad person evidenced by the fact that you married them, maybe had children with them and now someone else loves them. (I know you are saying to yourself, “ bull****”, but possibly someday you may agree.)
Know that, if you have children, each parent has to step up to the plate usually 50/50 and while you may not agree with the vegan lifestyle your soon to be x lives or the McDonald’s late-night runs that were part of the fun weekend,they are significant to your child and will provide balance and contrast to what they eventually choose for themselves.
Going through a difficult situation can results in getting to a better place. The decision of whether you embrace what is before you, learn from your mistakes, and do your best to co-parent and grow from the experience is up to you. Also, your ability to better understand your part (what was missing in you that you needed the other person to fill up and ultimately they could not) and take a positive attitude toward life and gratefulness of what you do have will make all the difference is what you attract next in your life. Repeat, this in on you.
While I do mediation that does not mean there is not conflict. It’s never about that very thing but always about the emotion behind it. Most of my clients are between 50-60 years of age. That is the tail end of our earning potential. Don’t squander away your money fighting over something that is not worth it. Be still. Be realistic. Don’t be greedy. No one is happy with half but that is what you will likely get in CA.
I love the following story. It is called, “The Butterfly”.
A man spent hours watching a butterfly struggling to emerge from its cocoon. It managed to make a small hole, but its body was too large to get through it. After a long struggle, it appeared to be exhausted and remained absolutely still.
The man decided to help the butterfly and, with a pair of scissors, he cut open the cocoon, thus releasing the butterfly. However, the butterfly’s body was very small and wrinkled and its wings were all crumpled.
The man continued to watch, hoping that, at any moment, the butterfly would open its wings and fly away. Nothing happened; in fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its brief life dragging around its shrunken body and shriveled wings, incapable of flight.
What the man – out of kindness and his eagerness to help – had failed to understand was that the tight cocoon and the efforts that the butterfly had to make in order to squeeze out of that tiny hole were Nature’s way of training the butterfly and of strengthening its wings.
Sometimes, a little extra effort is precisely what prepares us for the next obstacle to be faced. Anyone who refuses to make that effort, or gets the wrong sort of help, is left unprepared to fight the next battle and never manages to fly off to their destiny.