I became a single parent to my two children almost four years ago. Now, I write about lone parenting and relationship breakdown.
I love quotes. There is just something so amazing about the way a few simple words, strung together, can alter your perception and outlook for the day ahead. If you really take a wise quote to heart, it can even have a profound effect on your future and on your inner well-being, particularly when you are going through a difficult time.
Divorcing or separating from a long-term partner can be a huge emotional upheaval. I experienced it just a few years ago and it was, for me, a traumatic event filled with anxiety and stress. Even though I painted on a smile and sought to be as positive as possible, I was still fearful for the future, and how it would all turn out. It kept me awake at night.
Here are a few quotes I picked out that I hope will motivate you if you have found yourself in the same situation—they are not specifically aimed at separated and divorced parents, but they could definitely help when your situation is getting you down:
1. "No matter how hard the past, you can always begin again." - Jack Kornfield
Jack Kornfield is inspirational. This is a great quote because it gives you hope for the future and the encouragement to move forward, knowing that whatever has gone before can be shed aside. It is really important to be able to look ahead with hope and positiveness, because doing the opposite can rob you of a happy life. And yet many people instead choose to remain in the past, allowing their present to be affected by the depression, resentment, anger and low self-esteem that they are carrying from previous circumstances. Not only is this very negative, but it can also prevent us from getting out there with a positive mindset and being open to change and new opportunities. Every day that we wake is a chance to do or create something beautiful—but if we don't open our eyes, instead choosing to dwell on something that we no longer have, then we won't even notice.
2. "I have decided to stick with love—hate is too great a burden to bear." - Martin Luther King Jr
I love this quote so much I bought a poster of it to put up on my wall. Even though I was going through a lot of upheaval, it left me with a kind of 'zen' feeling every time I looked at it. I think, in terms of separation and divorce, it rings with such a lot of truth. If we give too much energy to resentful, angry thoughts about our ex-partner, or anyone else, then we are only causing pain in ourselves. Unless circumstances are extreme, then we have probably enjoyed good times and special moments in the years before - giving in to hate and anger is a like a poison inside us that affects our own well-being. It achieves absolutely nothing. It is also unhealthy for any children if they pick up on it.
3. "Inner peace begins the moment you choose not to allow another person or event to control your emotions." - Pema Chodron
Pema Chodron is a Buddhist and the author of several spiritual books. This quote is very profound and has a similar message to the previous quote - you cannot carry true peace within you if you are carrying lots of negative thoughts based on someone else's actions. You are your own person and you have the right to be that person without constant assault from outside. It is not possible to feel at peace if you allow yourself to constantly absorb negativity that originates in another person. You have to be able to detach from the situation and put up your own invisible barriers. Think of your mind as a special place that deserves to be protected. Don't give rise to unnecessary battle. If something upsets you, try to return to that place of peace as soon as possible. Deal with any issues that arise from a practical level, attempting resolution without allowing negativity to take hold.
If you find it difficult to keep your own peace under certain circumstances, you could try a daily session of guided meditation. I started to do this on a daily basis and found it worked really well, leaving me in a place of calm and serenity afterward, no matter how I felt before. I used a podcast called Meditation Oasis, by Mary Maddux—I set a time aside every day to listen to the podcasts, which were about 20 minutes long, and I found her soothing meditations instantly made me feel calm and rejuvenated.
4. "As soon as people decide to confront a problem, they realise they are far more capable than they thought they were." - Paulo Coelho
I chose this quote by the well-known writer Paulo Coelho because, after being separated from my children's father for three years, I can see that the situation has seen me grow as a person. Being on my own felt very daunting at first, not just because of the emotion that came with the end of my relationship, but because of all the other things I had to contend with that I had never done before.
I am now a dab hand at DIY, including decorating and scraping out and filling in plaster cracks; more proficient with technology than I was before; good at juggling finances; much better at facing and dealing with any issues that arise on my own, including problem solving (a previous weak point of mine, since I usually left it to my partner). I have started to landscape the garden, which had never previously been my department. These might all sound like small achievements to a lot of people, but to me they are big because I had never done any of them before, having left every single one of them to my ex-partner. They were all things that I didn't accept as 'my' terrain, and I didn't believe I was capable.
When you are part of a couple, it is really easy to fall into a pattern of roles, whether consciously or unconsciously. The downside of that is, when we find ourselves alone for whatever reason, we can feel less than adept at tasks someone else used to do. But rather than feeling overwhelmed, if we treat it as a learning curve then we can gain more skills and a lot more independence.
5. "Believe you can and you're halfway there." - Theodore Roosevelt
Often, the only thing that holds us back in life is our own lack of belief. Those we consider to be successful are often the ones who have seen the most failure because they are prepared to take risks and follow their own dreams. If they hit an obstacle, then they try again, because they still believe in themselves.
When we first go through separation or divorce we can go through a number of emotions, many of which are not conducive to our future well being. We might believe that the future does not look good, that we are not going to be able to manage, whether financially or practically; that we are not capable enough of managing all on our own.
But these are all disabling thoughts, because even just allowing that message to permeate our minds holds us back. If we think that we can't do something, then often we don't even try; we don't give it our full effort. Successful people still believe they can do it, even when obstacles appear or times seem hard. Belief can carry us a very long way.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.