There comes a time in everyone’s life that where circumstances force us to take a good, hard, long look in the mirror and reflect on what we see. In fact, there will be many of these times.
As I moved through my divorce almost ten years ago, I realized quickly that there was a legal, financial AND emotional journey that I would have to manage; and that those had a far greater impact on my life than I could imagine.
What I didn’t realize at that time was that as I began to create my new life after, I would over time begin to ask myself questions that forced me to evaluate my past in a raw, real and extremely uncomfortable way, so that I could begin to create my future.
I found myself, time and time again, looking in the mirror and asking myself questions that while I didn’t know it at the time, would hold the key to unlocking the door to a joyful, abundant and extraordinary new life.
What I eventually learned is that each time I looked in the mirror, I was giving myself an opportunity to come clean.
According to the dictionary, to come clean means to tell the truth, often about something bad that you have been trying to keep a secret.
Divorce is one of those life experiences that forces us to ask difficult questions. The problem is that it can be so easy to avoid answering these questions honestly by hiding behind excuses, hiding behind our victim status, or hiding behind fear of what the answers might be and mean.
Some of the questions that I asked were:
- Why did I really stay in my marriage for as long as I did when I wasn’t truly happy?
- How might I have contributed to the deterioration of my marriage?
- Why can’t my Ex-husband make things easier for us to parent the kids in the best possible way?
- What is it going to take to secure a self-sufficient and abundant life and future for myself?
Other questions that you may be asking yourself (based on the many questions my clients as when we work together):
- How come I’m not getting what I want?
- Everything is falling apart, why do bad things keep happening to me?
- What I am doing wrong because I can’t seem to find love?
- My divorce settlement was unfair, I have no idea how I am going to recover financially?
- I was a great wife and mother, what did I ever do to deserve this?
- Why should I have to go through this, I didn’t do anything but be a good and loving person?
The good news: each of these questions holds a key to uncovering your new life. And each of these questions, should you choose to truly come clean, will lead you on a journey of unimaginable transformation.
The bad news: your fear, anger and sadness will try hard to get you to avoid seeking the raw, real and powerful answers to these questions. The process of truly answering these questions will be extremely uncomfortable and will force you to let go of what was so that you can be open to and embrace the future you can’t yet see.
So, let me share a few things that happened when I decided to come clean:
1. Why did I really stay in my marriage for as long as I did when I wasn’t truly happy?
I stayed in my marriage because I was young and believed in the power of commitment. But an even greater truth was that I was scared to death of what it would mean to get divorced; and I had to get to the point where I knew that I would rather be alone than be in my marriage. It took me years to understand and admit that it was easier to stay married than to own what I truly wanted and needed and take action to get it.
Coming clean has allowed me to make a commitment to myself that I will never take the path of least resistance and instead, take daily intentional action to live my life around the way I want to feel, every day. This commitment has driven all of my decisions in life, in love and in my business.
2. How did I contribute to the deterioration of my marriage?
It took a long time to admit and accept that I wasn’t honest with myself or my ex-husband about what I wanted and needed while we were married. I did not set a standard in my life and relationship that honored how I wanted to feel. I didn’t set boundaries and I didn’t know how to honor them even when I did set them. My greatest contribution was to allow mediocrity and become passive over time, stepping into the role of a victim when I had unlimited power to change my relationship and circumstance. He did not keep me in the marriage, I did.
Coming clean has allowed me to master setting boundaries in my life and relationships; and honor them in a way that is feminine, clear, kind and compassionate so that I can create a life and love that meets the extraordinary standard that I have set for myself.
3. Why can’t my Ex-husband make things easier for us to parent the kids in the best possible way?
While I always imagined that we would be successful co-parents, our post-divorce parenting styles have led us to a parallel parenting strategy instead. The difficult, but the true answer to this question is that what and how my ex-husband chooses to parent does not determine how I parent.
Coming clean has allowed me to focus my attention and energy on being the mother that I have always dreamed of being for my children. I have been able to surrender the thought that we should be co-parenting and instead, embrace that parallel parenting works in our situation. My greatest commitment to parenting involved becoming a happy, healthy and whole woman so that I can model for them what that looks like. As well, I have focused instead on improving the quality of my communication with my kids so that I can make the greatest impact on them; even when my parenting is different from that of their father, which has taught them to gather advice and wisdom from both of us and create their own set of values over the years.
4. What is it going to take to secure a self-sufficient and abundant life for myself?
This was a particularly painful question to answer, and it required brutal honesty with myself. Having been in a marriage that was financially secure, and also one where I gave up my financial power, I had to own my choice to give up that power and learn how to reclaim it for myself. The reality of my divorce settlement and the financial situation that resulted, set a new financial reality for me. Being honest meant that I had to do things that I didn’t necessarily think were fair and didn’t imagine that I would have to do.
Coming clean with this question caused me to sell my house and downsize, get a full time job, trade in my car for a less expensive one, create a new, leaner budget and take full responsibility for my financial future. In fact, this new reality led to the creation of my beloved business and has given me the greatest joy of my life, serving you. All of these decisions and the path to making them have allowed me to become a self-sufficient, financially literate, and in-control-of-my-destiny woman. By the way, I also learned and accepted that life truly isn’t always fair…and even when it’s not, we still have the power to create our own destiny!
These are only a few of the many questions that continuously grace my life, as they will yours.
The process of coming clean is uncomfortable, messy, and often overwhelming. But it is also liberating, transformational, empowering and expansive.
So I ask you, when is the last time you came clean? What would it mean if you opened yourself up to all that awaits you?
Here’s the skinny: whenever you face a time in your life when you feel like you aren’t sure how you got here, when you are unsure of what you are doing and when you have no idea where you are going or how you are going to get there; then know that you have reached a powerful, transformational time in your life. Your confusion, anxiety, discomfort and overwhelm are all part of the process of coming clean, and evolving into what you are meant to be and do.
So, take a deep breath, get yourself the support you deserve and enjoy the ride towards your destiny!
And just for fun, here is one of my favorite workout songs, Coming Clean by Hilary Duff…I hope you enjoy!
Have an awesome week!