Thoughts

A Little Personal Pruning Leads to a Healthier, Happier Post-Divorce Life

Deadhead Negative Emotions After Divorce to Build A Better Life

Gardeners know that plants need daily care. Without water, sun and pruning, flowers won’t reach their full blossoming potential and vegetable plants won’t yield a healthy, abundant harvest.

“Deadheading is a way to encourage new growth. Removing spent flowers and stems forces the plant to focus its resources for new blooms.

Taking a gardening approach to our lives shows us the areas that need love and attention to flourish. During the dissolution of marriage, it is easy to focus on the things that ruin our personal garden; resentment, anger, fear, jealousy, sadness and loneliness. These uncomfortable emotions become daily contenders for our attention.

How do we ‘deadhead’ these negative emotions in our own lives to make room for the new growth?

Take a look at your life garden:

  • Identify people who bring negativity or turmoil to your life and set boundaries that create distance.
  • Separate yourself from toxic people by creating emotional space and/or physical space.
  • Examine your own behaviors for ways you can prune and grow. Perhaps looking at the way you handle dissatisfaction and anger. Maybe you’ve become involved with people who take more than they give. Is unaddressed addiction or depression causing distress?

Pruning our own garden is hard. It requires a sincere desire to look at and face our own imperfections. And it requires courage and optimism. How we look at self-improvement is significant. Personal reflection can help us to identify areas for growth, without becoming hyper-focused on what is “wrong” with us. The goal is to develop a personal strategy that leads to self-love and acceptance.

Here are some suggestions ‘positive’ self-pruning:

  • Learn something new
  • Refrain from judgment and criticism of others
  • Fill your life with inspirational people, stories and ideas
  • Exercise
  • Participate in social hobbies
  • Practice daily love and encouragement with the people in your life
  • Set aside quiet time for prayer and meditation
  • Work daily on forgiveness
  • Keep a journal to purge unpleasant and unwanted emotions
  • Recite aloud your daily gratitudes
  • Reach out to someone in need

CHOOSE to focus on the positive gifts you can give yourself and others to make your garden bloom; love, goodwill, empathy, generosity, forgiveness and hope. Let your personal garden flourish.

By Deirdre Hally Shaffer, MSW, LCSW

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