How "Acting As If" Helps You Move Forward After Divorce

Has your ex left you feeling like you’re nothing? Does it feel as if he’s snatched away everything you worked so hard for, everything you sacrificed so much of yourself for? Now, he’s living it up with some other chick — and he’s giving her all the luxuries that you were doing without . . . and all the love that you’d grown accustomed to living without?

Do you find that the more you try to figure it all out and try to make sense of everything that’s happened . . . the sadder and emptier you feel?

If you’ve had about enough of feeling like leftovers that can’t be reheated, good!

Let’s try something different (that I hope will make you smile, too).

How I discovered the acting as if technique

To tell you the truth, I’m not sure where I first read about this technique.

But, I started using it right about the time that my divorce became final. Before that, I had been in the first flush of, “Wow, my husband is no longer around to make me feel like garbage every single day . . . .” I was doing some dating, everyone said that I looked ten years younger overnight, and I was feeling pretty cocky. Nothing wrong with that.

But, then . . . . In one month, all of the following things happened: my divorce became final, the building that housed me and my business burned down, I had to hustle to find a place with a roof and electricity, I was diagnosed with pre-cervical cancer, my mother’s terminal illness took a final turn . . . and, suddenly, I wasn’t the hopeful divorcee anymore.

That’s how The Dynamic Divorcee came to be. She was my “act as if.” She was my “fake it ‘til you make it.” Except that I wasn’t going to fake it. I was going to be it. I was going to be that woman that I had always felt I was destined to be.

What happens to your emotions after divorce is final: Things can change, not always for the better

I know that many women don’t like to refer to themselves as “divorced” and prefer to revert to calling themselves “single,” but I wanted to claim my badge of honor as someone who had blown a kiss buh-bye to my lying, cheating ex and was able to set my world on fire with class and sass. Or something like that.

I sure wasn’t feeliing it in 2007 when my world crashed. But, I picked myself back up. Then, in June 2008, my divorce was final. Just in time for the Great Recession, and all that other stuff I mentioned above. Happy happy.

So my Dynamic Divorcee alter ego was me saying, “I can be my own super hero.” But, I can’t be her unless I believe I can.

How to believe

Inside you, there’s a woman who has all the answers (or most of them), and knows how to get the answers she doesn’t have at the moment. She’s the strong, powerful, intensely beautiful, Dynamic Divorcee version of you. And she exists at this very moment. You can call her into being at this very moment.

She’s not a fairy-tale. She’s real.

If you want her, she’ll show up. And you might feel a little bit shocked at how much she knows about you, and how much she can help you get what you want in your new post-divorce life.

One way we can find her is by using the “acting as if” technique.

What is “acting as if”?

Can you conjure up a picture of who you want to be? How do you want to handle tough situations with your ex, with your family, with your kids, with your boss, with your co-workers? How do you want to be treated by a man? What is (and always has been) totally unacceptable?

Pick a muse . . . pick an inspiration

Do you have someone in your life who never seems to be unduly stressed out, and who seems to be able to step out of the way of any catastrophe — but she still handles it?

If you can imagine yourself as having all of the qualities you want (but don’t feel you’re embodying right now), OR, if you have a someone in your life that you can use as a role model (even if she doesn’t know that you’re drawing on her example), you are ready to try acting as if.

How to create her (which is really you, except you don’t know it yet):

Start with who you are right now (not 50 pounds lighter, 20 years younger . . .)

Come up with the most fabulous image you can of a powerful, charismatic, super-magnetic woman who’s your age, your size, your personality (introvert or extravert — let her be you). Make her someone who’s so sure of herself that she can’t be bothered with the goings on of some guy who didn’t treat her right. She knows when to stand up for herself, as well as when to let it go because it’s not worth the agony.

What does she wear? What does she do when she wakes up in the morning? What does she like to eat that makes her feel energetic, healthy, and amazing? What kinds of boundaries does she set for the people in her life? How does she fight for herself when necessary? What’s her style of communicating?

All of the above are the qualities that the “as if” you possesses. Let’s now look at some of the things you may currently be thinking and be doing that your “as if” does not do.

She does not:

  • Catastrophize. She does not worry about what she’ll do when this or that horrible thing happens (none of which has happened yet, or is likely to happen).

  • Build a merely angry an annoying ex into a monster. She doesn’t imagine the average, garden-variety lying and cheating guy into a raving narcissist (by giving him too much room in her mind and emotions) — because things just get tougher on her if she does.

  • Believe that a man who wants a divorce or who has cheated on her = that she is unlovable and without value for the rest of her life. (She knows that his actions are nothing more than his actions, and painful as they are, they do not reflect negatively on her. In fact, his actions do not reflect on her at all — no matter what he says. Remember, men are trained from childhood to blame others for their shortcomings so that they can continue to feel like “a man.”)

In short, she does not give away her power and her self-belief to anyone else.

How to move forward after divorce by acting as if

Instead of wrestling with agonizing emotions about your ex and his happy new life (to give just one very common example), you can put your “as if” alter ego to work.

As soon as sad, self-defeating thoughts present themselves (which — let’s be real — could be many times per hour), you immediately turn to your “as if” personality. Talk to her. Say, “Okay, how would you handle this?” Would the fabulous version of you be giving this even five minutes of your precious time? Act as she would.

Some of you might be wondering: Aren’t there times when I should be venting my real emotions, feeling crappy about myself, comparing myself against the other woman, and meditating on my ex’s criticisms of me . . .?

Read the above paragraph one more time. Would you advise a dear friend to beat herself up this way?

I don’t think you have to worry about not letting your true emotions out. They will be coming out. You will be feeling them. Probably many times a day on most days.

You are dealing with your feelings. I’m simply suggesting a technique so that you won’t hurt yourself with your own feelings. So that you won’t allow yourself to develop a harmful view of yourself based on the feedback you’re getting from your ex (and oftentimes, a view you’ve internalized about yourself over many years of a dysfunctional marriage).

Just try it. This will surprise you.

What do you have to lose by trying a technique that many women in my 1-to-1 coaching have loved? If nothing else, you’ll have fun creating your super hero personality. You can talk to her and ask her advice, and take as much of her advice as you choose. It will be fun. You can even journal by writing a question to her, sitting still for a moment to hear her answer come to your mind, and writing that down, too.

If you’re like most of the women I work with, the same mental tapes play in your head day after day, so having the internal guidance coming from your stronger, “as if” self can be something to return to whenever you need it. Go back to your journal and you’ll see her previous answers to the same things you may still be worrying about. You’ll have her answers and advice on how to handle the issues you’re going through — today and tomorrow.

Want some help with this?

I’ve only scratched the surface of the ways you can use the as if technique to create the version of yourself that you’ve always wanted to live. I have lots more to share about how to use this technique just for you.

Working 1-to-1 online together, we’ll come up with a very three-dimensional feeling of who your inner Dynamic Divorcee is. What does she look like? What does she wear? How does she speak? How can you get advice from her on the parts of your life that are causing you the most distress right now? By doing this, you quickly learn that you can trust your own judgment, and that you are the woman you always wanted to be. It just takes a little bit of digging beneath the surface to find her. And, it can help to have a guide.

PLEASE NOTE: The scheduler below will automatically book a 2-hour window for your first appointment, but we will be together for only 60 minutes. The second hour will be scheduled for the following week, and we’ll arrange the day and time together, at the end of the first appointment.

Don’t see a scheduler below? If you’re on your cell, switch to the desktop view by hitting the vertical “ . . .” in the upper right corner of your browser and checking the box next to “Desktop site.” Still don’t see it? Click here.

"My husband left me and I still love him."

Guys tell us so many different things.  Every man has a different story.

He’s told you it’s over.

He’s told you it’s not you, it’s him.

He’s told you it’s all your fault.

He’s told you there’s no other woman.

He’s told you he’s in love with another woman, and was never in love with you.

He’s told you _______________________.

And, yet.

You know you were meant to be together.

You can’t imagine any life without him.

You feel that it if you had been perfect enough, he’d still love you, and you’re willing to spend the rest of your life trying.

You don’t know who you are without him — there is no you without him.

You lie awake nights, believing that there is a way to win him back, because you believe that you were meant to be together. That God wants you to be together. That what is happening right now is really a terrible mistake.

Stop.

If he no longer wants to be together, that’s your answer.

If he’s telling you now that he wants out — no discussion — he’s telling the truth. If the backstory is that he now says he never loved you, or he’s head-over-heels in love with someone half his age, this is not someone you would want to spend another day with, let alone beg him to stay. He’s trouble, and you’ll be doubting yourself every day, if he stays only on the condition that you turn yourself inside out to make him happy.

Do you want to be that person who gives everything and receives only an illusion that can vanish again at any time? Even if you could patch this up, would a temporary patch-up be enough for you?

Groveling will get you nowhere.

If You’re saying, “Yes. I’ll take crumbs. Anything is better than nothing.”

Is it? Is this really what you dreamed of before you were married? Or, did you never dare to dream? Did you think that if anyone would marry you, you’d be lucky? Think back to what you originally signed up for. And is what you signed up for really worth the rest of your life?

Do you believe that your husband doesn’t know what’s best for him. That he just needs to come to his senses?

If you really think that he can’t make the best decision for himself, that he doesn’t know what he’s doing, is he the kind of man you can trust and depend on? Even if you could convince him that he’s wrong and that you should stay together, would it stick? For how long?

Do you have the power to stop him?

Can you really stop him from being in love with another woman? Or from having fallen out of love with you? What is it within you that won’t allow you to let go? Is it that you believe you’re unlovable and that your only chance at companionship is to hang on to someone who no longer wants you? Is it that it’s scary to be on your own? Is it that you were comfortable with how things were, and that this isn’t fair?

I recently read the statement, “A man replaces, a woman reflects.” Meaning that, typically, a man who is vaguely dissatisfied in his relationship simply replaces the current woman with someone else. A woman who is dissatisfied, typically tries to get to the root of what is wrong in the relationship (often driving her man crazy in the process becuase he’d rather just move on to someone else).

Let’s read between the lines here. Why would a man just replace his wife with someone else? Because he tends to think that the woman is the problem — just replace her. A woman tends to think that she, he, or both of them is the problem and that the situation can be remedied. A woman tends to think that the man in her life is more valuable than the man tends to think his woman is.

These feelings can cast a shadow over your life for years — so don’t let them.

Pining over your ex can carry on for years after the divorce. A woman continues to believe that, if only she could have come up with the right “fix,” the relationship could have been saved. While she spends years continuing to hash this out in her own mind, her ex-husband has moved on, remarried, started a new family, and hardly even remembers his former wife, except as a mistake.

It’s not a mistake, it’s just the past.

Am I encouraging you to think of your long marriage as a mistake?

Not at all. But I am suggesting that you think of your ex-husband as part of your past. Case closed.

Once you close the books on your ex, you can make the conscious decision to stop suffering and invite the present into your life.

He is an adult, and he has decided to reach out for happiness in a way that made sense to him. And he may have hurt many people in the process of putting himself first. After all, men are raised, from birth, to put themselves first. Why would they think of anyone else?

Let his behavior teach you that now, you come first.

Even if you could get him back, do you truly want someone who doesn’t consider your feelings? Who wouldn’t want to try to honor his marriage vows? And who wouldn’t put his family’s welfare first, even if divorce is inevitable?

Let this be engraved on your heart for all time: It’s your responsibility to honor yourself and put yourself first so that any future men in your life are aware of your high value from the very first date. Your life is as precious as his (and, to you, it should be more precious). No one in this life will care for you more than you care for yourself.

Only you can know the secret of who you were meant to be.

No other person, no parent, no husband, none of your children can create the life you were meant to live. Only you can. Only inside you is the secret of who you were meant to be. Only inside of you are the seeds of all of your dreams that you are still meant to live. Your life is bigger than your children, bigger than the bond you had with your ex-husband, bigger than any of the commitments you have made so far in your life.

There is no limit to your worth and value. There is no limit to your worth and value. There is no limit to your worth and value. (Yes, I know. I said that three times.)

You are not in control of the changes that others may cause to come into your life. But you are in charge of the conclusions you draw from their actions. You are in charge of whether you interpret their actions as diminishing your value as a person, or whether you see their choices as nothing more than their personal choices.

“What if my husband is self-destructing and I’m the only one who can help?”

If your husband’s self-destructive life choices have started a chain reaction of dominoes falling, you can step out of the way and not be one of the dominos. It is not your job to go down with him. It is not your duty to support him through drama after drama.

It is not your job to cry, year after year, “But I looooovvvvve him!”

It is your job to inquire of yourself, “Why do I love someone who brings so much pain and chaos into my life? Is the charm and temporary excitement and drama worth the inevitable fallout and disappointment?”

Let him come back when he can be a blessing to you (and your children). Let him return when he has become honorable, honest, trustworthy, and dependable. (And only after he has demonstrated those qualities consistently for at least a few years.) With those qualities in place, you can both see each other through the difficult times in life. Without them, nothing of value can be built.

“All men lie, all men cheat, all men watch porn . . .”

These days, in the media, all we hear is that men are babies, all men cheat, all men watch degrading porn, all men lie, men are not monogamous . . . . If men want us to get the message that we should expect nothing of value from them, then why should we ever marry them and why should we care what they think or what they do?

I don’t think that’s what all men want.

At least, that’s what I’m going to continue to believe.

And the baby men who will always need some woman (or a host of women from sex workers to wives and everything in between) to prop them up: They can’t get into your life, if you don’t let them in.

Your husband who just left you because (fill in the blank)? He just gave you the precious gift of the rest of your life — to be loved, cherished, and respected for all that you do. We take our first steps in that direction by loving, cherishing, and respecting ourselves. It’s the only way to be loved, cherished, and respected by others. Including men.

How to Get Through a Divorce Emotionally

You might be expecting a touchy-feely, self-soothing blog post here, but — surprise — that’s not what will help most when you’ve been blindsided by divorce.

When your husband has dropped the ultimate bombshell, what often makes it doubly unbearable is that he seems to relish taking every shred of dignity from you on the way out.

So the first steps to take are ones that will protect your dignity, financially and emotionally, once you get into the thick of things.

Steps to take while you’re still in shock

For the first weeks after your husband declares he wants out, you’ll be in a state of shock. Being in shock will make it easier for you to gather important documentation and take action to protect yourself. Once grief and fear set in, it will be difficult to have the level of cool that you’ll need.

  1. Learn the laws regarding separation and divorce in your state.

  2. Be a detective: If you are in a marriage of modest means, perform as much discovery as you can (to save the legal expense of your lawyer doing so). Rifle your husband’s hidden files, take a look at his personal credit card statements, find out what investments he has (you may think you know, but you may be surprised). If you are luckily not in a no-fault state, and his infidelity is an issue, look for proof of behavior that can give you an edge .

  3. Research the legal options you have: Ask for recommendations from women who did particularly well in their divorce settlements. Interview a few lawyers to get a feel for someone who you believe will fight for you as a woman (and won’t secretly be on the side of the man in the situation). While your husband is still in an attitude of guilt or remorse, see if you can convince him not to have his own legal representation. If he is being reasonable, consider turning to a divorce mediator, or, if you can agree on equitable distribution of assets, file the papers without an expensive lawyer, find a flat-fee lawyer (this is what I did).

  4. Take charge of the situation while you are still in shock and before your emotions start to blur your reason, and your husband starts to attempt to manipulate your feelings so that you’ll agree to practically anything.

Why do these things right away? Isn’t there a chance you can convince him to stay with you?

If you have any power at all, you’ll have it if he sees you taking action. Find legal representation that you trust — legal assistance that will help you set realistic goals so that you are not victimized. Representation that you feel confident will have your interests, as a woman, at heart (even if you don’t feel like fighting).

If you take the steps above at the moment that you’re clear you want a divorce, or immediately after you’re clear that your husband is definitely leaving you, you’ll have practical support in place before the emotional realization hits you that your life is about to dramatically change and you’re not 100% in control of what the changes will be.

When the fear and panic start to set in

After total shock dissipates, the strong emotions start to take over. The begging and pleading, the panic over how you’ll live without him and how you’ll manage to support yourself if he has been the primary income source.

1. Don’t try to resurrect it, if you know in your heart that your marriage is dead. Spend your time and emotional labor on yourself, instead. It’s likely you haven’t been experiencing love and care from your husband for quite some time. Now is the time to learn to revive yourself, not pour anything back into him.

If you know he’s leaving (and especially if another woman is in the picture), don’t waste time begging and pleading to go to counseling together. The first few weeks of total shock are also a time of clarity: You’re living an out-of-body experience in which your previous life seems entirely unreal. If, during this time of clarity, you know in your heart that your husband is already checked out, and hasn’t been in a real marriage with you for years, save the agony and expense. Don’t try to bring your marriage back from the dead.

The more you beg, the less he will respect you.

2. Don’t try to get closure with him. Again, you need all of your energy, understanding, and love to be rerouted from giving to him to providing a safe nest for yourself.

Once you feel secure in your representation, it’s safe to vent your emotions — but not necessarily to your soon-to-be-ex. Trying to get him to see what he has done to you will never give you any greater satisfaction than a moment’s acknowledgement of remorse, which will have completely vanished by the next time you see him. He has moved on. He will never come back to the emotional state in which you can communicate with him as if you were in a romantic relationship.

3. Start running the numbers on what your finances will be as a single woman (or single mother). What do you need from him in order to survive? What do you need to look for in terms of any changes in career? Where will you live? Where would you like to live? If you’ve never created a budget in your life, now’s the time. This is essential at the very start of your separation so you have the maximum amount of time to make the changes that are advantageous for you (and not simply cheap and easy for him).

4 Don’t jump to reconcile if he asks you to (unless you’ve already determined that you can’t make it on your own right now). Once you have separated, a certain number of months may have to pass before you are allowed to file for divorce. During this period, he may beg you to take him back.

He may say that he’ll end his affair. He may tell you that you’ll ruin your children’s lives by divorcing. He may make no promises but want to have sex with you.

Remember that, most likely, he’s not thinking of what is best for you. Men tend to want to get as much as they can from every woman in their lives, while giving the least in return. Your husband may be feeling as off-balance as you are. What if it doesn’t work out with the other woman? What if he’s required to pay maintenance to you as well as child-support? Getting a divorce may not be quite the get-out-of-jail card he thought it would be.

You have control over how long the grief and anger will last

It will take some time to deeply realize that it’s over. This is the most painful phase of your emotional recovery, and it helps to know that it is a phase and it won’t last forever. It helps to know that you have control over how long this grieving will last.

1. Find one interest or crusade to be obsessive about that is unrelated to your marriage, divorce, or your husband’s “activities.” It can literally be anything. Pour any free time you have into this new career, area of study, interest, or hobby. Church? Local politics? Long dormant talent? Find something, anything that you can use to turn your mind and emotions away from your ex.

2. Make your future feel intriguing. Explore things that you weren’t allowed to do in your marriage. Things that, even in the midst of what your going through, still seem exciting — even though far in the future. I promise, these dreams of who you can be and what you can do are not as far off as you may think. Almost anything you can dream can truly become reality.

3. Adopt your new tribe. One thing I hear most often from my divorce coaching clients is that they feel they lose so many friends (as well as beloved in-laws) as part of the divorce process. Friends tend to stick with the ex-husband (and his new woman), and leave the ex-wife struggling on her own.

To this I say, good! Time to find new friends who will be with you in your new life and will bring with them the new ideas and new energy that will make life happy and bright. If you’ve already started with ideas #1 and #2 above, you’ll be taking new paths and exploring new things. If you’re doing things you love, you’ll be meeting people who love what you love. Little by little, your new tribe — your chosen family — will emerge.

You do have so much control over how much pain you allow your husband to cause you during the separation and divorce period.

Once you realize who he really is, does he deserve to tie up even more of your life than he already has? Even if he used to be a wonderful husband, if he has made it clear that he no longer loves you, how much more of your life should you give him? If he, himself, wants you to move on, ask yourself why you would cling to the memories, to your former life, or to him.

Often the reason is that the future is too uncertain, and you might not be sure that the future can be as good (or better) than what you’ve already lived.

But it definitely can be, if you decide that it will.

Want to talk about this? You can contact me here.

10 Movies With Female Leads (and Good Men)

So, it’s Valentine’s Day this week, and I figured that lots of my single Dynamic Divorcees might be looking for something to watch on V-Day, while enjoying a decadent meal and some champagne on the couch .

If your ex never made V-Day special for you, now’s the perfect opportunity to treat yourself like the undeniably lovable person you are. Enjoy your favorite favorite meal. Buy yourself some flowers. Feel how it feels to treat yourself special (it’s the first step to having someone else treat you that way).

And, I thought, “Why not let Valentine’s Day movies make you feel good, too?”

What’s “feel good” to one woman can trigger a meltdown for another, so all I can do is recommend some movies that have helped to restore my faith in men (as well as faith in myself). Take your pick depending on what you’re in the mood for.

For my movie picks specifically about divorce, click here.

For my Valentine’s Day favorite films (or anytime viewing when you feel low), keep reading. Links to viewing are included with each title (and at the bottom of this post).

I’ve chosen two themes for this Valentine’s Day movie list for divorcees: reminders that good, thoughtful men do exist, and a bunch of movies about women figuring out who they are (with the occasional man finally coming around to respect them).

Ever notice how all you ever see in media is horror stories about horrible, lying, cheating, feckless men — and we’ve all come to believe that they are in the majority, and that they are the dreck we now would have to settle for in our relationships?

Oh my god, not more settling! I am so done with that.

I truly believe that we condition our expectations by what we choose to see and by what we allow into our worlds on a daily basis. And that includes the things we read and the films we watch.

That’s why I’ve been searching out films that are “real” but that also make me feel uplifted and encouraged.

So, let’s go!

If you want to remind yourself that there are good men out there:

Julie & Julia, the movie that started me off on this post. I recently watched it again after many years, and I was taken, all over again, by the awesomeness of Paul Child, Julia’s husband (played by Stanley Tucci). It helps that I am a total sucker for Stanley Tucci, but, what a husband! First, he sees the value in Julia — who would not have been the romantic dream of the average man in the 1940s. He understands her, supports her, and . . . well, if you haven’t seen this film and you want to be reminded of what an amazing husband is like, this is a must see. Yes, they are out there, ladies! When I first saw Julie & Julia (right around the time of my divorce), I thought that this must be the glamorized version of Julia Child’s marriage. But, there’s a book on which the Julia portion of this movie was based. I read it. It’s true; they really did have this type of marriage. These male unicorns exist. And, maybe they’re not that rare (subject of an upcoming post . . .). By the way, the blogger’s husband in this movie is a prince as well (and appears to have been in real life).

Long Life, Happiness & Prosperity If you love Sandra Oh, this is a must-see. A little girl tries to find a boyfriend for her exhausted, overworked, divorced mother (using traditional Chinese magic) . . . and a good guy is already on the scene (but invisible to the harried, jaded mom). If you’re overworked, underloved, and ready to give up on love, this is an understated heartwarmer.

Cloudy With a Chance of Sunshine Four people who have experienced the hard knocks of life learn to open up and let the right one in. So many examples of how to put yourself out there and meet someone in this movie. So much in this cute indy flick about taking the chances that are offered to everyone in the course of a day. And a big theme of how everyone has a backstory, everyone has baggage, but it doesn’t have to define you. Hippie chick meets technical writer and lots of misses and misunderstandings ensue. Writer’s father meets neighbor lady . . . and that’s all I’ll give away about this hopeful and endearing film.

My Big, Fat Greek Wedding Well, you know this one. A misfit girl with an overbearing family meets the perfect guy for her (by accident, which is how the best things always seem to happen). And, there are a few missteps, and everyone learns to appreciate the best in each other . . . . It can happen for a post-divorce relationship (or gasp, a second marriage), too! More than that, this is a great story about how a woman gets unstuck, finds herself (even within the close confines of an ethnic community), and claims her identity.

Girl on a Bicycle (subtitles) A man proposes to his live-in girlfriend, but then . . . he spots a woman on a bicycle at a stoplight, and he starts obsessing about her. Why is this on my list of movies about good guys? Keep watching. This is lovely, fun, lighthearted Italian/French/German romance that will restore your faith in people.

Lulu (subtitles) A woman, made to feel useless by her verbally abusive husband, botches a low-level job interview and can’t bear to go home. Through the kindness of an unusual stranger and his brothers, Lulu begins to come back to life during this extended time out. The process is almost like watching a plant absorb water. Her small adventures lead to unexpected changes when she finally returns home. If you feel you’ve been beaten down for years (or decades) and don’t know where to begin to find yourself again, this is a slow, quiet, beautiful film to encourage you.

If you want to see a woman rediscover herself, and make life be about her, for a change:

Shirley Valentine This one from the ‘80s starts slow, but it’s a great V-Day watch. Stars Pauline Collins, one of my longtime favorite Brit comediennes. She’s an ignored, midlife housewife who has the chance to break free on a vacation to Greece. She wants to get her pre-marriage self back, and she does — with a brief episode of romance (that she doesn’t allow to throw her off track). A little bit dated, but fun and, dare I say, instructive : ) .

Meditation Park Another film with Sandra Oh (why do I love her so much?), but she’s not the central character in this one. It’s about the Sandra Oh character’s mother, and it takes place in an insular Chinese community in Canada. As Maria Wang learns that her husband is having an affair with a much younger woman, she sorts out what her life means and learns that she has strength and resources beyond what she had ever knew. Charming, funny, and poignant. And, one of those rare films that centers on a senior woman.

Catch the Wind (subtitles) The amazing Sandrine Bonnaire stars in this film about a 45-year-old unattached factory supervisor, alone, with only a contentious relationship to her adult son. When her job is made redundant, she chooses to relocate as a low-paid factory worker in Morocco. How could this story possibly be uplifting Valentine’s Day fare? If you’re on your own, and wondering how you could possibly carve out a new life for yourself, I highly recommend this film.

Queen to Play (subtitles) And, it’s Sandrine Bonnaire again — this time as a shell-shocked wife, stuck in a dead marriage. As a hotel maid, she glimpses something different, something magical. And her fascination with the game of chess opens a whole new life. Think about what you’re curious about, or fascinated by, and how following that obsession might open new doors, and change everything.

Have a favorite film that helps restore your faith in men, or that tells the story of a woman taking her life back? Let me know in the comments!

Learning to trust yourself again when you keep breaking promises to you

This is for you if a) you’ve started more than one year feeling disappointed about breaking promises to the most important person in your life: you.

This is for you if b) you’re not even sure if you trust yourself anymore.

This is for you if c) you’re not sure you can trust a man again.

What do all of the above have in common?

When you can count on you to come through for you —> you believe in yourself again —> you don’t have to worry so much about whether a guy is trustworthy —> it doesn’t really matter because you’ll never be so into him that he can destroy you. Because you have your own back.

What’s fun about this: It means that you can have a lot more control over outcomes in your life than you think.

Learning to trust you

I’m writing this in January, the time of year when we often think: Why bother setting goals? The time of year when you may be saying, “I flake out every single year. Why try again just to feel bad about myself?”

This year, I’ve noticed that it’s fashionable to say, “Whatever. The old, sloppy me has survived so far. Why reach for anything?”

Which is perfectly valid, if you’re satisfied and don’t have a secret yearning that thiings were different.

We would never do to others what we do every day to ourselves.

Think about it: I bet you keep your promises to every other person, entity, and organization in your life. You are on time (or close enough), you do the things you don’t feel like doing (and do them on a daily basis). Everyone and everything is important. Except you.

Because after being there for everyone and everything else, you’re just too tired to take the actions that would make you sooooo happy about being yourself. So, year after year, you become more and more dissatisfied with who you are, what your daily life looks like, and what your future looks like.

Year after year after year. And you’ve been in last place since long before your divorce.

But, it’s hard, you say.

But, you do it for everyone else, I say.

Some new questions to think about:

  • How can you make it fun to follow through for yourself?

  • How can you set it up so you can build the ability to trust yourself (knowing that you won’t let yourself down)?

  • How can you make yourself important enough to yourself that your dreams become a priority?

What if you felt, every day, like the shining star you were born to be?

What if this were your new year’s resolution: To feel like the shining star you were born to be. To set out on your own personal yellow brick road. To find your way home; to feel happily at home being you.

Cliché, but true: Wouldn’t that make it easier (and more fun) to be who you need to be for everyone else?

Wouldn’t that make you glow on your job (or have the confidence to go for what you really want)? Wouldn’t that make you more likely to attract the kind of person you really want to be with?

It’s all interconnected. Which also means it’s all deceptively simple.

Just a little food for thought, whether you’re reading this in January or some other time down the line.

Have you tried to make changes alone, year after year? Think you might want a little motivational catnip from The Dynamic Divorcee? Have it all go differently (the way you want it to) this time. Catch me here.