Being Open to Possibility — The Scope of Positivity After Divorce

If you find yourself reeling from divorce or separation, the thought of being open to new possibilities can feel laughable. It’s easy to isolate ourselves and miss the possibilities for change and growth that follow when life doesn’t live up to our expectations. But static mind frames do not allow us to see the positivity that exists in the everyday. They obscure the scope that possibility plays in our journeys to move beyond conflict.

Being open to possibility does not mean simply taking life as it comes to you, settling for what’s handed out along the way. Nor does it mean abandoning your high hopes because you’ve experienced failure.

So what exactly does being open to possibility mean?

It means finding where we've placed walls in our lives that impede us from finding joy. Expectations of what should or shouldn’t be are just two barriers that people erect to hide from possibility. Sequestering ourselves like this may feel comfortable at first. But it comes with an inflexible surety of mind that does not allow for deviations from those expectations. When life inevitably fails to follow the ‘correct’ path, remaining within those walls becomes increasingly uncomfortable.

Latching onto untenable expectations affects more than just ourselves. It can take large amounts of energy and may pull our attention away from the immediate needs of those around us, including our children.

Becoming open to the entire scope of possibility after a divorce will necessitate you challenge the picture you hold of yourself. Actively question any doubts you may have about your own abilities. Test the waters of your own capabilities, forgetting earlier limitations you believed you had, and allow yourself to be surprised. Doing so will positively affect multiple areas of your life. Overcoming limitations and developing your strengths will allow you to focus more energy on raising your children in a healthy environment.

Why be open to possibility after a divorce?

Negative outcomes are as powerful as our reaction to them. Hold on to them and that outcome becomes cement, fixing us in place. Holding grudges or dwelling on the negativity will do the same, miring us in our reactions to the outcome rather than allowing us to mine it for inspiration.

After a divorce or separation, co-parenting will require the flexibility of all parties involved. Dwelling on past mistakes, regardless of who committed them, will make flexibility that much more difficult to achieve. When we dwell, our reactions to events in the present will always be colored by our past feelings, creating barriers to open and honest communication.

That's not to say past experiences should never inform future choices. It simply means that past experiences should not prevent us from moving beyond them.

The scope of possibility in your co-parenting relationship

Co-parenting success will look different for every family, but universal to every effective co-parenting relationship is the ability to work together in some capacity. Finding balance with your co-parent will likely involve quite a bit of trial-and-error. Both you and your co-parent will have to recover from missteps in order to move forward with raising healthy and happy children.

Maintaining forward momentum in your co-parenting relationship takes skill. Being 100% consistent with your efforts is not realistic, so be prepared to take stumbles as learning opportunities. Turn reactions into positive actions. Hyper-focusing on mistakes won't change what happened and energy wasted on rehashing past events could be repurposed into working toward a solution.

Identifying the behaviors and thoughts that are blocking attempts to move forward will be an important first step. Past experiences will always inform our future decisions, but they must be addressed if they are preventing us from growing into new circumstances. Accepting possibility after a divorce will not be easy. Make it easier by recognizing that every person deserves that possibility and the ability to look forward with hope.

Once you become open to possibility, remaining positive about your co-parenting will still require practice. Come back next week to learn about different steps you can take to maintain a positive outlook when thinking about your co-parenting relationship.