10 Benefits Of Self-Awareness When Navigating Divorce
The benefits of self-awareness may seem out of reach by the time you’re navigating a divorce. But there may be no better time to do some soul-searching and work in the self-awareness department.
“Self-awareness,” “self-help,” “self-esteem,” “self-just-about-anything” – it’s all about self-focus, self-evolution, self-accountability, self-fulfillment.
And they are all convenient, if not self-righteous, buzzwords for our times.
But one of those trendy words blankets all the others and bridges one’s internal standards to one’s thoughts, words, and actions.
Self-awareness, as the key component of emotional intelligence, is foundational to everything involving the self, its expression, and its role in relationships.
It asks the fundamental questions:
- How do I see myself?
- How do others see me?
- What do I feel — physically, emotionally — in “x” circumstance? How do I respond or react?
- Am I in alignment with my own values?
- What do I need to change in order to be in alignment with my own standards?
- Can I emotionally detach from myself in order to see and evaluate myself objectively?
It may be a no-brainer to see how self-awareness can improve any relationship (even with yourself) or experience.
But what about now as you’re going through a divorce? How can the benefits of self-awareness help you through this painful, challenging, life-altering time?
Believe it or not, the same benefits that make leaders and relationships more successful are the same benefits that can make your divorce go more smoothly.
Here are 10 benefits of self-awareness you’ll want in your briefcase when you’re navigating divorce.
Self-awareness keeps you connected to your values and standards of conduct.
So much is on the line when you’re going through a divorce. YOu have far more to think about than “getting even” or “getting everything.”
You have to think beyond today and into the future, not just for yourself, but for you children.
And you have to choose at every step whether to stay in integrity or lead with your negative emotions toward your soon-to-be-ex.
Self-awareness is what will keep you in alignment when you’re confused or tempted to step even a little out of bounds.
Self-awareness keeps you in the present.
One of the greatest benefits of self-awareness is its focus on the “perfect present.” And focusing on the present — this moment, this space, this breath — is the heart of mindfulness.
Why is that important when you’re trying to negotiate for your future?
For one thing, self-awareness in the form of mindfulness can keep you from launching into the past.
Trial lawyers, of course, love nothing more than a drawn-out, he-said-she-said, win-lose battle. But is that what you want? (BTW, the divorce attorneys I know would much prefer to settle divorce cases through mediation.)
Knowing that the tone of your divorce can set the tone for your (and your children’s) future, wouldn’t it be better to focus on the here-and-now?
Self-awareness helps you communicate more clearly.
By staying in touch with your personal standards, you are better able to articulate your thoughts, wishes, proposals, and expectations.
Because you have clarity on the inside, you can present yourself with clarity on the outside.
And that makes you more convincing and more likely to influence final decisions.
Self-awareness helps you make better decisions.
Simply put, conviction and clarity combine to streamline your decision-making.
When you know yourself and stay true to your values, you inevitably make decisions that reflect your integrity.
And you are willing and able to accept any consequences related to them.
Self-awareness helps you control your emotions.
Self-awareness isn’t about not having emotions or expressing them. It’s about the ability to recognize them and choose to put them aside while you observe yourself objectively.
One way self-awareness does this is to take you out of the “why?” and into the “what?”
Instead of “Why are they trying to hurt me?” you shift to “What did I feel when they said that? What did I notice in the way of my tone and body language and in theirs? What choices do I have in how I respond? What is the bigger picture in terms of outcome? And what can I do to help create that?
Self-awareness helps you read others’ emotions.
Self-awareness is a key component of empathy. And it’s empathy that allows you to read others’ emotions and respond in an appropriate – and compassionate – way.
Keep in mind that, while divorce severs your legal ties to your spouse, it doesn’t make your history together disappear. Both of you (and your children) will have feelings to wrestle with.
The ability to recognize emotions, even in their subtlety, can give you the disarming ability to respond in the interest of a mutual benefit.
It can also help you understand and protect your children during a very confusing and unsettling time.
Self-awareness makes you a better listener.
Ironically, if you and your spouse had worked on your listening skills while married, you might not be where you are today. This is the painful truth for most couples going through divorce.
So why does listening matter now? And how does self-awareness help?
The list of benefits of good listening skills is endless. But some are especially relevant to navigating divorce.
First, if you have children, listening will go beyond beneficial to essential.
Your ability to tap into their emotions by “reading” them intuitively will help you listen…and hear…with accuracy, empathy, and prudence.
Second, if you and your spouse are doing your best to stay out of court by using mediation, listening will be crucial to your cooperative effort. You will be working to create the best, interest-based outcome for all involved.
As odd as it sounds, having a good divorce means you will need to tap into one of the most important skills for having a good marriage.
Self-awareness takes you out of victim mode.
One of the most important benefits of self-awareness is its offspring of self-accountability.
Only a person who is willing to look within and self-examine, at the risk of discovering their own dark side, can be responsible.
It’s this zenith of self-awareness that allows you to own your life – past, present, and future.
Once you are fully willing to own your contribution to your marriage, including its failure, you step out of victim mode.
Suddenly everyone and everything loses power over you. You now control you. You can learn from your mistakes.
And you can make the changes necessary to be and have what you want going forward.
Self-awareness reduces stress.
Staying grounded in your values and integrity is remarkably empowering. And feeling empowered is an amazing stress-reducer!
Self-awareness makes you happier.
When you’re contemplating all the ways that self-awareness can help you, you may be surprised when it dawns on you that self-awareness just flat-out makes you happier.
And don’t you think that going through a divorce as a happy person bears a lot more promise than the alternative?
There is no endpoint for working on yourself to better your life. And sometimes that means recognizing the need when you’re in the middle of a difficult, self-exposing experience.
Whether you’re on the threshold of marriage or the threshold of divorce, the benefits of self-awareness will be gifts you give to yourself.
Take the time to work on improving your self-awareness now. And watch it benefit every aspect of your life going forward.
I’m Dr. Karen Finn and I’m a life coach. Schedule a 30-minute private consultation for support in increasing your self-awareness so you can become more you in every facet of your life.
You can learn more about gaining and benefitting from self-awareness in How To Be More Self-Aware.
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