To be honest, I had no idea what to write about today. I have been so overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of the people and happenings around me in the past couple of weeks. And as such, I have been unable to pick one thing out of this abundance from which to springboard a discussion about peacemaking.
I have been experiencing the synergy that occurs when like-minded people come together for a greater cause. I have found friends everywhere I look, whose beliefs resonate with and reinforce mine.
As a result, we are both richer and better for it. I have found abundance through channels I didn’t even know existed. And I have been on the receiving end (and hopefully perceived as being on the giving end as well) of genuine kindness and good will.
As a Divorce Lawyer, I see the law of cause and effect at work every day, in every thing I do and think – for the good and for the bad. Thankfully, I see more good than bad. I even see the good in the “bad.”
Call me a Pollyanna. I take it as a compliment even though much of the time this descriptor is used as a pejorative. Heck, even a dictionary defines the word to mean “unreasonably or illogically optimistic.” Must have been written by a Vulcan.
However you feel about the term or character of Pollyanna, there is no getting around the fact that this little girl in the book and film wielded immense power. She helped transform the town in which she lived by finding something to be glad about in every situation – even the poopy ones. Her attitude proved to be a contagious blessing to those around her.
The cool thing is, Pollyanna didn’t preach. She just embodied her gladness. She was a living, albeit fictional, example of happiness through gratitude. And that example inspired the folks around her to find things about which to be happy.
I don’t think being a Pollyanna is about living in denial. As lawyers, we have to look at the situation objectively and help our clients navigate the real-life bumps in the road. In fact, not clearly seeing what is before us can be as damaging as dwelling in the negative.
Being a Pollyanna for me is about seeing the potential good and learning opportunities possible in the challenging stuff that comes our way . You know the old adage: “When life hands you lemons . . .” I see this potential inherent in the collaborative divorce process.
Couples who engage in collaborative divorce, a non-litigated settlement process, as a means to divorce, commit (contractually, might I add) to using open, constructive and respectful communication. For some couples, this might be the first time they are communicating with each other while a mental health professional (MHP) is present.
This MHP helps to facilitate constructive communication and understanding while keeping the couple “in the boat” paddling toward resolution.
Spouses can and often do, form a new paradigm for post-divorce communication. Communication skills that had been lacking in the marriage, have a chance to start to develop in the collaborative divorce model.
This is because perhaps for the first time in their relationship, these folks are forced to keep it civil and constructive and have the support of an MHP.
This is a boon for couples who have children. Being able to talk with your former spouse kindly and civilly helps mitigate the trauma children experience when their parents divorce. Not to mention, parents who are able to communicate with each other in a high functioning manner serve as a stellar example of healthy communication to their children.
Divorce is a tough and challenging thing to go through. I know this to be true because I have gone through divorce. I happily decided to “make lemonade” by going to counseling and examining my contributions to the problem.
I used my time for introspection, and became very familiar with the self-help sections of the local Barnes and Noble.
If you want to divorce believing it to be in the best interest of all involved, please consider viewing this time as an opportunity for growth and learning. The collaborative divorce process can help jump start your healing by avoiding litigation, which can often have the opposite effect of jump starting your destruction.
Latest posts by AJ Grossman III, J.D., LL.M. (see all)
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