I was recently studying, listening to an audio presentation on goal setting and the power of positivity, when the speaker commented that we can achieve any goal if we are able and willing.
It struck me odd at first, as most my life I have heard the term "willing and able," but this was reversed. I assumed it was a simple difference in vernacular, but I soon realized the speaker was intentionally putting the words in this order. It got me thinking.
We all have things in our lives we want to accomplish. We all have goals, and these goals should be driving our actions every day. We should believe in those goals. They should be important to us. When our goal is a worthy one, we should not let anything get in the way.
Unfortunately, it seems that all too often we make decisions based on whether we feel we are willing to do something to work toward our goals; and when it seems daunting, we give up. Perhaps this is why so few goals seem to ever be reached. We let fear and doubt regarding the realities of chasing those goals intimidate and deter us.
I believe that is why this presenter posed the idea that we should first ask ourselves the question: Am I able? If the answer is yes, then nothing should stop us from pursuing that goal. You have no excuse.
If you are able, then the only thing stopping you, is you.
Now, what does this have to do with divorce?
When divorce affects marriages that include children, you must figure out how to get along. That doesn't mean you have to be friends; but for the sake of the children, you should be striving for civility and order. In divorced parenting, your goal should be to make your roles as co-parents work.
Now comes the question: Are you able and willing?
Certainly, we cannot deny that we are able. We are adults who have the capacity to rationalize and compromise. You've no doubt taught your children the need to do just that in their own interactions. How. then, can you expect less of yourself?
Now comes the real question: Are you willing?
This is a much different question; but assuming you want your children to be happy, you most certainly will want to figure out how to get yourself to the point of willing. You see, when you chose to bring your child into this world, you chose to put them first. You chose to sacrifice your own desires and needs at times for their good. You have already decided, then, that you were willing. That should not have ended.
Simply because the relationship that introduced those children into this life has deteriorated, does not eliminate your responsibility of looking out for them. Therefore, you must be willing to do whatever you can to continue making the best life for them, and that should include interacting maturely with your ex.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying it will be easy. In spite of my best efforts, I find that every few weeks my ex chooses to challenge my patience and try to bring contention back into our interactions. I am too often drawn in and find myself struggling to maintain control of my emotions. Nonetheless, I always find myself remembering that it does no good for my children to see this, so I choose to retreat.
It can be hard stepping back from the fight of proving yourself right, especially when you are confident that you are. Being right, however, is not more important than teaching your children that mature, responsible adults know how to communicate and get along despite their differences.
Is this not what you are trying to teach them now, as they face their own challenges in life? This, therefore, should be your worthy goal in your divorced parenting.
Now comes the part of doing.
Goals are not merely ideas or daydreams. True goals are the thoughts you give life to in your mind. Goals are the desires you should write down, think about often, and pursue with intentional effort.
If you desire to show your children that their parents can communicate and get along like mature adults, then you need to set the goal of doing just that. Write down how you should respond the next time you face a heated moment. Imagine how it will feel to figuratively step back from the line and not engage in the battle. Think about how your children will see you, and how happy they will feel knowing you chose not to fight in front of them.
You have more power over your goals than you may realize. Countless thought leaders have proven time and time again this simple formula: Thoughts lead to Emotions; Emotions lead to Actions; and those Actions lead to the Results we have in our lives.
Choose your thoughts.
Choose to think about maintaining your calm and sensibility, in spite of any efforts by your ex to draw you into a fight. This choice will allow you to feel the emotions of peace and calm that will come from that choice. Feel the peace so strongly that you know you don't want to lose it the next time that challenge comes. You will find that this choice in thoughts will lead to the emotions that inspire your actions to follow that very course.
The results: your children will be able to see you as a parent they can count on and trust. Not only can you protect them from the pain of seeing their parents argue, but you will prove to be that someone who can teach them how to become the person they want to be. You will win more in this way than any small victory from arguing will ever provide you.
So remember, you are perfectly able. It is up to you to be willing. Choose now, focus on that choice, and remain strong. In this way, you will be the strong one when those moments come.