“Let It Go” has been the theme song playing in my home nonstop since December 25th when my youngest received the soundtrack from Santa. As a result, I have found myself with more frequency using that as a response to more situations than I probably should. For those of you unfamiliar with the song, it is meant to inspire, born from the idea that letting go is an act of reclaiming freedom.
“Let it go” is advice often provided by well-intentioned friends and family during divorce. They propose that you just need to let it go to move toward healing. While I agree that not holding on to hurts and past resentments is helpful, I pause upon the idea of letting it all go. Let it go does not have to stand for an all-or-nothing proposition. Let it go should take some discernment.
From the divorce lawyer’s side of the desk, these are the top three things I would encourage you to let go and those which I would encourage you not to.
- Let go of the fight. The need for “justice” a/k/a revenge is a harmful motivator. Evaluate your intentions when persisting on an issue solely for the sake of painting your spouse in a negative light.
- Let go of fault. Nebraska is a no-fault divorce state for a reason. Finding fault is not constructive, nor helpful in moving past the breakdown of your marriage. Stop finding fault with yourself. Stop finding fault with your spouse. The sooner you let fault go, the sooner you will focus on your future.
- Let go of fear. Divorce is hard, but it isn’t a death sentence. Your world is changing and it requires adaption to many new ideas and situations. Fear based thinking will get in your way, keeping you rooted in unhealthy habits and with an inability to embrace the new life that is coming at you whether you are prepared or not.
The do nots:
- Do not let go of the good memories from your marriage. Buying your first home, bringing home your babies from the hospital, taking that great vacation. People often resolve in divorce to push those memories away. They toss out the scrapbooks. They trash their spouse. They feel like they can no longer recall a good moment from the pre-divorce era. Denying your history, particularly the good part is damaging. Focus on the good memories – they are good memories for a reason.
- Do not let go of being a good parent. Often parents will become “soft” on their kids. They will discontinue discipline out of guilt and the need for their children to like them. In doing so, their children suddenly find themselves without the very structure that helps them feel safe and secure.
- Do not let go of your integrity. Divorce can be done differently. Divorce is not a license to be nasty to your spouse. It is not a time to disregard your morals and your own ethical code. It is not the time to use your spouse’s vulnerabilities as your weapons.
Let it go. Three simple words that embrace so much. Divorce is a time of grieving, healing, and recreating. Letting go is a part of that process, but the part to remember, is discerning what to hold on to.