Holistic Divorce Counseling

Holistic Divorce Counseling Nicole S. Urdang, M.S., NCC, DHM, LMHC. Free support, resources, and comfort for all life's issues and transitions.

It’s OK Sweetheart: Learn to Cherish and Calm Your Sweet Self November 25, 2010

In America everyone is indoctrinated to believe that doing well ensures a good life. Certainly, it’s satisfying to succeed, whether at work, school, relationships, sports, or anything else, but even if you do everything according to society’s plan, there is no guarantee life will be peachy.

At various times you may find yourself facing unexpected challenges. Perhaps, your work ceases to have meaning, your children disappoint you, you or loved ones face health issues, you have major financial losses, or your mate leaves or dies. Even the strongest soul can feel rocked to their core under such circumstances.

When life is going along fairly smoothly it’s easy to ride the smaller ups and downs, but when things fall apart, and the ups and downs are no longer little waves, but tsunamis, your resilience is really tested.

If you have had, or are now experiencing, a bracing life transition, you may want to ask yourself the following questions:

What has happened to my sense of self?
How am I re-grouping?
If I am an introvert am I getting out enough? If I am an extrovert am I taking time for solitude?
Am I asking for help?
Am I giving myself emotional support?
How do I deal with my deepest feelings? Can I embrace them without judging myself?
How well am I caring for my physical self? (Sleeping enough? Eating healthily? Exercising?)
How do I cope with feeling groundless? (See Grounding Techniques.)

These periods can be very frightening; but, one way or another, you will live through everything that doesn’t kill you.
By embracing all your thoughts and feelings, even when they are dark and threaten to annihilate you, you start a conversation with yourself that reveals inner reserves you didn’t know you had.

Keeping a journal, a dream journal (see Dream Journaling for suggestions), meditating, or working with a therapist, helps avoid the tendency to suppress unpleasant feelings, like depression, anxiety, doubt, guilt, grief, loss, loneliness, etc. When you delve into the dark recesses of your heart-mind, you befriend the shadow aspects of yourself, those challenging emotions most people like to avoid. I would be a big advocate of suppression and repression if they worked. Unfortunately, all they do is move you towards addictions, and postpone feeling better in a deeper, more reliable and authentic way.

What we resist persists; so, in the long run, courageously facing one’s demons will pay dividends the rest of your life. By integrating previously repressed (shadow) aspects of yourself, like anger, jealousy, greed, etc., you become more self-accepting and less afraid. You are less likely to project your own unconscious issues on others, and you grow into the complete person you were born to be. Neither good nor bad, just human.

The more you accept yourself in all your humanness, the more compassion you will have for others.

If you retreat from your fears with addictions (whether gambling, cutting, alcohol, drugs, pornography, overeating, shopping, exercise, or anything else), you delay learning some of life’s most useful lessons:

You can stand what you don’t like.
You are here for the whole enchilada. Not just the appealing parts.

The tendency to catastrophize is lessened when you remind yourself you have survived, even thrived, through some hellacious times.

You may want to write a list of 10 things you have endured that, at the time, you never thought you could stand. No lessons are more valuable than those from your own experience. Reviewing your list helps you remember you can stand far more than you realize.

When your heart is heavy, when you feel alone, when life looks bleak, open your arms and say:
It’s OK sweetheart. I am here with you. We have faced everything, so far, and can manage this, too. We don’t have to like it, we just have to take a breath…and another…and another. It will pass. Life can feel good again.”

When you feel something scary or unpleasant tell yourself, “It’s OK to feel this. Let me feel this. I can handle it.”

It’s natural to want others to reassure you. Hearing these words from a friend, relative, or therapist, can be very helpful. Learning to speak gentle, loving statements to yourself, and believing them, fosters emotional self-sufficiency, deep peace and serenity. It’s not that you don’t need people; we’re all interdependent. It’s that you can self-soothe. Be patient. It takes years of practice to get there. Years of experiencing the futility of ranting and railing against what is, of demanding a quick fix, of feeling your tenuous ability to handle life; and, years of loving, supportive self-talk to change your course. (See Affirmations, Litany of Love, and Manifesto for Emotional Self-care.)

Stick with your new paradigm. What could be more important than learning to cherish and calm your own sweet self?

Copyright Nicole S. Urdang


Affirmations To Help You through Divorce, Break-Up, or Life Transitions October 22, 2009




Make your sweet self a cup of tea or hot chocolate.

Sit somewhere private and comfortable.

Read the following sentences aloud in your most loving, gentle voice.


I will be OK.


I feel devastated, but I will be fine.


I may not be able to see it right now, but everything will work out for my highest good.


There’s so much to learn.


I am becoming wiser and more compassionate with myself every day.


No matter how difficult things feel, the universe is supporting me.


I can let myself fully grieve. Grief is a shape-shifter: one minute I may feel furious and the next I could be bargaining for my old life back.  Five seconds later, I’m blue. I  can embrace it all.  It’s my path to transformation.


Divorce is a cosmic hazing and it’s only natural to feel emotionally depleted. It’s temporary.  In time, I will feel better than ever.


I am constantly evolving into my true self.


Up and down, up and down.  The roller coaster of emotion seems never ending, but it will stabilize.


I allow my tears to flow, as they are nature’s detoxifiers.


I will be joyful again.  Even now, amidst the turmoil, there are moments of grace.


I am doing remarkably well.


I will get to the other side when I’m ready.


I can love myself right now, exactly as I am.


I may not like what is true for me now, but I can handle it.


I can allow myself to be rocked to my core, it’s appropriate.


Nature can always be a refuge: a leaf, a tree, the sky, I let them remind me of life’s glories.


I ask God/Spirit to walk with me.


In the midst of chaos, I am healing.


I am using this crisis as a catalyst for growth.


I am gentler and kinder to myself than ever before.


I  will be happier than I can imagine.


Suffering is just as vital a part of life as joy; I’m here to experience everything.


I make it safe to feel all my feelings.


There is so much love for me in the world.


My soul shines amidst the chaos: luminous and beautiful.

Copyright Nicole S. Urdang


Feeling & Healing December 21, 2008


If you’re feeling you’re healing.  Conversely, if you’re not feeling you’re not healing.  I know I constantly harp on this, but only because it is so important.  Making it safe to feel your feelings will get you through all the emotional detritus surrounding divorce, or any other life transition.  In addition, by moving through your grief, rather than trying to circumvent it, you will hone your intuition.  Those indescribable gut feelings, born of experience and understanding, will help you make better decisions in all aspects of your life.


We’re still burdened by our Calvinist past, it’s in the air we breathe.  Deep down most of us have a little voice in our head saying: keep a stiff upper lip, pull yourself up by your bootstraps, and other aphorisms meant to keep us out of touch with our feelings.  They might have been useful in the past when people didn’t have the time to explore their emotions, and died young, but we’re living in a different age with a far longer life span.  We have all the time we need to plumb our depths.


One good way to do this is to write a journal entry on the emotion du jour with your non-dominant hand.  So if you’re a “rightie” write with your left hand, and vice-versa.  This allows you to access your unconscious mind more easily, and find out what you are really feeling.


Feelings are a conduit to understanding what you are telling yourself.  Once you are in touch with them you can ask yourself: “What could I be thinking to create that feeling?” Then, you can change your thoughts through Rational-Emotive Behavior Therapy (the original Cognitive-Behavior Therapy) which will replace negative emotions with more positive ones.


For example, if you are depressed your inner dialogue might be:

I’ll never feel better, and that would be terrible.

I’ll always be alone, and that would be awful.

I’ll never find anyone to love and who will love me; life won’t be worth living.


You get the idea. There’s typically an overgeneralization with an extremely negative assessment.  Actually, it’s often the pessimistic evaluation that really sinks our emotional boat, as we can then move directly to I-can’t-stand-it-itis (as Albert Ellis used to say).  Once we’ve landed there, we will undoubtedly feel lower than a snake’s wiggle.


The answer is to vigorously dispute the litany of negative thoughts that give rise to disturbing feelings, like: guilt, depression, anxiety, worthlessness, and anger. (See Annotated Bibliography for books by Ellis.)


It’s a common misperception that Rational-Emotive Behavior Therapy is all about the rational and leaves emotions in the dust.  Nothing could be further from the truth. It is by acknowledging your feelings that you can figure out what you’re telling yourself.  Then, ask yourself: “Just because I think this is it really true?”  Once upon a time, people thought the world was flat and blood-letting cured all ills.  We think unhelpful and unrealistic thoughts all the time.  That’s fine, it’s human nature, and there’s no need for self-denigration.  Just replace your unhelpful ruminations with new ones, and let yourself feel better.


How about thinking:


I may feel lousy right now, but I’ve felt bad before and that didn’t last.  One thing I know for sure is everything changes.  Even if I do feel depressed it isn’t the end of the world.  I may not like it, but I certainly can stand it.  If I couldn’t, I’d be dead.  (I literally can’t stand being without oxygen and food, but I can stand feeling rotten.)


Just because I am flying solo now doesn’t mean I will be alone for the rest of my life.  Actually, this is an opportunity to learn to love my own company.  If I ended up without a mate, I could still enjoy life.  Plenty of people are partner-less and don’t view it negatively; many actually prefer it.  Mother Theresa didn’t need a mate to find meaning, love and fulfillment in life.  I may prefer someone by my side, but that’s who I am today. As a constantly changing and growing person I have no idea who I’ll be tomorrow or a year from now, so why torture myself with assumptions?


Am I the ruler of the universe?  Am I clairvoyant?  If not, how can I possibly know what the future holds.  With 7 billion people on the face of the earth it’s far more likely I will meet someone than not.  If I loved before I know I am capable of loving again; similarly, if someone loved me I will only be more lovable as I move towards being my truest self.


Another thing to remember is that emotions usually come in clusters, so when you feel one ask yourself: “What other feelings might be lurking around?”   When you ferret something out ask yourself what thoughts might be creating it and dispute those with as much vigor as you did the last batch.


Introduce more helpful, positive thoughts by using affirmations, Robyn Posin’s cards (see Annotated Bibliography), and the Litany of Love (see Litany of Love).  Read them all regularly until they’re second nature.  There’s no such thing as overkill when it comes to thinking optimistically, practicing unconditional self-acceptance, and larding on tons of gentleness to counteract residual negative self-talk.


Copyright Nicole S. Urdang


Affirmations For Self-Empowerment and Emotional Freedom September 15, 2008


It’s best to pick the ones that really speak to you now and read them aloud two to three times a day.

It is natural for things to turn out well for me

I don’t have to figure it all out now

I have a fulfilling life and enrich other people’s lives

I assume the best

I listen to my intuition

I cultivate well-being

I am confident I can handle any challenge

People are kind to me

I focus on the positive

Unexpected good is coming my way

I acknowledge my pain and then move on

I fear no one

My finances are increasing

Those I love love me

I live in the present

I find something good in every situation

I feel safe within myself

I see what I want to do and do it

I am courageous

I take exquisitely good care of myself

I eat when I’m hungry and rest when I’m tired

I ask for what I want

I embrace change

I love myself

I am talented

I am a good listener

I believe in myself

I am creative

I grow stronger every day

Life is friendly to me

People feel relaxed around me

I am a calm person

I dare to be myself

My body feels healthy and at ease

I am able to relax at any time

I am loved

I am trustworthy

I face every day with a kind spirit

I am caring

I create what I want

I have infinite possibilities

I am confident and self-assured

I inspire others with my actions

I make the most out of my opportunities

I acknowledge I have good people around me

I cultivate peace

I control my temper

I think clearly

I have the ability to handle difficulties

I am my best friend

I take the time to enjoy my family

I am intelligent

I learn from my mistakes

I care for myself

I am flexible

I enjoy the gifts that life brings me daily

I love how I grow from change

I am kind

I am open to new experiences

I am important and I contribute positively to mankind

I always come across the information I need at the right time

I lead a happy and purposeful existence

I find easy ways to accomplish my tasks

I grow wiser every day

I am an asset to everybody that surrounds me

Abundance flows to me in surprising ways every day

I will achieve all my goals

I am always filled with energy to accomplish anything I want

All my past successes support me in thinking I am a successful person

I surround myself all the time with positive people and positive information

I am grateful for everything in my life

I attract abundance and blessings that benefit me and other people as well

I deserve to lead a wonderful and prosperous life

My self-knowledge grows daily and makes me be a better person

I value myself highly for the person I am

I respect myself and I act with integrity

I welcome good into my life with open arms

Every day in every way I am getting better and better

I forgive, heal and release anything that’s holding me back from my highest potential for love.


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