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


The Most Important Relationship You’ll Ever Have May 31, 2009


The most important relationship you’ll ever have is with you.  Considering that you are with yourself every minute of every day, why not make this your most loving alliance?


While there are many reasons for not having developed a great bond with yourself, there’s no upside in cataloguing them.  In lieu of focusing on the past, here are some ways to cultivate an enjoyable, dependable, tender relationship with yourself.


As the Buddha said: There is no one more deserving of compassion than you.  By fostering a gentle, patient litany of self talk you will reap more benefits than you can imagine. Think of all the harshness you have heaped on yourself. Perhaps, it was setting perfectionistic, unattainable goals, or an incessant catalogue of self-criticism. Decide today that you will counter those old tendencies towards self-downing with tenderness.  If you hear yourself being judgmental of the way you are handling some aspect of your life, stop, take a breath, and talk to yourself kindly, the way you would calm a child.  Those same messages will soothe you and, more importably, build inner trust.  In time, you will be able to count on yourself for compassion and self-nurturing.  You will be that safe haven for you.


It may sound banal, but taking good care of yourself begins with eating well, including treats.  Unless you are someone who eats to live, and doesn’t really enjoy your food, eating something delicious every day is another way you show yourself that you matter.  Getting enough sleep is crucial, too.  Just like the people who think they can have one drink and drive, while every study shows they are impaired, many think they can do just fine with six hours a night.  Perhaps, you are one of the very few who can, but most need seven to eight hours to function well.  Last, but not least, is exercise.  Move your body.  It really doesn’t matter what you do, but do something on a regular basis and it will improve your outlook, as well as your physical health.


Meditation is a wonderful way to befriend and better understand your mind.  What are its tendencies?  Do you focus on all the tasks that still need doing?  Are you preoccupied with everyone else’s problems, worrying day and night?  Do you live in the future, waiting for your ship to come in, lose 10 pounds, or meet your ideal mate? Whatever your predilections, you can learn to re-focus on your breath and quiet some of the incessant noise.  Meditation is also a great way to notice any tendencies towards self-downing, or habits of assuming the worst.  Once you see a trend you can actively work towards substituting unhelpful thoughts for positive ones. (See Affirmations.)


Even your sex life can benefit from a better relationship with yourself.  By getting to know your body’s reactions you can please yourself, if going solo, or help your partner understand what you like, if coupled.


Socially, you can develop comfort within yourself, so going out alone is not a hardship; but, something you might choose on a regular basis. After all, you are always available without prior notice and you already know what you like to do.  For many people, this is a very difficult thing to imagine, let alone practice.  I encourage you to bravely go forth: see that movie or art show alone, go out for a meal by yourself (you may want to start with breakfast or lunch as they are often eaten without company), take a beautiful drive or walk (you will notice more when solo), do all those things you know you would enjoy and you’ll probably end up making new friends (all those other folks who like the same thing you do and who didn’t want to call their friends to see who wanted to share the experience).  I am sure that right after people’s fear of public speaking (the number one anxiety in this country), is venturing out by yourself.  Wouldn’t it feel like a great coup to tackle that old irrational belief?  You know, the one that says you’re a loser if you’re alone. You’re not. One third of all adults in the U.S. live by themselves. 


Attending to your spiritual side, developing a deep bond with the ineffable qualities of life, and finding peace within are all ways of enhancing your joy.  Trust that you will find your way to that still, small place inside where all goodness dwells.  By practicing being there for yourself, in all circumstances and on all levels, you will watch joy ripen in your heart.  You can choose to feel truly loved right this minute. Don’t take my word for it, just go for it.  It’s a radical step, but one you’ll never regret.



Copyright Nicole S. Urdang


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