The actress Jada Pinkett Smith, who is married to Hollywood actor Will Smith, recently shared some hard-hitting divorce advice on her Facebook page. Her advice takes the form of an open letter to a friend:
Letter to a friend:
You are divorced. Your ex-husband is not being kind or considerate, but you can’t harp on it because it steals the energy that should be given to your potential and power. At the end of the day, your survival is at risk, and you complaining about what he is not doing and what he should be doing does not change your circumstances. We have to use these circumstances to analyze what we need to do different, how do we need to strengthen, and how we need to be more. You are strong and capable, and now you have been put in a position where you must use your capabilities to change your circumstances without your ex’s help or kindness.
In the ideal world, the circumstances in which you and your children are facing are unacceptable, but the most painful realization I have had about this life is that we are not entitled to anyone’s kindness or consideration. THAT, is a painful truth.
Stay focused and keep it moving.
The outspoken letter seems to have hit a nerve: at the time of writing, it has been liked and shared on Facebook more than 40,000 times.
Critics have pointed out that, as the actress is not divorced herself, she is not in a position to comment on such painful matters. However I think that Jada Pinkett Smith’s advice is very powerful, and I like it. She is saying that following a divorce, you need to stand on your own two feet and expect no (further) concessions from your former spouse, irrespective of your shared history.
What has gone and been before, however, can mean that an assertive and self-sufficient attitude is a big “ask”. When you have been dealt a bad hand – or even if you have been dealt a relatively good one – it can be difficult to accept the turn your life has taken.
Over the years, working on more than 12,000 divorce cases, I have concluded that the hardest part of any divorce is what happens afterwards, when those legal, emotional and physical ties have all been severed. You have to face up to the truth that what has gone has gone. It is all in the past, and your relationship is finally over. This is about saying, “Ok, (s)he is part of my yesterdays. I’m on my own now. It’s time to move on, and be confident in myself again. From now on, the only person on whom I will rely is ME.”
The next step, of course, to turn talk into action. This isn’t always easy! Help is available, however. My book includes a section on how to move on after your divorce. Some time ago I also published a short series of posts on this blog called Coping With Divorce. These posts were written for readers going through divorce, with plenty of tips and pointers to help you look after your wellbeing:
Put your past behind you, and you can move on with your life.