Beat the Stigma – 11 Tips to Being Happily Divorced

Let Them Wonder How You Can Still Be So Content

Overnight Changes

If you found this page, it can only mean one thing. You’re either about to take a nose-dive into divorce, or you are divorced already. Whether you are white, black, brown, grey or red, male or female, everyone knows that once you are divorced, you literally become a pariah overnight.

The Mighty Question Here Is:

 Should you suffer for deciding to opt out of your marriage?

You must know that staying in an unhappy marriage, may not be the best decision for everyone concerned. Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that divorce is always the best option. I am saying that if you were in a situation where you were forced to walk away from the marriage, you should not be ashamed of your decision.

Your happiness does not depend on societies expectations. Hold your head up high. Its society that needs to curb their flapping tongues, but won’t.

Death Of A MArriage

Divorce Has Become A Trend

In Western countries, divorce seems to be a trend. It is nothing out of the ordinary for people to have experienced a failed marriage more than once. However, f you are sitting in a country like India, the stigma is even higher due to the lower percentage of the divorce rate.

Ultimately this is what it boils down to:

Moving on is not as difficult as dealing with society and how unforgiving they are. They will hold you hostage for using the get out card. It’s not as if you are not already beating yourself up over your flaws and mistakes.

 Brown Chick Problems

As a brown woman, I can tell you that there were times when I felt as if someone had slapped a red defective sticker on my forehead. Despite the surge of “broken homes” the obvious irony is that you will never be normal once you experience life as a divorced woman.

The fact remains that woman tend to bear the brunt way more than men do. Unless a man was known for his abusive, criminal or womanizing ways, the blame almost always falls directly on the woman’s head. What nobody will come out and say directly to your face is: You are a failure. However, this is how society categorizes divorced people.

Officially Pre – Owned

For most woman out there, it can feel as if your new marital status grants everyone the right to disfavor you. In fact, men see you as used goods. They regard you as desperate and freely available with a stale and chewy sticker attached to your forehead.

Hold on to your dignity. You are no criminal. You deserve respect and you will get it. If you have been feeling despondent, read on. The fat lady has not started singing as yet, so life isn’t over!

Great News

If you are standing at divorces door, feeling like there is very little hope for your future, my friend, I have got the best news for you ever! This feeling won’t last. If you follow these basic steps, you will find yourself in a better space and it won’t matter how society views you. In fact, if you take the time out to heal, the proper way, you are more than likely to grow and thrive. In order to get to that point, there are some things which you must do:

Reflect and Acknowledge Your Faults

Firstly, reflect and acknowledge your mistakes. Figure out what you could have done differently. Then forgive yourself. It takes two to salsa. You were not alone in the marriage, were you? No matter what you may have done or not done, if you want redemption, then you must be merciful to your own soul first. Remember that reflection is fundamental for self-growth.

No matter how serious the problem was you owe absolutely no justification nor explanation to anyone. It is nobody’s business! The more you say, the more they will find ways to mock your mistakes. Say nothing. One thing that shuts people up easily is if you say: I am not comfortable discussing this right now, sorry.

Two things happened to me when I got divorced. People who were once good friends, walked away. Then there were those who I was not very close to, who tried to gap into my life. If you wondering why, well…the juicy tidbits, gossip and updates, why else?

The one’s that left, escaped because I no longer fit into their idea of what an ideal family should look like. I was now a third-rate citizen. Why would they want to associate with me?

Ask For Help If You Can’t Cope Alone

11 Winning Tips:

  • Don’t feel shy to get help from a renowned and trusted therapist that you feel comfortable around. Find someone who is credible and experienced in this field.  A therapist is essential especially in an acrimonious, and turbulent situation. Therapists offer a guiding hand which is often priceless for personal growth.
  • Seek solace in a higher power, your creator. Prayer and meditation are the number one method of eliminating stress and finding relief for your pain.
Family Time Will Help Heal Each Other
  • Don’t isolate yourself. At some point you will have to reintegrate into society as a single person. You cannot hide from society. What you can do is start taking an interest in self-care. Remember that looking good works marvelously on your self esteem. When you look in the mirror your appearance should not depress you further.
  • You must heal your own soul. Nobody can fix your life. You only have the power to fix yourself and heal your heart. You don’t have to put on a happy act, but you can just be your normal self around others. Smile and let society wonder while you continue living graciously and mysteriously.
  • You couldn’t live together with your spouse but no matter how acrimonious things became, that person was once the love of your life. Have mercy on them. Be polite. You don’t have to bake them I am sorry cookies, just to make peace. However you can be decent and kind. Remember that whatever you are experiencing, they are too. Everyone doesn’t deal with pain in the same way. They may be hiding their emotions. Don’t for one second think that it does not affect them.
  • If you can get the assistance of an unbiased and independent arbitrator or lawyer to iron out the nitty gritty details, do that. You need peace of mind with regards to finances and visitation rights. Once all of this has been resolved, you will be able to take better care of your own heart and be there for your children.
  • Find things to do to occupy your mind. Play with your children if they are little. Engage with them fully. Act like a silly child and let your hair down. Their smiles are enough to bring your heart to life again. It’s okay to breathe and live. Life doesn’t end because the marriage ended.
  • Find a satisfying hobby or take up a course that will enrich you. This is excellent for your C.V and it is sure to boost your self-esteem. There are loads of free online courses so don’t say that you have no money.
  • Use the time when you are in iddah ( Muslims waiting period after divorce) to decide what you want to accomplish in life. Make new plans and set new goals.
  • Also, most importantly it is wise to develop a strong spiritual relationship with your creator. Remember this: No soul can provide peace in your turbulent heart, only YOUR CREATOR can bring that peace!

Conclusion:

The longer you were in the marriage, the longer it will take to heal. Nonetheless, if you get your priorities in order, you do not have to fear what others have to say about your life. Something to remember is that society will always find a new scapegoat to pick on. You can’t zip some mouths shut, or teach people how to treat you.

However, you can condition them. They will know what you will tolerate and what won’t work with you. Walk around like the queen or king that you are. Remember that your experience does not sanction abuse of any form. You walked out of your marriage for peace and happiness. You should not allow small minds to steal your freedom.

You may never change societies perceptions, but you can find ways to not allow negativity and stigma to rule the way you move forward. A personal development plan will empower you to gain clarity and provide inner strength for you to cope gracefully. Free your soul from all that weighs you down and take baby steps, one moment at a time, towards healing and contentment.

When chivalry or politeness is seen as flirting

A helping hand

Why has society created such a thin line between politeness/chivalry and flirting??

Friendly and Polite

A young student

Many years ago, my father owned a company that imported laminated flooring. Sometimes on busy days, I would try to earn extra pocket money and assist in the business whenever I could. I was a student at the age of 18. There was an older man about as old as my dad with children my age, who was one of our biggest clients. Often when the other salespeople were busy I used to assist him to choose colors for many of his projects as a contractor.

Happy Birthday to me!

Why I hate orchids?

On my 21st birthday, my parents were overseas. I was in the store assisting my older brother. It was such a pity to be working on my birthday but I knew nobody in this city at the time to celebrate with, not that my family was ever big on celebrating birthdays. So naturally, when I received the most beautiful bouquet of pink orchids, I was delighted.

There was no name on the card attached to it. Assuming that it was from my parents, I rushed to see what was written inside, in excitement. Mortified and completely embarrassed, I stood rooted to the spot. My older brother snatched the card from my trembling fingers. We investigated and tried calling the florist to find out the details of the sender.

Are you intrigued yet? Read on to find out who it was and why my brother became livid with anger.

Misunderstandings

I believe that there is a tremendous amount of wisdom in the cliche, “learn to read between the lines!” Many people both male and female lack communication and understanding and this leads to so much of problems. Often kindness is misread for something different. Let’s face it, in this harsh world, kindness is rare. So when someone is being nice, it is often viewed as flirting. (Scroll down for self- development tips and tricks.)

Price of politeness

Recently a Twitter friend mentioned that chivalry comes with a price. I had the words ready on the tip of my tongue to retaliate but I held myself back. As women, this is what we face daily. The worst combination to possess as a woman or man who is attractive and decent is a positive, polite and friendly attitude. Why? Because this behavior is often misconstrued.

I wanted to tell the twitter friend, do you know what it feels like to be a woman? I wanted to tell him about the billions of times when my kindness and me being polite became a license to be hit on by men.

Exploiting kindness

So in very simple terms, I will discuss certain issues that I find many are facing at the moment but these are the things nobody discusses. Fair enough, there are millions of women out there and men who love the attention from the opposite sex or even the same sex and view any interaction as an opportunity to have fun.

Promiscuity is rife and standards are low

If you don’t bare it all then you considered prehistoric

The world is bombarded with free skin and promiscuity. Phrasing it very crudely, I would say the easiest thing these days is getting laid. Standards have dropped. So when someone is polite, it is automatically viewed as a come on by those who are used to such despicable behavior.

My mother’s advice

As a young girl, my mother taught me that one smile is all it takes for men to jump to the wrong conclusion. Being a friendly spirited young girl, I thought: “Geez mama, what are you talking about?” Emotional maturity came late to that tomboy. I really truly did not get what she meant. I did not know how boys and men think back then but now I do. As women, we are born with natural instincts that guide us. The key is to listen to your gut. When warning bells go off in your head about someone, go with it, trust your natural instincts. A woman automatically realizes who she is safe with and who is not safe to be around. This instinct needs to be honed in.

Drawing the line

Kindness and being polite has always been a part of my lifestyle. So the good question is where does one draw the line? How does one spot the difference between flirting and chivalry or kindness? Should you be selective about who you are friendly and kind to?

Best communication tips to deal with the opposite sex

  1. Keep the communication very simple.
  2. Don’t get personal
  3. Be polite but don’t say anything that doesn’t sound good to your own ears.
  4. Don’t make eye contact, look at the space just above the eyebrows when you speak to them.
  5. Watch your body language by keeping within your space physically.
  6. Practice not smiling and don’t show your teeth too much or laugh at anything they say especially if it makes you uncomfortable.
  7. Do the bare minimum to show politeness but be careful about oversharing,

Curiosity killed the cat

To satisfy your curiosity, I will inform you who the flowers were from and why my brother got so upset. The flowers were from that contractor old enough to be my father. Along with a ” Happy Birthday!” was a crude message scribbled in the card attached to the flowers which literally made me cringe out of disgust. Don’t you worry though, my brother dealt with that lecherous old man in the best possible way? I am sure that there are many conservative people who can relate to these issues too.

I certainly hope that my tips will assist you to overcome the above-mentioned issues. Have you ever been in a similar situation? How do you communicate with the opposite sex to avoid this? As Muslim women and men, how do you deal with forward people? Please feel free to comment and add your views about this post.

Characteristics which women desire in men

The perfect man does not exist but real men do!
Men Who Make Our Heads Turnl

Almost every single day, I have some male or the other trying to approach me. There are friends trying to set me up. There is family who feels that my life is a perfect waste because I have no man by my side. I have friends within my circle who are happy and feel like their lives are perfectly put together. Having a man in their lives will only bring about unnecessary complications.

 I have been asked, what kind of a man would make my head turn in his direction, not that my opinion is thaaat important…eye roll…but this is what most women desire…

The perfect man does NOT exist but real men do. I know they exist and I have noticed how these honorable men treat their women and I have the utmost respect for them.

Ideal Man Or real Man!

                How Real Men Behave:

Confidence

Mature men live their lives with confidence in themselves and their abilities. They take risks and are not afraid of criticism nor are they afraid of having their ego’s slightly bruised.

Follow their own rules

While they respect other people’s opinions, thoughts and ideas, they follow their own rules and do not live their lives trying to please or impress others.

They treat women with respect

They understand that women have their strengths and weaknesses, fears and desires and they do not see women as competition. Women are viewed as equals mentally. They treat women with respect regardless of who she may be and what she does.

They are resilient

They don’t harbor resentment or hold on to grudges. They simply move on.

They are emotionally strong

Mature men do not allow people to bully them. They are assertive and remain cool and composed. They are positive and always look at the brighter side of life.

They are ambitious

They constantly seek ways to improve their own personal development and growth. You won’t hear them complaining about the sacrifices they had to make or the hard work involved in achieving their goals.

Mature men understand responsibility

They don’t see their jobs as boring. They understand that whether it is a job or a career, people depend on them.

Real men do not step back on their morals ethics, self-respect and integrity

 If it means being hard on someone, they will do it. Their morals and ethics are never compromised. Ever.

Good communication skills

Mature men, know how to communicate. They are easily able to convey their needs and no conversation is too difficult to hold.

Stimulated by intellect more than superficial beauty

Boys are intimidated by women who are mentally smarter than they are. Real men are stimulated by intellectual conversation.

They are sincere

Real men will compliment women only to uplift her, and not to get her into bed.

Support

Real men know how to provide support. They are not put off by women who have aspirations.

They have spiritual convictions and faith in a higher power

A real man has a strong set of beliefs that leads him in every decision he makes. Prayer and spirituality is something that comes easily to him.

They are-self sufficient and able to take care of their own basic needs

If there are no women to cook and clean, they won’t die from deprivation of a women’s touch in their lives.

This is just a condensed list of what women seek in men. Get this loud and clear! Women do not crave wealth, good looks and status. To put this to you very simply, some of us actually prefer men of substance and good character over those with flashy cars and the latest fade haircut. If you thought she wanted a part of your bank balance, you should know by now how very wrong you were.

The Silent Killers That Everyone Hushes Up About…

Several Ways to Develop Your Empathy Levels Today!

When The Soul Cries Alone

Sudden Trauma

Some time back, a very close friend of mine, fell suddenly insanely ill, overnight. She ended up in ICU from her illness. It was a traumatic incident for everyone. We had to offer support because she is all alone in the world with a small network of friends. One day, some time later, at a dinner party, with a few mutual friends, somehow the topic about her illness came up.

Storm of all Storms

She literally cringed and denied the severity of her illness. We looked at each other in shock. We were the ones who took care of her. We knew the pain that she had endured. She sat in front of friends who loved her so much. She refused to admit her illness before our extended mutual friends.

Fake smiles

Physical and Mental Depletion

The discussion around the table as we dug deep into the sticky toffee pudding and ice cream, was about illness and how it can change your life overnight. In that moment I was so engrossed in my sticky toffee and the way the icy cold ice- cream blew my senses away that, I stopped dead in my tracks, at the cold silence in the room. I thought, wait what? What did I just hear? as I tried to undo the numbness in my brain from the ice cream, just to catch the last part of the conversation. As the silence echoed in the dining room, my mind was so engrossed in the sweetness of stuffing my face to hide the emotions, I felt at that moment.

Negativity

Down in the Dumps

I realized then and there that illness, whether mental or physical, has a certain negative connotation to it and people don’t like to discuss certain things and share, even if it means helping someone else. They would rather shut up about it and hide away for some reason.

Being a person who wears my heart on my sleeves, with ridiculous amounts of empathy, I understood her pain and I changed the topic to avoid her unease as a hostess. Today I am going to discuss illnesses. The silent killers that nobody wants to speak about. Today the emphasis is on society and their expectations.

 Losing your marbles

Emotionally Drained

If you lose a sense of who you are, if you become someone you are not due to illness, you are considered a wimp and weak. Society expects people to be fake and put on a strong hero persona.  What nobody tells you, is that it is normal to crumble when you are facing a life altering illness. It is not normal to be strong all the time. As human beings, it is okay to fail, to stumble, to fall, and it is okay to hit rock bottom! Yes you heard that right!

A lesson to everyone reading this. It is human to hit rock bottom. To go nuts, to fall and fail is human. You are not weak. Those that tell you that, are weak themselves because they stand on their high horses and point fingers. If they were in your shoes, they would end up far worse than you!

Did you take your off your head pills?

Mood Stabiliser

If you are fighting a mental illness, an auto-immune illness such as fibromyalgia, cancer, bipolar, M.S etc and you fall. You hit rock bottom and you do something uncharacteristic once in a lifetime, or in the case of mental illness, you do it often, do not berate yourself. I can tell you this much, you are fighting the greatest battle. Many have little or no emotional support because illness is negative. Nobody wants to be around anyone who is negative. Negativity rubs off and that is the reality of this life. Many don’t have the stomach to give support and many run away like cowards.

To all those who have never experienced a single illness, whether mental or physical and take their health for granted, learn the lessons which I want you to understand. My job as a writer is to create an awareness. If you have sympathy but empathy does not come easy to you then follow these steps to be a better person. You can walk in someone else’s shoes even if you have never even dreamed of the pain they encountered.

Empathy is part of self-development.

7 Ways To Grow Your Empathy Levels

  1. Remember something. Real empathy cannot be faked. It will show in the little things you do and do not do. People who ill are normally fine tuned to the things that others don’t notice so either you grow your empathy for real or don’t attempt it at all. Stick to sympathy.
  2. People with empathy will go all out for you whether they agree or disagree, whether they like you or dislike you. A person with sympathy will just do what is absolutely necessary as a human being.
  3. Reading between the lines comes easy to those with empathy. They hear the things that people don’t say. They see the silent tears even when your lips form a smile.
  4. One has to be mindful around people. One has to stop and really pay attention to notice things. A simple change in a person’s voice can detect exhaustion. While doctors are conditioned to search for telltale signs, not everyone is created equally empathetic.
  5. Stop. Imagine yourself in that person’s shoes. Empathy requires the utmost honesty to one’s self. If you know yourself, you will be able to understand others. How would you feel in such a situation? How would you react?
  6. According to David F. Swink on Psychology Today, cognitive empathy can be taught. He used the example of a hostage situation and how faking empathy eventually lead to real empathy. I agree that short term empathy can be faked. I must admit however, that for some of us, it is easy to see through the act.  Faking empathy for years may just eventually teach you real empathy and change your neurons. It all depends on your intentions, I suppose.
  7. A dear friend of mine, taught me that it is in the little things you do that proves your love for them. Doing little things with great love goes a long way. Even if you don’t love someone, you can take the time out to think of the little things that someone may appreciate. (Dedicated to Ayesha my friend, my sister. That biryani, stays in my mind for life, the sweetest way you packed it without me asking, those little gifts, the tears in your eyes, the way you hugged me and dropped everything when I needed you. Dedicated to the most thoughtful, sweetest, kindest, human being with loads of empathy!)

Show sincerity

So the next time your friend informs you about the severe pain she is in, please don’t tell her to change her diet. Don’t ask her if she took her medication. Don’t look at your depressed friend with demeaning eyes and say in your mind: “There you go again you nutjob! You just spoiled my oh so positive happy day!”  Stop and feel, not just with your heart but with your soul.

Feel their emotions

What would you want someone to tell you if you were in a similar situation? Another key issue to remember as David F. Swank has put it on psychology today website, is that this person is not you. This is a unique individual with a unique mind and body and the way they handle and view pain and trials is different from you. What you may easily endure, they may struggle to handle, whether trials or pain. When you are able to see things from the mind’s eye of another human being, that is when you will know that you have mastered the art of empathy.