“The Good Karma Divorce” (Part 2)

When you notice yourself feeling angry, ask yourself the question:  are you more committed to self-knowledge and wisdom, or are you more interested in being right? Below are listed 9 exercises that will help you become more comfortable with ambiguity and the multidimensionality of truth.*

1)Think about the last five things  your spouse did that made you angry and then make a list giving two possibilities of why he made you angry. If you are absolutely convinced that one of those reasons is right then you will feel violated.  But realizing that there is another possibility will help you disarm that hair trigger response.*

2) Write a letter to your soon-to-be ex, but never send it.  Dumping your emotions on paper affords your brain the opportunity of accessing different neurological pathways, which enables you to consider your anger more objectively.*

3) Sharing with a third party.  Try to find someone who is close to you (but not a member of your family) and vent your frustrations (make sure that person is prepared to listen.)  Note if your friend reacts subjectively or objectively to your comments.  If his/her remarks are more subjective, they may not be helpful.*

4) Making a “hit list”.  Write a list of all the people you are angry at, past and present, and why.  Are any of the offenses duplicated by your spouse.  Your spouse may be reactivating past offenses in your life that he/she really had nothing to do with.*

5) Listening with a different ear. When someone is venting at you, ask if they are done before you speak.  Consider whether they may or may not be right in what they are saying. Then speak to that part where they are justified.*

6). Realizing limited capacities. Make a list of your spouses limitations.  As you write this list, notice that it would have been different for your spouse to act in any other way than he/she did.*

7) Walking. If you are angry, go for a walk.  Walking is a highly effective technique for reducing anger.  Research has indicated that a walk can produce chemicals that act as pain relievers and promote relaxation.*

8) Meditation. It decreases confusion, enhances clarity, instills calm, orders chaotic thinking, and clears the mind.*

9) Realizing that anger fades. Think about the things in your past life that you have been very angry at.  Then realize that they no longer have real meaning for you.  This will help you realize that anger loses its intensity over time.*

“To allow for disagreement is to allow the other person to be him or herself, not some idealized version of a spouse required by your fantasy.  That real person will at times let you down.  In fact, everyone will disappoint you at one time or another.  … You must allow your spouse the same slack and understanding that you will need from time to time.”*

*Lowrance, Michele, The Good Karma Divorce (New York, Harper Collins, 2010)