I’m James McLintock, MA Clinical Psychology, and I am passionate about helping adults stabilize and recover from devastating wounds of divorce, separation, or the ending of a long-term relationship.
I specialize in Divorce Adjustment, co-facilitate Divorce Care workshops, and provide Divorce Adjustment Behavioral Health Therapy in private practice at Living Water Counseling in Carlsbad, California.
Let’s open our workbooks to The Holiday Survival Guide.
Ready? Let’s go:
Valentine's Day can be yet ANOTHER reminder to a person who is separated, divorced, coming out of a long-term relationship, and even those who are widowed or searching for love--that there is nothing more painful than a broken heart.
While on one hand it is good for those who are hurting to “normalize” what they are experiencing---that feelings of sadness, loneliness, and despair (among many others) are very, very appropriate from the shattering effects of a wounded heart—finding ways to not just “feel” these emotions but to “push through them to the other side” helps put pain into perspective and promotes real change.
Healthy healing and healthy adjustment involves using two sets of lenses from which to see clearly - the first lens is focused on exactly where you are standing - the second lens is focused on self-healing—and the ability to weave the two views into one vision: that “I see that I am hurting, and it’s okay that I am hurting because I should be hurting, and I see a step that I can take toward adjusting - that once upon a time, celebrating Valentine’s Day (or any holiday) meant something special to me, and while it is important for me to soothe myself and normalize that I am in pain - I can take a small step toward getting comfortable in my own skin again and take a closer look at adjusting to my aloneness by comforting myself and comforting others.”
One of the best lessons I ever learned was from folks in substance abuse recovery—one of my great friends invited me to attend a large 12 Step BBQ, and as he walked with me among the attendees, he began pointing people out that were important to him. We would walk along and he would point and say, “See that guy? He saved my life. See that woman? She saved my life.” On and on he went, pointing out about 20 people in the sea of about 300 who had a hand in helping him survive. Then he said, “See that man? I saved his life. See that other guy? I saved his life. See that lady? I saved her life.” When we can 1: Normalize our own pain by meeting it right where it is, 2: Push through our pain and find a way to help others, 3: We take a courageous step toward adjustment—and at the same time, you just never know whose life you will touch.
Remember: Like all holidays, Valentine’s Day is a Speed-Bump Day, and all you have to do is make it until midnight: You may feel the heavy emotional burden of the holiday—so keep your eyes on midnight. You may feel like you are standing still or merely crawling up hill all day long. See how you feel at midnight—when radio and TV ceases with romantic commercials and programs, and the world goes back to normal.
Remember---Valentine’s Day can be that ‘speed bump day’ that feels like it takes forever to drive over. All you have to do is get to midnight—and you’ll be over the peak and cruising downhill. When you help others, it makes the day go by so much faster—and at the same time you are helping yourself adjust—and helping to soothe another.
There is nothing like the kindness of a stranger—or a friend—or a family member. Just like Kenny Chesney’s sings, “That’s the good stuff.” So consider focusing some time on you---and then some time on others—and then reward yourself for taking such a great step in your journey (go out for ice cream, go to a movie, enjoy a nice dinner, buy something nice for you!) You’ve done well—and that is the good stuff!
Today's blog was written by James McLintock, Marriage and Family Therapist Registered Intern, IMF 74183. James is supervised by Kathryn Kirk, LMFT, MFC 44312
To connect directly with James, email him at LivingWater.[email protected].com