Rosalind Sedacca: “Let go of the past — and forgive!”

Catch your self-talk! We are often our own worst enemy without being aware of it. When we listen to our self-talk we can catch ourselves being overly critical, hurtful and disrespectful to who we are! We can then self-correct. We’d never talk to another the way we too often ridicule ourselves with little compassion. Change […]

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Catch your self-talk! We are often our own worst enemy without being aware of it. When we listen to our self-talk we can catch ourselves being overly critical, hurtful and disrespectful to who we are! We can then self-correct. We’d never talk to another the way we too often ridicule ourselves with little compassion. Change your self-talk and you can change the outcome of your life. Catch yourself doing things right and give yourself a hug. We don’t have to wait for others to give us the support we need!

As a part of my series about “Learning To Finally Love Yourself” I had the pleasure to interview Rosalind Sedacca. She is a Divorce & Co-Parenting Coach and founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network, which provides advice, programs, coaching and other valuable resources for parents who are facing, moving through or transitioning after a divorce. She is the author of How Do I Tell The Kids About The Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide To Preparing Your Children — With Love! — an internationally acclaimed ebook designed to help parents get through the tough divorce talk with the best possible outcome for themselves and their children. Rosalind has also created several ebooks and e-courses on co-parenting success strategies including an 8-hr and 12-hr Anger Management Program for Co-Parents. She also hosts the Divorce, Dating & Empowered Living Radio Show & Podcast. Rosalind is the 2008 First Place Winner of the Victorious Woman Award as well as the 2011 International Women’s Day Outstanding Service Award winner for her work with divorce and parenting issues.

Thank you so much for joining us! I’d love to begin by asking you to give us the backstory as to what brought you to this specific career path.

I was traumatized by the prospect of my own divorce when my son was eleven years old. The challenge involved caused me to create a unique approach to breaking the divorce news to my son and learn how to cooperate with his father in the ongoing co-parenting process. When my son was in his early 20’s he approached me one day thanking me for how we handled the divorce and co-parenting, telling me most of his friends with divorced parents are either quite angry or very hurt by the experience. His loving words of support initiated my founding the Child-Centred Divorce Network, writing How Do I Tell The Kids About The Divorce? and then becoming a Divorce & Co-Parenting Coach as well as a Dating After Divorce Coach.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you hope that they might help people along their path to self-understanding or a better sense of wellbeing in their relationships?

I have a valuable new webinar helping parents understand the impact of divorce on children as well as on parents. It affects our self-esteem, confidence, and acceptance, all of which are crucial to being a better parent and being a better love partner in the future. I have also revamped several of my personal Coaching programs, customized to fit my clients’ immediate and long-term needs.

Do you have a personal story that you can share with our readers about your struggles or successes along your journey of self-understanding and self-love? Was there ever a tipping point that triggered a change regarding your feelings of self acceptance?

Growing up female in our society I was strongly programmed to believe that a man, the right man, would be the answer to all my problems in life. He would heal me, fix me, complete me and love me enough to finally love myself. Years of marriage taught me that wasn’t the case. Self-love has to come from the inside out. I spent years in personal growth programs, reading books, taking courses and working in therapy to ultimately discover I had all I needed burying within. I just had to allow myself to access that inner wisdom and apply it in my life. My divorce was the catalyst for reclaiming my life, honoring myself and taking responsibility for everything I thought, said and did. In the long run, it’s easier to change yourself than change everyone around you. It takes time, skill, motivation and strategies, but it puts you on a path to self-love and inner peace that was my ultimate goal. Today I coach others on this path!

According to a recent study cited in Cosmopolitan, in the US, only about 28 percent of men and 26 percent of women are “very satisfied with their appearance.” Could you talk about what some of the causes might be, as well as the consequences?

When we look for confidence from without we are faced with a culture that bombards us with reasons to be more insecure, unhappy and afraid about who we are and how we look. We also dread and fear aging. Happy people love themselves for who they are, not what they look like. Focusing on appearance can only lead to disappointment, greater insecurity and incessant worry about something with so little importance in the overall scope of life. What a waste of energy!

As cheesy as it might sound to truly understand and “love yourself,” can you share with our readers a few reasons why it’s so important?

We truly cannot love others if we can’t find a way to love ourselves. Love is an experience, a feeling, a sense that opens our hearts and touches our souls. If we are steeped in self-criticism how can we not be equally critical about others? It’s so easy to tear one another down. It takes so much more depth of character and integrity to build someone up, looking for their good points and acknowledging them for that. If we can’t find value, worth, and goodness within ourselves, how can we possibly recognize it in others? Life is an INSIDE job. We have to look within, clean up from within and find value within ourselves before we can ever see that light in someone else. And when we do, it will shine brighter!

Why do you think people stay in mediocre relationships? What advice would you give to our readers regarding this?

Fear comes into play when we don’t believe we are worthy of more in life. If we don’t think we deserve better, don’t think there can be better and don’t know how to achieve what’s better, we stay stuck in mediocre relationships. When we learn how to be a better partner we can open the door for our partner to be better as well. If they don’t want to create a healthier relationship, knowing it’s time to move on can be a gift to yourself and also to the children subjected to your unhappy relationship. But moving on without learning the lessons from your past relationship serves no value in your life. Again, we need to go within to get answers, insights and the determination to know we deserve and can achieve so much more! Thankfully there’s dependable help from therapists and coaching every step of the way.

When we talk about self-love and understanding we don’t necessarily mean blindly loving and accepting ourselves the way we are. Many times self-understanding requires us to reflect and ask ourselves the tough questions, to realize perhaps where we need to make changes in ourselves to be better not only for ourselves but our relationships. What are some of those tough questions that will cut through the safe space of comfort we like to maintain, that our readers might want to ask themselves? Can you share an example of a time that you had to reflect and realize how you needed to make changes?

Some questions to ask:

· What are my expectations for myself and my partner and are they realistic?

· What have I learned from my current or past relationships that are valuable lessons for me?

· Am I taking responsibility for my decisions and behavior or blaming others when things go wrong?

After my divorce, I noticed many things I blamed on my former spouse that were real issues I needed to look at myself: being overly critical, intolerant, impatient. Changing those qualities from within made me a better partner for my second husband and more accepting of our personal differences.

So many don’t really know how to be alone, or are afraid of it. How important is it for us to have, and practice, that capacity to truly be with ourselves and be alone (literally or metaphorically)?

Great question and such an important one. When we are comfortable being alone with ourselves we move into addictive behavior that keeps us from looking within to where the real answers lie. It is crucial to not only love but to value ourselves and understand that we are unique and worthy of love from ourselves and others. We don’t have to change to meet expectations from others but should change to be the best version of ourselves we can be. Doing it for ourselves reaps lasting rewards. Changing for someone else leads to anger, frustration, resentment, and failure!

How does achieving a certain level of self-understanding and self-love then affect your ability to connect with and deepen your relationships with others?

We teach people how to treat us. If we accept abuse, tolerate ridicule, lack compassion for others, are overly critical, filled with anger, mistreat others or accept mistreatment, we are setting ourselves up for difficult and hurtful relationships with others. With a sense of self-love and self-understanding, we become more tolerant of others, a quality that deepens our relationships and attracts more love to us.

In your experience, what should a) individuals and b) society, do to help people better understand themselves and accept themselves?

Focus much more on being an accountable, responsible adult. Talk about the consequences for our actions, decisions, and behaviors. Hold ourselves accountable for what we say and do. Role model maturity, compassion, empathy, character, and integrity in all facets of our culture: journalism, TV, movies, social media, educational system, parenting, political parties and media icons. We are sending distorted, warped, disrespectful messages to our youth about what matters in life with little accountability.

What are 5 strategies that you implement to maintain your connection with and love for yourself, that our readers might learn from? Could you please give a story or example for each?

1. Follow the Platinum Rule: Do unto others what they would like you to do unto them.

When my husband wants a lazy weekend afternoon at home, he means watching his favorite sports team on TV. For me, it’s watching a favorite movie or reading a good book. I no longer insist that he tries to enjoy what brings me joy. I accept that he’s different and encourages him to have a great afternoon on his own doing what he loves!

2. Strive for peace over drama!

I used to live a life filled with drama regarding my relationship ups and downs. Fighting and making up, crying and looking for the next exciting event — it took its toll on my life. Now I strive for PEACE. I don’t need excitement or drama to be happy. I find joy in nature, doing what I love, talking with close friends and family, spending time with myself. It’s a much more happy and fulfilling experience for me and my life.

3. Let go of the past — and forgive!

Living in the past is usually painful. It’s filled with disappointment and regrets, neither of which are of value for us. The past is also full of old baggage that needs to be discarded. Too many of us carry old baggage on our shoulder into each new relationship, not understanding the damage it does to that new relationship. When we forgive ourselves and forgive others who hurt us, we cut the cord that connects us to past pain. Forgiveness is the greatest gift we can give ourselves. It doesn’t mean we forget the wrongs. It means we stop letting them hurt and re-wound us over and over again!

4. Catch your self-talk!

We are often our own worst enemy without being aware of it. When we listen to our self-talk we can catch ourselves being overly critical, hurtful and disrespectful to who we are! We can then self-correct. We’d never talk to another the way we too often ridicule ourselves with little compassion. Change your self-talk and you can change the outcome of your life. Catch yourself doing things right and give yourself a hug. We don’t have to wait for others to give us the support we need!

5. Stop comparing yourself with others!

Social media has heightened our ability to compare every facet of our lives with others. That becomes a great excuse to put yourself down or feel less than other people in your world. Stop the madness. You are a unique YOU and not supposed to be a version of someone else. Let go of ridiculous comparisons with those who are wealthier, younger, smarter, thinner, taller, more talented or successful. Be proud of who you are and what you bring to this world. Focus on that and your life will be more satisfying and fulfilling than you ever imagined!

What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources for self-psychology, intimacy, or relationships? What do you love about each one and how does it resonate with you?

I love the books, programs, recordings and related material of several icons in the personal development world. These include Marianne Williamson, Gary Zukav, Eckhart Tolle, Ram Dass, Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, Harville Hendrix, Katherine Woodward Thomas, and Oprah! They each have messages that complement one another and focus on self-love as being the most crucial step towards your own personal achievement and inner peace.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? Maybe we’ll inspire our readers to start it…

We are more alike than different. Racism, bigotry, prejudice, greed, and ultra-nationalism create more hatred, misunderstanding, divisiveness, wars and pain on our planet. We need to respect leaders whose sincere goal is to bring us together as human beings, to save our planet and our souls by uniting mankind as one. It starts with teaching empathy and compassion for others on a local, national and international scale. Let’s treat every human being and other life forms with the respect they deserve as neighbors on our planet. Let those who try to demean, insult, disrespect and destroy the people and resources on earth be identified and called out for what they are: toxic to our humanity!

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” that you use to guide yourself by? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life and how our readers might learn to live by it in theirs?

There are many variations of this quote. But regardless of who says it or how they phrase it, it’s one of the most important lessons we can learn in life: “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” We cannot change what is. But we have choices regarding how we handle our challenges and what we tell ourselves that it means. Understanding that we have CHOICES at every moment in life gives us power as well as responsibility to make wise, thoughtful and caring choices that impact us as well as others. Equally important, we must keep in mind that we are role models for others, especially our children. So watch what you say and do in terms of what you are teaching the next generation about getting along with others, coping with conflict and handling life challenges along the way!

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