Honey, I am getting a divorce

“Honey, I am getting a divorce”. These were the words my closest friend said to me when she called me after a couple of years. I was shocked. I wanted to reach out to her. Hold her. Feel her pain. Comfort her.

What could have happened for her to take such a drastic step? My mind was racing with all kinds of thoughts and scenarios, each outplaying the other. I tried recalling our last interaction. We had met over coffee at a corner shop.

“You look pale!”, I exclaimed, seeing the yellow parlor on my friend’s face. For the first time I could see a deep frown on her forehead. It crisscrossed like a bow and made her look at least 15 years older. Gone was the exuberant colleague that I had once known. Instead, I saw a slouched shoulder, head bend girl who seemed to have withered away.

“I just don’t seem to get things right,” said she. On my prodding she spilled it all out – the work stress, the team conflicts, the late nights, the spill over in the family, the health issues that cropped up…the long leaves, that feeling of not going to work and just hiding your face in the pillow, in the hope that the weather will suddenly brighten. But it never did.

What happened after that? I hurriedly got ready, my heart beating faster and faster, imagining the worst.

When I saw her, I stopped. This was not what I was expecting. The exuberance was back. My friend was smiling. Her eyes twinkled at the decision she had taken. And it was as though a weight had lifted off her shoulders.

Did divorce not leave behind a trail of trauma? Was it not a mentally agonizing decision? Where there not many factors to be considered? How could one be smiling in the midst of this chaos? As soon as our coffee arrived, I barged in with my stream of questions, “Tell me all” …

“Yes, it’s true I am getting a divorce. I have made a conscious decision. You do know how I was suffering. Nothing ever seemed to work out. There was this dark big black hole from where I could see no escape. I had to take this step. I hope you understand.”

“I do, but is such a drastic step really necessary? Did you not talk it out with your husband? Dialogue you know is the most effective way of communication. I am sure you would have found an amicable way to work out issues and not go in for a divorce.”

“What are you talking about? My marriage is perfectly fine”, she retorted.

“I don’t understand”, I blabbered. “You mentioned on the phone that you were getting a divorce. Did I hear you wrong?”

“No, you did not. I did say that. But this is not about my marriage”, she said cryptically.

Seeing my highly puzzled expression, my friend burst out laughing. “I am getting a divorce, yes. I am distancing myself, yes. I have taken a pledge to stay away, yes. But it is not from my marriage. It is from the toxic thoughts that I gave permission to reside in my head. I have decided to set myself free from all of it.”

Breathless with excitement, she continued, “You see, I had allowed myself to get swayed with all the negativity around and it had taken a toll on my health, my relationships, and my work. By wallowing in that darkness, I was becoming a victim to my thoughts.”

“So, what have you done?” I asked curiously.

“I have decided to turn every situation into an opportunity. And I am beginning with self-care. I now know that by focusing on me and what is good for me, I will be able to create a ripple effect in all areas. I will be more focused on my tasks; I can strengthen my relationships at work, I can lead my team better and I can relax when I am with my family.”

It dawned on me that she had finally understood the importance of having control over one’s thoughts and the feelings, emotions, and actions that emanate from them. I was happy her mantra was to live in the moment and be present.

What is your mantra? What are you getting a divorce from?

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Sarita Bahl
Country Group Head CSR at Bayer - South Asia
Sarita Bahl leads the Corporate Social Responsibility function for Bayer South Asia and is also the Director – Bayer Prayas Association. Prior to this, she successfully oversaw the communications and public affairs function for Bayer South Asia. Over her three decades of professional experience, Sarita has held multiple roles across diverse industries, public sector, trade associations, MNCs and the Not-for-profit sector. An alumnus of Tata Institute of Social Science and the Swedish Institute of Management Program, Sarita specializes in stakeholder engagement, sustainability and communications. She is passionate about animals (is mother to a female cat), books and movies.

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