This week at my Leadership Fuquay-Varina class, we were lucky enough to be provided with delicious baked goods and coffee from Stick Boy Bread Company. I quickly poured myself a nice cup of coffee, and merely eyed the baked goods. After an hour or two into the class, I needed a sugar rush. I kept walking by the cinnamon rolls with the cream cheese icing piled high. I kept snubbing them because I assumed they contained raisins. (For those of you that don’t know me well, I have an IMMENSE hatred of raisins stemming from my childhood). I’ve been fooled too many times by cookies I thought were chocolate chip, or cinnamon rolls that had globs of cinnamon just to find out that instead, they contained RAISINS. Ick.
I asked my peers if the cinnamon rolls had raisins in them, and no one knew. It would have helped if I could have asked the actual baker about the ingredients. Curiosity (and hunger) got the best of me, and I bravely strolled over to get a cinnamon roll. I determined that I would just risk hitting a raisin. After pulling apart and inspecting the cinnamon roll carefully, I found that there were NO RAISINS! It was one of the most delicious cinnamon rolls I have ever tasted. And the cream cheese icing tasted as good as it looked.
For some reason, I started thinking about my cinnamon roll experience and how it could actually parallel a few different life lessons:
- Things (or people) aren’t always how they appear on the surface, whether it be a person you meet, a cinnamon roll, or an apparent chocolate chip cookie. Look beyond what is on the outside and find out what is REALLY going on beneath the surface. You might find that the person you thought to be irritated or anti-social is merely going through a difficult period in their life, or they might just be shy. On the other hand, the bubbly person with a big smile may actually be dealing with some heavy issues they are trying to hide. You might also encounter a person, a situation, (or a cookie) that looks great on the surface, but leaves much to be desired after you start to delve more deeply. Take some time to investigate beyond your first impression.
- Sometimes you need to just bite the bullet (or cinnamon roll) and go for it. There are times where we need to take a leap of faith. After you have considered the costs and benefits, make that decision! Consult with friends, family, and professionals if you need to, but take that leap! You might be missing out on a wonderful (or delicious) opportunity.
- Sometimes you need to ask a professional. There are times when it is helpful to speak with your peers, your family, or your friends, but also times when you need to forego their opinions and ask a professional (or the baker).
You may wonder how any of these lessons have anything to do with family law. They actually have a lot to do with family law. First, when going through a difficult time in your life, whether it be a separation, divorce, or child custody matter, take a moment to reflect on your behavior and the behavior of the other party involved. Look beyond the surface. Do they really hate everything about you (well, they might, but that will be for another blog post)? Or are they merely figuring out how to deal with the emotional turmoil of a divorce or separation? Once the initial shock has worn off and you all reach your new normal, you may find that your former partner is more willing to co-parent or negotiate any necessary agreements. Again, reaction to a divorce or separation is different for everyone, so this might not necessarily fit your situation. The point of this being to look beyond the surface to try to understand what you are feeling and what your former partner or spouse is feeling.
Second, take that leap or bite the bullet with regard to your relationship. Do you think you can work things out? Contact a counselor and try couple’s therapy. Have you already tried couples counseling, or is your partner unwilling to even try? Maybe it is time to talk about other options. If you are both unhappy, it is time to address the situation, whether it be with a separation, couples counseling, or other options. It also doesn’t hurt to take the leap and talk to an attorney about any questions you may have.
Third, perhaps you just need to speak with a professional. Family, friends, and peers can provide you with opinions regarding your situation (and the law), but they are not able to direct you in the way that an attorney (or baker) can. Instead of wasting your time talking to people that MIGHT know the answers, talk to an attorney about your options!