john mcelhenney, life coach, relationship coach, divorce coach

Who Am I To Be Telling Anyone About Healthy Relationships?

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“I am discovering my happiness day by day.”

Sometimes I surprise myself with my “discovery” while writing a post. It’s like I’m on a journey to understand the relationship between myself and one other person, and of course, the answer is “I don’t *know* anything.” I am learning. I am putting it out there. I am reporting on my progress. This is what I do.

Why Put It Out There?

“Yes, but…” she said, “What makes you the expert on relationships?”

It was an interesting question. It was also the beginning of the first rift between me and my recent girlfriend. If she doesn’t understand or support my writing, what am I supposed to do? Quit writing? Or, just quit sharing it with her? Or quit her?

It turns out, she was right. I don’t have a degree in psychology. I am not a licensed therapist, only a certified life coach. I don’t have the credentials of Brené Brown, for example. But, I’m not trying to be an expert. I am just going along, telling my story, trying to be honest and real about my wins and losses. I’m no guru, but I am striving towards understanding things like sexual dynamics between men and women, how Brené Brown’s BRAVING works in practice. And a whole bunch of other stuff I’ve read or written over the last eight years of writing The Whole Parent.

I put it out there because I get a lot of feedback from my readers. I am working on myself and sharing my journey. I’m more of an Elisabeth Gilbert than a Brené Brown. I’m telling my story, asking my questions, and moving along with my life as a story that I’m sharing with you. Why? I don’t know, exactly. But it’s what I do.

Learning As We Go

It turns out, this conversation was a pivotal moment in my partnership. I was hearing that she didn’t like my writing, didn’t like me for putting myself out there as a coach or expert or whatever. What was happening was something completely different. She owned up a week later that is had nothing to do with my writing or my life coaching. “It’s my issue, and I’ll deal with it.”

Buy owning the conflict, and then resolving it outside of our relationship (or at least committing to resolving it on her own) she was telling me, you are okay and I am not attacking your craft or process. Later, as our relationship continued and matured I read most of what I wrote to her.

Here’s what I’m doing on this blog and in my creative life, at this point. This writing has become a process of life for me. I resolve my own issues, I counsel myself here, I share things I probably wouldn’t tell a first date. And if you’re here, you have your own reasons for reading. What I hope is that we are learning together. I am certainly learning. I am certainly articulating my ambitions and sharing the resolutions, even when they are not flattering or happy.

I Am Recovering My Happiness

I was blasted out of my marriage for a number of reasons. What took place over the next few years was unexpected and magical. I began writing in anger about the unjustified anger and malfeasance of my ex-wife. I started an anonymous blog where I let it rip. I was no expert there for sure, I was a wounded man, a lost father, and a depressed human being.

In the process of writing, day after day, I began to get my energy back. I began to process my anger, fear, and resentment online, in my own writing. But here’s the magic trick, I was writing, and writing a lot. I am still writing. 700+ posts on that other blog, and 775 posts on this one, including this rant. And the writing has healed me. Your audience and comments have supported me. My confessions have reduced my suffering. I know I’m living out loud here in the public eye, but I’m also processing my life here behind the scenes in powerful and creative ways.

I am recovering my happiness day by day.

Today, I write more about mindfulness and relationship-building than a do about divorce or depression. This is an evolution. I am writing about what’s going on in my life. For the most part, my ex-wife has vanished into obscurity. She’s got a new last name, helping her disconnect from the chronicle of our divorce. Good for her. I hope she’s happy. And today, very little of my energy and time are spent managing my moods. I am mostly happy. My process, this writing,  has healed a lot of my trauma around losing 70% of my time with my children.

Moving On From Here

If I start today, I can continue to gain momentum in the mindful and healthy love aspects of my life. That’s my goal. More mindful of each moment. More loving in each interaction. Even interactions with my ex-wife (as infrequent as they may be) can be more indifferent. I have cultivated what I call an “easy indifference” with regard to the divorce and everything about it.

I no longer have to work at indifference. I no longer have to weaponize my indifference. I simply let go and pay little or no attention to the things that are out of my control. What I have control over, I manage with greater joy and energy. I am here to create and be happy. That’s what I’m doing. Now. Right here. Typing and celebrating this wonderful life.

Thank you for being a friend, a reader, a partner, on this journey towards wholeness and love again. I would love to have your comments, but I know most of you will be first-time visitors, and that’s also okay. We’re passing ships. I’m here if you need me.

I am on this spiritual journey to reestablish love and health in my life. You are invited to join me on the adventure.


John McElhenney – life coach austin texas
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