Through my divorce and the recovery thereafter, I sought assistance from many therapists, life coaches, self-help books and personal development workshops. Through my own process, I compiled a list of the most helpful advice I have received
1.What is, is.
Whether you like it or not, the reality of your divorce exists. You need to remind yourself of this almost daily, especially in the case of an unwanted divorce. Once the decision to divorce has been made, there is no useful purpose of wondering “what if?” or hoping that your ex may perhaps change his mind. The sooner you reach the stage of acceptance, the sooner you can move on to creating a great life for yourself.
2.Just because you were not “good enough” for your ex, does not mean you are not good enough.
A divorce or a bad marriage can totally shatter your self-esteem. You need to remind yourself, hourly if necessary, that you are good enough, that you are great and that you are wonderful. When a spouse rejects you, it can damage your self-esteem irreparably, if you allow it to. Even if it is initially on a cognitive level, you need to remind yourself, ad nauseum, that you are good enough. Whether you choose to believe it or not, if said often enough, affirmations work. Write out “I am wonderful, I am lovable, I am great, I am worthy of a good life” on Post-it notes and stick them on your bathroom mirror, on your bedside table. Repeat often.
3.Happiness is a choice.
There are many things in life which “happen to us”. There are many things that we cannot control. Despite this, even in the most dire of situations, we have the ability to choose happiness. Of course, this advice is easier to give once on “the other side”, but it really is true. Even in the darkest times, try to force yourself to find something to celebrate. I found it useful to make a daily list of ten things I was grateful for each day. On day one, I battled to complete the list beyond “food in my stomach” and “shoes on my feet”. Gradually, I managed to find more each day that I could acknowledge I was grateful for. I also tried to do at least one thing each day that made me happy……soak in the bath for five minutes, take a walk, eat a chocolate, listen to upbeat music, reading a chapter of a book.
4. A partner does not make you whole.
Despite the romantic notion of two souls completing each other, you do not need someone to complete you. Certainly, teaming up with the right partner can make you a great team, but this does not mean that you are now “half” without a significant other. So often, women define themselves by their roles as wife and/or mother – this can be dangerous, especially when we are no longer a wife, or when children move out of home. Allow your divorce be an igniter towards finding yourself again. Being a single parent does not always allow for a huge amount of “me time”, but you need to try and find time and space to rediscover yourself.
5. This too shall pass.
In biblical times, King Solomon stated “this too shall pass”. These wise words helped me through many a dark time. I even wore a ring with these words inscribed, so I could always be reminded. When times are tough, it passes. I found great comfort in the fact that nothing is permanent. I knew that eventually the grief and sadness would pass.
Hopefully these bits of advice can help you through the dark times. Know that there are so many women experiencing what you are at this very moment. You are not alone. Keep reminding yourself that you are great and that you deserve happiness and a life full of blessings.
Hang in there!
The sun WILL shine again.