Do you know who you are and what you want from life? Do you know what makes you happy?
These may seem like such ridiculous questions to some – of course I know who I am and what makes me happy!
Well I had no clue AT ALL, when my marriage ended. I had been a wife for so long that I felt lost and erased as a person.
I knew I wanted to be happy but I wasn’t sure how I would get there or what that even meant for me. I wasn’t sure if I could feel happy again.
And so began this journey of figuring out what happy means for I have to tell you that this opportunity of self discovery has been one of the biggest gifts of my life. When we get told that things happen ‘for the good’ and ‘for a reason’ – this has been my good and a massive part of my reason. I know for sure, that I may never have been given this chance for real growth without the end of my marriage. At the same time I admit, that it has been incredibly scary and hard and I am still defining ‘happy’ all the time.
1. I had to become comfortable in my own company. This involved learning to like and even love who I am and becoming ok on my own!!!!!!! We can so easily avoid dealing with what ever is going on within by always being with others – or by quickly getting into a new relationship. There is immeasurable value in taking time to heal and be by yourself. It’s OK to be alone!
For me It’s also been a process of learning about who I am and deciding who I want to be now that I am single again. For example, I cooked my whole marriage but actually I don’t enjoy it. I’ve leaned that there are no awards for creating a fancy meal or baking my own bread.
It’s a conscious decision to embrace your own company and a massive part of this is deciding that you are good enough AND you are!!!!!!
2. I had to recognize what makes me feel better and ok and joyful?? What is it for YOU? Is it music? Is it going out for a salad with a friend? Is it reading with a cup of tea in a pretty mug? Is it having your nails painted? Is it going to visit someone else who needs encouragement? Figure this out and DO it! Lose the guilt of doing something that makes you feel good!! Life is damn short and you are not going to let your divorce rob you of pleasure!!! No way!!! In fact – let this be the start of HAPPY for YOU!
- Exercise! This is NOT optional!!! Walk or Dance or Jog or Swim or Box or Yoga or Gym – this is for your mind and your body and there is no better ‘drug’ or feel good tool! Start! I try to walk at least four times a week and do Pilates once. This is precious me time. I use this time to relieve stress, breathe and to stay physically strong. I do not always feel like it, but the reward is great enough to motivate me.
3. Instead of always feeling sorry for myself, I choose to notice the good stuff in my life and to focus on being grateful. This is not about minimalising the shit you have been through or are going through but it’s about a life altering change of mindset. I appreciate that I can have a hot bath and have a cosy bed to get into and food in my fridge. I appreciate that I have family and friends and my health.
The end of my marriage taught me that life can change in a flash and I will NOT take my blessings for granted. There are others worse off … Full stop.
4. On the days where it’s all too much, it’s ok! Have your big cry. I do. Swear. Oh boy, I do. Eat your chocolate cake if you need to (not the whole one like I have done ) and then … carry on. Recognise that it was a bad day and that there will be more. Yes – life is an endless cycle of good and bad, amazing and horrible. Allow yourself to feel overwhelmed – it’s ok! Reach out to anyone that is part of your support system and have a pep talk, a hug or an hour of company. AND then remind yourself that bad days happen but that they pass and better times will come again. They always do.
5.Be kind to yourself. I say this a lot and it’s to remind myself and others to treat yourself as you would your best friend. Acknowledge how far you have come and how special you are. You have survived up to this point! That’s huge. Part of this self love is doing all the good stuff that you need to be ok. This means eating for energy and vitality and going for help to a psychologist or psychiatrist if you need professional support. Taking time out to have a nap on the weekend or to splurge on a massage is part of self love and also family love because if you do not restore your energy, you are not going to be a good mom or friend or self.
This moment is the first moment of the rest of your life. My wish for those who are in the storm of divorce or at the end of it, is that you should find peace and acceptance. Decide to believe in yourself – you have so much to gain by trusting this part of your story and deciding that you deserve joy and have the power to create it.