Going through divorce is one of the most difficult challenges a woman can face at midlife and beyond — comparable in grief to the death of a loved one. But divorce has its own particularly haunting sting. Divorce often fosters additional feelings of hurt, loss of self esteem, fear, betrayal and resentment.
Though these feelings are normal – and an important part of the grieving process, if you hang on to them for too long, they’re guaranteed to stop you from finding your happiness, and put a plug in your ability to love life. You become defined by your divorce rather than the fresh start you long for.
If you really want to experience a new life after divorce, it’s vital that you finish the grieving process and move on. Easy? Hardly. Necessary? Absolutely.
Today, rearrange your mindset and start telling yourself, “I can do this. Yes, I can!”
Build your support system: Humans are not intended to go through life alone.
After divorce, it’s critical that you have loving friends to fall back on. If your support system is too small, enlarge it. Start with your closest friends. What clubs, sports, or associations are they in? Can you tag along? It’s easier to start when you walk in with a buddy. Check out book clubs at the library. Go back to your spiritual/religious roots – attend weekday activities when people tend to interact more, rather than expecting camaraderie at the formal service. For some, divorce recovery groups are helpful – check online for a group near you. The bottom line: it’s up to you to insure that you aren’t alone during the healing process.
Find your purpose: Make a new road map for your life.
When I work with clients who are starting over after divorce, I see women fragmented and questioning their self worth. If the “X” left them for another woman, the loss of self esteem can be devastating. One tip: write one page in a journal every morning. Scribble notes about a new goal or dream. Then, take one very small step towards your dream that very day. You’d like a new car? Go online for 10 minutes reading about it or be bold and visit a car dealership. No need to buy. Just look! Avoid the vicious cycle of work-eat-sleep-repeat by moving yourself forward with one small positive action every day, no exceptions. Write it in your morning journal, then do it! At night, jot a brief note about your experience. Keep it small and easy to do.
Enjoy your freedom to be by yourself: Reframe your newfound oneness.
You’re free to live the life you choose! Embrace it. Start enjoying yourself! Your own company can be lovely. Take yourself on dates. Take up dance. Find an intriguing destination and go solo – whether it’s 10 miles away or halfway around the globe. You don’t need permission, so whatever it is that you have always to do, step out solo and go do it.
Stay positive: Pity parties come early and often to divorcees.
To avoid them: remember that your brain believes everything you tell it. It’s all about shouting down the gremlins and taking control of your own thinking. When the sadness sets in, be ready to pull yourself out. Keep a running list of literal phrases to say to yourself (“I’m safe and I can do this!”, etc.). Know the music that lifts your spirits and put it on. Put the old pictures away. Know that there is an amazing new life beckoning you. Don’t miss out. Be prepared. Kick out the demons of doubt. You are a beautiful, zesty, talented, confident woman. Don’t let those nasty self-defeating thoughts hold you back.
Make yourself a pact: divorce will not hold you back! A new start, a new life awaits. Press the refresh button in your journey toward greatness. There’s a world out there waiting for you, but you have to get out of bed, first, and take that first step. You’re not getting older, you’re getting started!