Growing up with divorced parents and being close friends with the children of other divorced couples, I witnessed first-hand both the negative and positive effects divorce can have on people. I’ve seen people move on beautifully and blossom into better versions of themselves and also on the flip side, others lose themselves in the sadness of the situation. This is really a topic that I hold dear to my heart because of the way divorce affects families and truly holds the power to make or break anyone in its path. The good news is, there are steps that can help with the transition and make it a little easier to drift in a more enlightened and positive mindset.
Every week, no matter what topic we discuss, I find myself harping on the importance of mindset. It is truly magical what mastering your view on things and changing your perspective can do. So read this with an open mind and heart no matter what reasons your divorce was based on. Even if you are reading to help a friend or family member who is in a dilemma, put all prejudices aside. You CAN change your life or the life of someone who seems defeated.
Firstly, GRIEF is normal and necessary on the road to growth. Accept that the divorce has happened and cry as much as you need to. The reality is, a divorce can be compared to a loss of someone and it is painful, so grieve. You are allowed to miss someone even if they caused you pain and moving on was the best option for you and/or your children. Nobody enters marriage wanting to get divorced so take the time to vent and get all that initial sadness out of your system. Things will improve with time.
Talking is so crucial. Just like any other breakup, venting to your close friends is essential. I know some people prefer to hold things in, but just saying the reality of the situation out loud helps more than you can imagine. A support system of good people who will comfort you and not criticise you, is golden and will remind you of the benefits instead of the shortcomings.
Divorce tends to make even the most confident of people question their worth and they begin to blame themselves and think everything is their fault, harbouring the thought that they weren’t good enough. It really plays with your mind and having some company will allow you to stay grounded as you move forward.
Invest in therapy. It really hurts when therapy is looked at as a negative thing. You don’t have to be “crazy” to see a therapist and explore the idea of talking to a professional. It is a brilliant service and I think it’s refreshing to get an unbiased opinion about what is happening in your life. There may be things you are ashamed to discuss with family or friends and this is the opportunity to receive insight and advice on how to move on with your life in a healthy way.
Start old hobbies that may have stopped during your marriage. Take the time to remember what used to make you happy and revamp it today. It is time to remember what makes you...YOU. If you feel like eventually doing a mini makeover, then do it without the pressure of anyone else approving of it. This is a time of empowerment and regrowth. Do not down yourself into the depression of what was, instead, focus on the present and what an amazing future you can have.
After exploring some much needed self love (because let’s be real, you cannot pour from an empty cup), observe how your shift in attitude will make the situation easier for others, such as your children, to accept. They will eventually see a strong parent who made the best of things and that will impact their view of relationships and what is deemed acceptable. I admire people who take a dismal situation and still manage to make sunshine. They don’t get enough credit these days that’s for sure.
Lastly, don’t let this scar your ideas about the existence of love. Remember that love and happiness do exist and if you keep a good mindset, they may both be in the cards for you and your family. Keep an open mind on dating and meeting someone who will appreciate you and bring you some of the contentment and companionship that you deserve. Staying in an unhealthy marriage will not give you that and it is priceless when achieved. Don’t lose hope.
Things happen and life has a way of taking us through storms that we didn’t see coming - it is part of our grand plan. It is said, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. Move on with the faith that hurtful things need to end for better things to begin. This new chapter of your life may turn out to be the start of something beautiful.