Divorce Recovery: What's (Self) Love Got To Do With it?
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By Michela Montgomery, Featured Columnist - September 07, 2016

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If you don’t stop and quiet the chaos of divorce that surrounds (and sometimes envelops) your life with self-love it’s possible that you may lose sight of the most important person in your life; yourself.

 

A few years ago, I decided to take a yoga class on the urging (okay badgering) of a friend. It was in town and not far from my house, so after arguing with her for close to half an hour, I pulled on some stretchy pants and headed to yoga. It’s notable to tell you that – at that point – I wasn’t in any condition to do yoga. I’m not talking just about physical shape; I was in terrible emotional shape. My divorce had taken a toll on me and my innermost thoughts were not kind. Like…ever.

After the stretching and posing for an hour, we lay on our mats, eyes closed. On the wooden floor in Savasana, the yogi asked us to do the one thing that I was unable to do on a daily basis. She asked us to love ourselves. In our minds, to literally speak the phrase, “I love you,” to ourselves…and mean it. I lay quietly for several moments and struggled to think the phrase.

What does it say about us as women that we are unable to love ourselves and yet verbalize our love for our children, friends, and family?

Why Don't We Treat Ourselves Better?

But over the next few weeks, I began to think more and more about the deeper meaning of what she had asked us to do. I wouldn’t have treated a friend the way I was treating myself lately. So why won’t we treat ourselves better than we would a friend? Why is it easier to listen to those negative voices than the kind ones, or take care of ourselves as opposed to neglect?

In the coming months, I made efforts to practice self-love. Sometimes it was as simple as sitting quietly after my children had gone to sleep and brushing my hair for a long time. Other times I made myself a cup of hot tea and put my feet up for five minutes – because I really needed a break. I steered myself away from thoughts of my divorce and began to focus on what was important; rebuilding the self-esteem that laid in ruins around me. I noticed that the more kindness I showed to myself, the easier it was to be calm and kind to others.

Loving Yourself Brings About Positive Change

Now, I’m not saying you will stop hating your ex or suddenly begin to forgive the shameless hussy he took up with that ruined your marriage…no. I’m saying that loving yourself will bring about positive changes in your life and change YOU…for the better.  Channeling that positive energy can be empowering and energizing!  And no, I'm also not talking about using that energy to find a baseball bat heavy enough to shatter his windshield in one swing.  Although entertaining, it won't make you happier...okay it won't make you happier long-term.  

Begin to seek ways of living that make you happy - for no other purpose than to make yourself happy.  Stop at that antique store if you have a half hour to spare.  Use your lunch hour to sit quietly under a tree instead of running errands.  Play a game with your children instead of responding to e-mails or (worse!) reading the new papers your ex served on you.  Make choices on a daily basis that have your mental and emotional well-being at the heart.  

It may take you years (as it has me), or it may only take a few months for you to regain a balance. The important thing is that you make a conscious effort to rebuild whatever is inside of you that is broken. Divorce is a wrecking ball; it destroys everything around you and the carnage is unspeakable. If you don’t stop and quiet the chaos that surrounds (and sometimes envelops) your life, it’s possible that you may lose sight of the most important person in your life; yourself.

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