By Martha Bodyfelt for Good Men Project
You don’t need some crazy D-Day type battle plan. All you need are some simple steps that you can start taking today.
Divorce has a way of throwing us for a loop. Everything we have known and how we have defined ourselves—things that have built up over years—even decades—gets thrown out the window in a matter of months.
But when you feel like this, don’t panic! Feeling lost during divorce is normal, but that doesn’t mean you must accept it. The following tips will get you back on track in no time.
You may feel lost because your GPS is no longer working.
GPS, compass, Google Maps—yeah—those are probably really corny analogies, but stay with me on this!
So many of us had our entire lives invested in our marriage and our families. It was the lens with which we viewed the world. Our concept of being a spouse and a partner was our GPS. Whatever decisions we made—whether they were career-oriented, financial, even personal—were seen within the “well, is it good for the marriage and is it good for the family?”
But when your marriage ends, that GPS and final destination are thrown out the window.
However, that does not mean that you are destined to live the rest of your life with no direction.
After divorce, you must know your new final destination.
Those feelings of “what am I supposed to do now?” and overwhelm come from one reason alone.
Feeling lost comes from not knowing what our vision is.
Think about it—we knew where we were going before the divorce stuff even happened. Our vision was to grow old together and be comfortable and happy.
But now that this vision has changed, it’s time for a new one.
Many of us feel lost because our sense of purpose has changed once we’ve been divorced we are so busy with dealing with the drama that we have not done the one thing we must do.
We must step back and “Hey! What is my vision? Where do I want to be?”
Identifying that vision becomes the new final destination. And unless we identify that vision for ourselves and then take the steps to get there, it is impossible to move forward and find our way again.
Finding what makes you happy is self-preservation. You can go on auto-pilot and go through daily motions, but it will be very hard to move on and reclaim the happiness you deserve unless you figure out that vision. You must do this for yourself.
Exercise: How to get rid of your roadblocks
So, the whole concept of finding a vision doesn’t have to be some funky hippie “run away and go join a monastery in the Himalayas” type of thing. Unless that is your vision. And that’s cool, too.
1. Ask yourself: What do I want?
If that seems overwhelming to you, take a look at some easy examples below!
I want to be happy in my home.
I want to feel confident again.
2. Then ask yourself: “What is stopping me from getting what I want?”
The things that are stopping us—the obstacles to our vision—are the daily BS things that we face and frustrate us.
What’s stopping me: I am staying in the home although he has left, but I don’t know how to shake the feeling that he is still “here.” There are still pictures of us together, some of his books are here, and I feel like everything just seems frozen in time.
What’s stopping me: I didn’t feel great when we were having marital troubles, but now that I’m alone, I feel like my self-esteem is completely gone. I feel like I don’t have any purpose and it’s awful. How do I rebuild?
3. Now, write down what you are going to do to start overcoming those obstacles.
You don’t need some crazy D-Day type battle plan. All you need are some simple steps that you can start taking today. If you need some help, take a look at the quick plans I created for myself when I felt stuck after my divorce.
Obstacles-Be-Gone Plan: I will make my home my own by removing everything that reminds me of the two of us together (photos, books, mementos, etc.) and putting them in storage. I do not have to decide to what to do with them now—I can figure that out later. If I am on a budget but want to make my home my own, I will rearrange the furniture, peruse some home goods stores for low-cost accent pieces, and display art/photos that make me happy and reflect my tastes that define me…not my marriage. When I have a little bit more money, I will look at buying new furniture and bedding that I love that that reflect me.
Obstacles-Be-Gone Plan: I am not feeling great about myself right now. There are several things I can do to change that. If I am not already seeing a therapist (or one that I really like), I will start searching (and asking for recommendations) to find someone who can work through this process with me. I am also doing to do things for myself for a change. I am going to list things that I like to do—hobbies, physical activities, and will put them on a calendar so I remain accountable and committed do doing the things that I love. It’s time to put myself first.
Taking this steps means you have two awesome things for yourself. First, you now have something that sticks—something you can use to help boot out those silly roadblocks that are up in your face. And second, you now know where you want to be—the vision of knowing what you want—your final destination. And when you know your final destination and the steps to get there, nothing can stop you.