“Divorce isn’t such a tragedy. A tragedy [is] staying in an unhappy marriage, teaching your children the wrong things about love. Nobody ever died of divorce.” – Jennifer Weiner
I often describe my experience with divorce as liberating, empowering and inevitable. Yet, considering the change as necessary for the preservation of my mental and physical health, or important for my personal growth, did not make the experience of dissolving the marriage any easier. It still proved costly and took a mental, emotional and financial toll.
Divorce is often viewed as a personal failure that should be avoided at all costs. Dr. Drew Pinsky, of Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, did a recent interview to promote Divorce Corp, a film that he narrates. He stated that he hopes the film will encourage couples to avoid pursuing a divorce. While this is a lovely notion, for many of us divorce is the best option.
Despite the stigma attached to divorce in our society, it can positively change the trajectory of your life. Losing a spouse by terminating a dead-end marriage can ultimately help you to regain yourself. Divorce is a journey that has the ability to completely transform the person that you are into the person you were meant to become.
Here are 3 transformational effects of divorce:
1. It can increase your empathy for humanity.
Divorce can be the most painful experience of your life and it can pour salt onto the old wounds from past traumatic experiences. It has the potential to cause an extreme level of despair, yet it also has the ability to teach us important lessons about the human condition and our perceptions. When we experience great loss, we can relate to others who have also experienced loss. It often takes a personal setback of great magnitude to make us sensitive to the pain that others are experiencing around us. Divorce can increase your awareness of human suffering, foster humaneness and improve your overall treatment of yourself and others.
2. It can give you the skills to love at a capacity that you never would have known was possible.
Some admit that the end of their marriage was the worst thing they could have ever imagined happening to them. But, once the worst has happened, there is nothing left to fear. Our expectations of life start to shift, we start to grow and we begin to open ourselves up to experiences that we never would have considered before. Divorce changes the way that we perceive and relate to others and the way that others perceive and relate to us. As a consequence, it encourages us to want to pursue friendships and romantic relationships that have greater substance. Learning the extent of our own resilience and reconnecting with ourselves through the divorce process can aid in the restoration of self-esteem and lead to a more authentic way of honoring others and honoring ourselves in the context of a relationship.
3. It can lead to self-actualization.
By forcing you to dig deep for inner strength that you never knew existed, identify your hidden strengths and channel your resources for survival, divorce can lead to previously unexplored opportunities. Whether you are a stay-at-home mom forced to enter the workforce to make a living for yourself and your children, a woman re-entering the workforce, or a working professional needing to compensate for a sudden change in lifestyle, divorce can be the catalyst for major change. Divorce provides an opportunity to reset your life and start on the path of pursuing your personal interests. It can even promote spirituality, by prompting you to do some soul-searching in order to learn how to cope and define your greater purpose.