Letting go of the anger, fear of change, victimhood and how I think about myself and the events that have led me to where I am has allowed me to thrive and become my own pillar of strength.
During the process of getting to know myself after my divorce, it was important for me to find a way to not have this event scar me to the point that it would prevent me from forming new relationships; I wanted to find happiness again with someone else and more importantly, be at peace with myself.
Part of the healing process that allowed me to move forward, was to adopt a new mindset. For months, I was hurt, angry and lost. Every time I thought of the future, I became depressed and overwhelmed with anxiety. The weight of the hopelessness and helplessness I felt was crushing me. I didn’t know how to start over again, start meeting new people, deal with all of the financial obligations I had and follow my dreams while trying to get over a relationship with another person that was such a defining one in my life.
What about the children? I didn’t know how to cope with them living elsewhere half the time and how it would affect my relationship with them. These were some of the many issues I was petrified to deal with because I felt like they were out of my control to fix.
I knew in order for things to change, I had to think about myself and the situation I was in in a different way and to look at my future in a more positive and constructive way.
I didn’t want what had happened to me to stop me from living my life, after all.
For a long time after the affair he had, I felt humiliated, judging myself for what had happened and even feeling unworthy of finding love and happiness again. For some reason, I thought something must have been wrong with me; why else would he leave me? When I adopted a new mindset, I was able to shift this way of thinking, which in turn gave me the opportunity to learn more about myself and find out what things were important to me as I moved forward. This is when I stopped being the victim of my story and when I became the heroine instead.
When I eventually began to think about dating again, I knew it wasn’t because I *needed* a man in my life to be happy; it was because I *wanted* to find someone to share my life with. If I didn’t find anyone, I knew I would be just fine. I also knew what traits and characteristics I wanted to find in a man, how I wanted to be treated and to find someone who would accept me and my children and love us unconditionally. A tall order, but one I wasn’t going to compromise on.
I wasn’t in a hurry to start dating, I just wanted to get out of the house and meet new people, experience life and learn from the new connections I was making.
This is also when I started to take charge of the other areas of my life: parenting, finances, and career. Taking charge of my life never felt better. As scary as it was for me to move through this time in my life, I wouldn’t have it any other way now. I always thought of myself as an independent woman but more than ever, I felt the fire from within me burn even brighter.
None of these changes were easy to make. Changing your mindset doesn’t happen overnight and sometimes, the skepticism, doubt, and loneliness settled in for a while but I also gave myself permission to go with what I was feeling. If I needed some time to step back, I gave myself permission to do so.
The other important key to moving forward after such a traumatic time is not only to adopt a new mindset but to make a concrete plan of action.
Like any goals you set for yourself, it’s important to set goals that are realistic, attainable and to leave some room for setbacks. For example, the thought of not spending every waking hour with my children was devastating for me. Thinking about it would make my heart ache and I didn’t know how I would survive being away from my kids.
Eventually, I realized they needed to spend time with their father and it was actually important for them to have a good relationship with him. It didn’t take away from my relationship with them but I needed to switch my mindset of how I would spend my time when I was with the children and when I was on my own. Yes, I miss them when they’re with their dad; it’s awful saying goodbye and seeing them drive away. I also don’t want to spend that time at home crying and feeling sorry for myself. Instead, I make sure I take care of myself, find something I enjoy doing and follow through with it.
More than ever, I place all of my energy on being a mother who is more present, loving and attentive to my children. Letting go of the anger, fear of change, victimhood and how I think about myself and the events that have led me to where I am has allowed me to thrive and become my own pillar of strength.