If you’re going through a divorce, prepared to get stuck for a bit in Opposite Day. Not the 1993 Bill Murray hit Groundhog Day. Opposite Day.
On Opposite Day what’s up is now down, happy is sad, wet is dry, and basically nothing is logical.
You won’t be able to make much sense of your emotions, always make the wisest decisions, or be able to comprehend why half of the things going on are allowed to occur. It’s madness!
Fortunately, the hands of time finally get the jolt they need to allow time to advance on its natural course, leaving Opposite Day as a strange part of the past that you’ll be glad to farewell to.
Although you may not be fully in control of the events surrounding your own personal Opposite Day, it’s important to make (and keep) promises to yourself to see you through to the end of the divorce finish line. You may have your own to add or replace from those on this list, but here’s a few important promises to get you started:
Don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s Opposite Day, right? So, the small stuff feels like the big stuff, and the big stuff may not be recognized for what it is. The pearl of wisdom here is not to let it grab a hold of you, control you, and make you go insane! You will have plenty of big things to address during divorce, so you may just have to let the smaller things slide, or at least not affect you as much!
Stay true to yourself. Just because the world feels like it’s upside down doesn’t mean that you have to abandon your values and sense of self. Ever heard the saying “don’t do anything I wouldn’t do?” Well, what I would do and what you might do are two different things. Just don’t do anything you’ll regret later.
Keep your eyes on the prize. Divorce is a tunnel along the way to your future. In other words, it’s dark and closed in, but it’s temporary. If preserving your sanity and relationship with your children are most important to you, for instance, then make those your priority. So much else may feel like it’s spinning around out of control around you, but you can keep your eyes fixed on one or two most important things, can’t you?
Think long term. Again, divorce isn’t your destination, it’s just the ugly part of the voyage on the way to where you’re headed. So, where is it that you’re headed, anyways? Even if you don’t have specifics nailed down, it’s important to have some goals- even dreams- to shoot for and begin to mentally invest in making them happen. Otherwise, you’ll just get stuck in the ugly part of your voyage.
Make something positive out of the mayhem. If you have to lose and suffer, then you should be able to get some sort of parting gift, right? The best gift you could ever receive is a whole and healthy YOU! So, promise yourself to make something beautiful out of this ugliness. If nothing else, dedicate some time to getting to know who you are now, assess the mistakes you have made and how you can grow, and make peace with what has happened.
Become a role model. No pressure here. No one’s asking you to inspire a generation of others; but, if you have kids, you already have a built-in audience. Show them the way to overcome challenges and succeed against diversity. Be a champion for standing up for your rights, achieving your dreams, and making things happen. If nothing else, you may score at being your own best role model!
Fall in love. The first person you need to flirt with, woo, and fall in love with is looking right back at you in the mirror. Build yourself up from the floor up. Take care of yourself, pamper yourself, and make yourself more of a priority, especially if you have been sitting in the backseat of love and attention for a while. Then, and only then open yourself up to the possibility of loving another. This is not about being selfish so much as it is survival and preparing yourself for someone worthy of you!
Don’t lean on vices to get you through. Divorce and the end of a long and serious relationship hurts! No wonder so many turn to drugs, alcohol, emotional eating, retail therapy, and other feel good behaviors to drive the ugly feelings away. Always ask yourself “who’s in control here?” Are you spending on frivolity but not paying the bills? Binging on ice cream rather than facing our problems, or looking for your solutions in the bottom of a bottle? If so, the bad news is that your problems aren’t going anywhere or getting any better, instead they are waiting (perhaps growing) while you drown I denial!
Don’t let a bad day become your permanent state of mind. Of course, divorce lasts longer than a day; however, in the course of a lifetime, this time is a mere blink of an eye. Unfortunately, some tend to allow the emotion and pure ugliness of divorce to taint their personality and perspective from that point on. As I always say: “be better, not bitter!”
What will you vow to yourself as you embark upon this new phase of your life? What will you do to keep your attitude in check and to take care of yourself to ensure that you land safely on the other side?