Most people would describe divorce as an awful experience where almost every aspect of life (emotional, physical, financial, and so on) is affected by the event, and not in a good way. How can anyone find something positive to say about the break-up of a committed relationship coupled with a legal battle, financial complications, drastic changes to one’s home life, and the splitting up of one’s family? True, one can focus on all the ways divorce succeeded in destroying one’s life; however, that would deny a whole other side to divorce that many people ignore.
Divorce is terrible, but at the same time, it is one of the most powerful life transformations a person can go through. There are most definitely negative components to the experience; but, those negatives are teaching tools that can serve to polish and re-shape the ones who go through it.
A diamond, after all, is just a rock before an expert sees its potential and masterfully exposes its glorious shimmer. A seed is just an insignificant-looking speck whose magic is only released once planted in fertile earth and provided with water and sunlight. Amazing possibilities exist within these seemingly unimportant things; but, under the right conditions and care, they become beautiful, useful, valuable, and worthy of recognition.
The potential to shine, to find and fulfill a great purpose, and to have the wisdom of benefit to myself or anyone else was always within me. I may have sensed it from time-to-time in very small doses, but I never recognized what I was capable of, how strong I could be, or what my true value was until I nearly lost everything that I had and had to fight to regain my sanity, security, and place on this earth.
I had to endure great pain and loss and the upheaval of my world in order to discover and form my personal diamond. I would really question whether or not my complete sparkle would have ever been discovered without me first having endured the fire of my divorce. The rock was always there, but it needed adversity and challenge to make it grow, to give it interesting angles to enhance my inner light and to have the depth necessary to give it great merit.
Would it have had reason to develop or shine under other circumstances? We’ll never know. I, for one, will choose to look at my divorce as the kiln in which I grew stronger and complete in my development. Heat and pressure have the ability to destroy, but also to transform and strengthen.
These were key moments when I recognized the transformative power of my divorce and began to accept its abilities to give me power in my life:
I conquered my fears. Being alone. Not having anyone to fall back on for support. Not feeling confident in my abilities to handle problems that my ex would have taken care of in the past. I had to sink or swim. During this “do or die time” I had to face all of my fears head-on rather than let them conquer me. At first, I fought like a lioness because my children depended on me to take care of them. Given enough situations where I had to find a way, I eventually developed the courage to more proactively handle issues rather than waiting until there was no choice but to battle them.
Case in point: Before I moved out of our marital home, my car broke down. He would have normally called the mechanic and made arrangements for repairs. He, at minimum, would have at least given me a ride or helped me get to work, and other places. This particular time, he simply smirked at me and said: “well, you’re really in the fire now!” He watched me walk while he and the kids drove right past me on their way to the same event because he thought it was funny to make me suffer. Before work the next day, I called everyone I could think of and found a ride. His smugness was deflated because I took care of myself, but it also sent a message to both of us that I could do whatever I needed to!
I began to stand up for myself. I was definitely the underdog coming out of my marriage. He was physically intimidating to me and he was actively waging emotional warfare on me through my children and attempts to alienate me from everyone else I knew through lies and isolation. I cried. I trembled. I was angry. The only thing that made him cease and these attacks stop hurting me was to finally decide that his words and actions couldn’t be allowed to affect me. I simply had to stop caring about what he did, even if it meant walking away from things that once mattered to me. In essence, his actions could not be allowed to control me anymore.
Case in point: Right after our divorce, I had the kids on the week that my ex was to appear in a play. The kids wanted to see their dad’s performance, and a friend convinced me that I should go ahead and step right into the lion’s den by attending the performance! I was truly terrified because I knew that many in the audience, as well as other performers, were among the many people he had lied about me in an effort to alienate me from friends and supports. I did attend the performance with my friend and my kids. I was the example of dignity and peace. I held my head high and broadcast the message: “I have nothing to be ashamed of and I won’t be intimidated!”
I set goals and went after dreams. I couldn’t let a setback, like my divorce, stand in my way. I had to support myself and my kids, and I was presented with a blank slate on which I could write my future. This was the time to make sense of the madness and do something worthwhile. I wanted to set an example of strength and determination for my kids and not be defeated by a bad turn of events.
Case in point: In the midst of my divorce I continued on to finish my master’s degree, I began finding my voice as a divorce survivor, and decided to use my experience to help others. It would have been easy to feel defeated and to give up, but I knew I had to do it for me and my kids! One goal turns into another and another…once you start to dream, nothing can stop you, but you!
The light of a diamond shines within you. Can you feel it? This is your opportunity to let your power and everything that makes you sparkle free! You will find the strength to do what you could not previously believe was possible. You may yet bring inspiration to yourself and others, and you will prove to yourself that no setback, no matter how painful, can keep you from blossoming and growing! It won’t be easy, but nothing worth having is ours without great effort.