The Alchemist is a feel-good story by Paulo Coelho about a young man who sets out to pursue his dreams. The core message is the importance of fulfilling ones destiny. Although it is about a young man’s travel to Egypt, the book contains wisdom that can apply to anyone’s journey through life.
Included are particular jewels regarding the pursuit of happiness and approaching relationships in a way that is authentic to who you are. Here are 5 important lessons from ‘The Alchemist’ to assist you on your journey to rebuilding after a divorce:
1. “Learn to recognize omens and follow them.”
Once the shock of a divorce wears off, you will begin to recognize the early signs indicating that your marriage was destined to fail. Whether he talked down to his mother in your presence, drank too much, or spent little time with his children, there were aspects of his personality that never sat well with you. You put up with his misbehavior, but there were many days when you did not know whether you could tolerate much more.
And many times when you wondered if love was enough. If hindsight is 20/20, then foresight should be just as acute. The next time you enter into a relationship, pay close attention to the signs that suggest that your values are not aligned regarding important matters. Set limits on the behaviors you are willing to accept and not willing to accept. Then be prepared to walk away, rather than to settle for another relationship that will make you unhappy in the long run.
2. “Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.”
One of the most disappointing experiences of a divorce is finding out who your true friends are and learning who will support you through the process. Sometimes even your blood relatives will let you down in ways you could have never imagined. What you will not experience is a shortage of others opinions – negative and positive. Their point-of-view may be surprising, entertaining, hurtful, or maddening. They may not understand your choices, or they may be envious that you are initiating changes they are too afraid to make.
Divorce is a major life transition that will require a level of fortitude that you may have never needed before. It will require energy that is better utilized identifying resources and making smart choices about your future. In short, it is an optimal time to compartmentalize and realize that only you can decide what is best for your life. Everyone in your life now may not be fit to make the next leg of the journey with you. And that is okay. Make the choice to eliminate those who cannot fully support you now to protect your happiness in the future.
3. “The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.”
Divorce is an embarrassing public failure that can be difficult to accept. Add children to the equation and it is a failure that you have to confront each and every time you attempt to make co-parenting decisions with your ex. The brilliant thing about life is that we are capable of bouncing back from our greatest setbacks. Life is never going to be perfect because it was not designed to be that way. There are far too many factors outside of our control to allow for an error-free existence. But without a positive perspective, we keep ourselves from moving past our mistakes. They say divorce is like a death. It is the loss of a dream, the end of an era, a significant chapter of your life that ended in a way you did not anticipate.
However, you can choose to reframe your experience and view divorce as a period of renewal. The truth is, you are a divorcéeand it is up to you to define what that means. Will you be the woman who never recovered and remained emotionally stunted because of the cards life has dealt you? Or, will you be the woman who accepted her circumstance, grieved her loss and then triumphantly moved on and built an accomplished life for herself?
4. “Love never keeps a man from pursuing his personal legend.”
Women are often just as ambitious as their husbands. We have dreams about what our lives will look like and what we want to accomplish in the future. Yet, when it comes to pursuing our dreams (our personal legend), our desires come second to the needs of our family. In contrast, men often make personal and career decisions without evaluating the sacrifices their family must make. Why? Because they know they can count on their wife to pick up the slack and help make their dreams come true. You deserve to be just as fulfilled and happy in life.
What you have always wanted to accomplish?
Divorce can give you an added level of freedom, but it can also complicate matters. Stop shooting down ideas because you cannot fathom how to make them happen. Learn to anticipate roadblocks and figure out logical ways around them. Most importantly, take a page out of the rulebook of men and start pursuing your goals without guilt and the need to justify your choices to everyone. The greatest gift of divorce is another opportunity to create the life you want. The next time you fall in love, you will be the whole package: The impassioned, capable and evolved version of you.
5. “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
We all see the media stories about the (insert any age) year-old great-grandma that just completed medical school and we find her story remarkable. Yet, we consider our own less-challenging goals unattainable. It is never too late to pursue your personal legend. And the only thing that separates you from someone who has succeeded is that they believed they could do it enough to keep trying. That’s it. That is the secret. For every woman that says they can’t, there is a woman who will. Nothing happens until you take action.
But once you do, you will amazed at how many opportunities present themselves. That life-altering trip you want to take cannot happen before the first dollar is saved toward it, or enough thought is put into making your vacation plans. You will not land that dream position before brushing up your job skills and beginning the work of marketing yourself for it. You do not even need to have a specific goal in mind to start with. Just resolve to love yourself enough to put your needs first, then step back a few months later and observe how much your life has changed for the better.