I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve heard the words, “I never thought that it would happen to me.” Regardless of the circumstances of your divorce, the truth is the reality can shatter the way you view the world and shake you right down to your core. As children, many of us grew up with the notion of living happily ever after whether your prince came riding in on a horse or on a motorcycle sporting tattoos. That’s why, when divorce strikes and we experience the unexpected, we can also experience a great amount of anxiety and fear.
Leaving what’s familiar and comfortable for a future that’s unknown is hard. Worse yet, the more comfortable we may have been in our situation, the more difficult it is to adjust to something new. Change in life is inevitable, but that doesn’t mean it’s always welcomed. It can sometimes fill us with a sense of grief. Divorce is no different, even if it’s something we wanted and even believe is for the best. Leaving what we’ve known, whether good or bad, can bring an overwhelming sense of anxiety.
What can we do to help ourselves heal?
How to Heal From Divorce
Acceptance is key.
Although it’s perfectly natural to want to dig our heels in to prevent change, stopping change from happening is as impossible as preventing the change of seasons. Taking the time to fully understand your feelings is an essential part of acceptance too, along with all of the feelings, good and bad, that change can bring.
While it may be hard to find things to be grateful for as you’re navigating through your divorce, finding even the simplest things to be grateful for can go a long way in rewiring and healing your body, mind, and heart. It may take some effort, especially in the beginning, but stick with it and you may be surprised at how that new emerging perspective leads you to see your divorce in a whole new way.
Sometimes, reflection and redefinition are called for.
When you’ve spent time and energy in a relationship, it’s natural to experience emptiness, disconnection and feel confused about who you are now that your relationship has changed. Your identity may have been so strongly associated with your partner or your role that it takes time to redefine who you’re ready to be now. This can also be a great time to decide who you’re ready to become which may be a version of you that’s been eagerly awaiting to be birthed. While it may be a time to mourn the person we used to be, but it can also be exciting to imagine who we’re becoming.
Again, be kind and patient with yourself. Try to understand that it is okay not to have it all together. This is a time of transition. Seasons don’t change overnight. Treat yourself the way you would treat your best friend if she were going through what you are. What would you say to her? Take the time to examine how you’ve changed throughout your life. Ask yourself what you were like in previous stages? How did you feel during each transition? What was life like after the transition?
It’s important to get reacquainted with yourself and be your best advocate as you slowly become someone new. Also, welcome the new questions that may come up around what’s next for you, what traits would you like to leave behind and what are you ready to embrace? This is new territory, transition and transformation take time.
I recently completed a Ph.D. study on how women experience betrayal– what holds them back and what helps them to heal. 82% of the participants who participated in that study said that they wanted to move forward, but they didn’t know how. When you’re in the middle of a major life change, no matter what the change, it’s hard to imagine ever becoming your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual best. But it can happen. It just takes a commitment and a willingness to move forward. When you do, you’ll see the strongest and most unshakable version of you emerge yet!