There are few challenges in life more difficult than divorce. The stress of ending a marriage and separating a family seeps into every aspect of life. Your work, friendships and health are likely to suffer as you deal with lawyers, the separation of assets, and helping your children deal with it all. The antagonistic nature of divorce itself doesn't help either. Dealing with the sometimes overwhelming emotions makes it difficult, if not nearly impossible, to see a silver lining in all of it -- but there is one.
Divorce is certainly an end, but it doesn't have to be the end of everything. With the right outlook and, granted, some time, you will view it as a rare opportunity to start over. You see, divorce isn't about your ex and the not-so-wonderful things that may have happened in your relationship. Divorce is really about you. Once you realize that and you start to focus on you and your new life, you'll start to see things change for the better and you may just be on the road to creating a better life than you ever imagined possible.
Now, there is some work involved here. Nothing great comes without effort, but it might be easier than you think. Try these steps to get you moving in the right direction:
- Allow yourself time to grieve. It's difficult to move on if you haven't had enough time to deal with everything that you've lost. Dig deep and get in touch with emotions that you might often keep hidden. Keep a journal to chronicle your feelings.
- Accept where you are today. Your life has changed dramatically. Accepting that will help quell anger and resentment. Don't keep wishing things were different and you were still married. Accepting wherever you are right now will help you focus on what you have instead of what you've lost.
- Create a new vision for your life. Make a list of all the fun and fabulous things you want to accomplish. What are your career goals, family goals, personal passions? Get in touch with yourself, your desires and what makes you truly happy.
When you're able to grieve, accept your new situation and begin to think about the things in life that make you happy, your energy will start to shift away from your divorce and your ex and toward you and your new life. This is where your starting over begins.
You've heard the saying "what you focus on expands," right? So start expanding your new life! Take that cooking class you've always wanted or go back to school to get your degree and land your dream job, or start going to those exercise classes you've been promising yourself you'd start taking. Whatever it is, make it about you and improving your life, making yourself happier and more satisfied.
It's important that before you start to focus on you, you take the time to grieve, accept your new circumstances and make a plan. Don't skip those steps! They aren't easy, but you have to work through those emotions before you can move on to a better place. That may take months or even years, but you're likely to feel relieved and content once you've done that. Then you can focus on you with an honest heart that isn't harboring resentment for your ex or wishing your life was something other than what it is.
Don't let divorce hold you back from living the life you want and deserve. Life is full of challenges and if we're smart, we'll look at them not as mountains we have to work tirelessly to climb over but more as rivers that we have to navigate and find the right channel to reach our desired destination. Chip away at your mountains and have a good plan to navigate the river and you will reach a great destination, even after divorce.