17 Nov Finding Yourself Again After Divorce
After spending years with someone you consider your other half, divorce can feel like a large part of what defines you is being ripped out beneath your feet. You may have identified yourself as “his” or “her” spouse for years, and that’s no longer true. It could feel like the ground is no longer there, that every part of your life has been toppled over. The process of divorce can be turbulent, in and of itself. Yes, they say time heals all wounds. But why wait around, believing your heart will eventually heal, that you’ll eventually feel better, when there’s a lot you can do to restart your life after a divorce? Just because you don’t feel yourself after a divorce doesn’t mean you’ve entirely lost who you are. Here are some tips on mindfully finding yourself once again.
Firstly, here is some great advice by Dr. Jill Murray and Adam Dodge, both co-authors of The Empowered Women’s Guide To Divorce. They advise against filling your thoughts with “shoulds”: “I should be feeling better by now, I should be happy that the stress is gone, I should feel grateful that I get the opportunity to start my life over, etc.” No matter what anyone tells you, everyone experiences divorce differently. Thinking about how you should feel at this point in your healing process doesn’t help. Your experience and grief is your own, and your healing process is unique from anyone else’s. Placing any sort of pressure on your healing process won’t help. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t take steps that may help you find your self and your independence again.
Beginning With Mindfulness And Reflection
Nicole Karslake, a certified professional coach and founder of Conscious Chaos Consulting talks about the first step to a self-care program after divorce: “The first steps of a self-care program after divorce may not have sustaining results if it is done in radical spurts. The idea is to cleanse and not rip the fabric. Steady, habitual acts that can be incorporated in to your daily schedule are key in the beginning.” We really like her analogy of how important it is to not “rip the fabric.” Any routine you were grounded in has been ripped apart since you’ve begun the divorce process – likely before too as your marriage fell apart. Filling up your days with daily, positive activities could really help put you in a better mindset in order to heal.
Reflect back on the days when you felt most rewarded, fulfilled and strong as an independent person. What activities filled your days? What made you feel accomplished at the end of every day? What made you feel most harmonious? What made you feel alive? Whether you were the spontaneous type, or the organized and strict type of person at this time in your life, it’s a good idea to revisit these days. If you spent a lot of time at the gym, riding your bike every morning, having a set time to see friends and family, incorporate these into your routine. If impromptu camping trips made you feel more alive, more in tune with yourself, start up this tradition again. If these activities made you feel fulfilled before, they’re more than likely to do so again.
Find A New Group Of Friends – A Group That Can Understand
It may be difficult for you to start seeing friends that are in their own relationships, remind you of your ex-spouse, or simply don’t understand the grief you’re going through. But that doesn’t mean you should curl up alone and call it quits on making new friends. After divorce, it’s a good idea to be around other individuals who can understand what you’re going through or perhaps even resonate themselves.
By simply googling “Divorce Support Groups” in your community, there’s a good chance that you’ll find a support group that you can talk to. You can also search on Meetup.com and look for group events in your area with divorce-related keywords. There are so many people on Meetup.com you’re sure to find a great group of individuals who are experiencing similar circumstances. Meetup.com is also a great outlet for you to find new hobbies as well!
Rediscover Your Strengths
Divorce can do a lot of harm to one’s self-esteem. You may feel like you’ve been pushed to the ground, unsure of what you can bring to the table in life simply because someone you were once so important to no longer wants you as their spouse. But you need to be self-aware and remember that you have your own unique, core strengths. Bring those strengths to the table in this new chapter in your life. These strengths will help you confront the demands of your new daily life and perhaps even draw in a potential new romantic relationship.