DIVORCE. What a huge beast of a topic. I have never really discussed divorce here; just casual mentions of it being something I’ve gone through. I have thought about sharing my experience for 5 years, but it just seemed like too huge of a topic, too personal, and honestly, very scary to put out there.
This post is not about my marriage or anyone but myself. I want that to be clear. This is how I felt and what helped me.
During my divorce process, I had reached a point in my life that I felt like I was just trying to survive each day. It was the single most isolating experience I have ever gone through in my life. I was dissatisfied with life and with myself, and I wanted to change that, but I didn’t know how. I found lots of blogs and forums discussing these lofty ideas on how to discover your sense of identity and purpose, but none of them provided any practical solutions or steps.
This post will hopefully fill that void.
I went to therapy for over a year during this time, and I am so grateful for that experience. I highly recommend going to therapy if you are able to – I looked forward to these appointments every week more than anything else. That would be my very first tip.
Second is to write everything down. This is so key because you will forget how you felt during different times throughout the process, and when you write everything down, you will begin to see some patterns which will hopefully help you make decisions, change your perspective, and will help gain self-worth and confidence….and ultimately and let go.
Here is what REALLY helped me. I know that I would have been able to become as strong as I am now if I hadn’t written the following down.
WHAT TO WRITE DOWN
1. Your circumstances:
When I was going through divorce, I felt shame and didn’t want to see people that I knew. I felt a loss of stability and normal-ness (DUH)…it’s shocking to go through if you’ve never experienced it. When you spend years with someone, the relationship becomes a part of your identity. Good or bad, that is the reality. And then it’s gone.
Take an assessment of where you are at this moment. Write down every single detail of where you are mentally, physically, financially, all of it. All of the facts – good bad, and the ugly. After you’ve written it all down, review everything that you wrote. Consciously accept everything that you wrote. You can say out loud, “These are my circumstances. While they’re not what I expected, I will accept them, face them, and I will be okay”. This felt really silly to me at first, but it became my mantra. I had to be okay, there was no other choice.
2. The root cause of your feelings and actions:
This part requires some very brutal honesty with yourself. It doesn’t matter who did what – what is important is to identify and work with your feelings and actions.
Some prompts could include: “What bothers me about my divorce and why?” “What keeps me up at night?” “What is keeping me from moving forward?” If you write the answers down, I promise that you will have better insight into YOURSELF.
After you’ve written all of this down, narrow your feelings down to one or two needs. Everything you’ve written down probably leads to one or two needs. Personally, I really needed approval. I had feelings of embarrassment and shame and I did not want to be viewed negatively in any way. I think that most everyone goes through these particular feelings during divorce, but for me approval was front and center within my list. I learned that my value wasn’t based on anyone’s opinions or assessments. This was a huge realization that I want everyone going through this to discover.
3. What you’ve learned:
Write down everything that your learned from your marriage AND your divorce. What do you know now that you didn’t know before? Is something more important to you now than it was before? Once you’ve written everything down, make it a point to remember these topics as lessons.
Lastly, choose to let go. WOW is this hard to do. The best way I found to let go was to replace those replays and reliving the past with acknowledgement and then release. I acknowledged I was thinking those things, and then I let it go. Keeping busy and working to create the life that I wanted was the biggest driver.
Instead of sitting around feeling bad for myself, I stopped living in the story. It was over. It was amazing how my self confidence came back like it never was there before.
The pain does not have to stop you. Don’t let it. Do not settle. Take charge of your life and create whatever you want for yourself.
Life is hard sometimes. If you are going through a divorce or any other hardship, know that you are not alone.
I hope that this has helped just one person. I will continue to provide a platform that promotes women being the best that they can be – it’s what fires me up!
I meant to read this sooner but I’m glad I read it now. I absolutely love and totally admire how you’ve tackled this topic. I can’t pretend to know how difficult it must be to put this out there but I’m sure you are helping someone by speaking up and sharing. Therapy does and can work! I’m a big advocate for it too 🙂
Thank you so much, Noelle! I really hope that it is helping at least one woman out there. I thought about this topic for years…and didn’t know how to go about it. There is so much to my story, but it is not mine to share others’ stories. Therapy is ah-mazing!