Going through a divorce can be incredibly painful. It may be the toughest storm you’ve ever had to weather. The financial and emotional stress can be hard to bear and the transition from “we” to “me” may feel like going through an identity crisis. If you’re accustomed to thinking of yourself as one half of a larger whole this is the time to remind yourself that you are a unique and complete individual all of your own. It’s a major life alteration and, although it may not feel like it at the moment, there can indeed be a truly full and happy life after divorce. While on the road of transition here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Give yourself the freedom to mourn. Going through a divorce may feel like you’ve experienced a death. That’s because, in a sense, you have. Divorce is the death of a marriage and perhaps the lifestyle you envisioned. The feelings you experience may be similar to those in the stages of grief and loss. Recognize that this is normal and may take some time.
2. Lean heavily into your support system. That means allowing friends and family to be there for you when you’re ready. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or to take advantage of their offers. Spending time with others during this painful time can help decrease feelings of loneliness. Also, many people find divorce support groups to be helpful. Seek one out in your local community if you feel it would be beneficial to spend time with others who have experienced similar pain.
3. Monitor your thoughts. Though you are experiencing pain, it’s important to take note of the messages you are sending yourself. Positivity is a powerful tool. Recognize that thoughts like “my life is over” aren’t factually true – your life is not over. Acknowledge that it may feel that way and then try to reframe it in a positive way such as “this is an opportunity for a new beginning for me.” Perhaps take some time to reflect on goals you had before you were married or personal passions that have been left behind. Then, take advantage of the opportunity to put them back into practice.
4. Know when to seek professional help. If you feel like you are unable to move beyond your grief it may be time to reach out. If you or loved ones begin to notice symptoms of depression in you or your children or if you simply feel it would be beneficial to talk to an objective third party to help guide you on your new path in life don’t hesitate.
There is life after divorce. How will you choose to spend it?
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