Getting Back in Touch with YOU

bestself divorce Mar 29, 2021

Divorce can be traumatic no matter how long you’ve been married.  The pain can feel even more insurmountable if you’ve been married for decades.  When working with women who are letting go of decades of being intertwined in a marriage, there is the work of redefining priorities at a deep, soul level internally. I often hear phrases like, I built my life around him, or, I built my whole life within his. When you’re facing those sentiments, there is work to do on reconnecting with yourself. It is no wonder that during divorce women can often feel like they don’t recognize themselves or who they have become.

Rather than finding the circumstances hopeless, your work is on using this opportunity to reconnect with yourself as the brightest possible spot in your life right now. Think about the opportunity to start over, and take it one small step at a time. 

It can seem like there’s no way you will ever be happy again once your long marriage has ended.  In the early stages, it may seem like the world itself has betrayed you; that everything you ever learned about love and commitment is wrong.  The world must be wrong.  You must have been wrong and there must be something inherently wrong with you.  I understand all of these feelings and I have been there too. It wasn’t until I began to deeply reconnect with myself that I realized how much self work I needed to do.

I often remind myself that even though I’ve been divorced, I made the very best decision I could have for myself at the time.  As hard as it is to get divorced, it happens all the time.  And, you have the opportunity to get through it to a happier place on the other side.  No one can effectively convince you of it when you’re really in the thick of divorce, but it’s so true!

Divorce is not the end of your life.  Whether you saw it coming or not, whether you do the “right” things to try to save your marriage, and whatever anyone else thinks, the reality is that this divorce is not going to negatively define who you are for the rest of your life.  In fact, the good news is that if you really do your work to process the feelings and emotions during this time, you will start to flow in powerful healing energy that will create opportunities you never imagined possible.

So, as you are faced with losing your marriage, which has been the cornerstone of your identity, take everything slowly with gentle loving kindness towards yourself. 

When someone asks me how to get back in touch with herself, here are my secrets:

1.     Feel your feelings, even the scary ones.  Even though you’re hurting, and I know how much you are hurting, you won’t always be hurting like you are in this moment.  You may even eventually feel relieved you’re out of the marriage.  You may feel ecstatic you are free to meet someone new.  The only guarantee is that your emotions will continue flow through you, and that is a normal part of the process.

2.     Accept that healing is a process.  Your divorce recovery process will be just that, a process.  Some experts say it takes a full three years to fully recover.  That’s OK, that doesn’t mean you won’t be happy or even be in another loving relationship in that time, it just will take time.  Befriend the divorce process, know you can rely on recovery efforts as a way to reconnect with yourself.

3.     Do small things and celebrate big.  In the early days of my divorce I was writing checklists of recovery items (seriously, so Type-A) to make sure I was doing absolutely as much as I could to get through it.  The reality, some days the effort was as simple as taking care of myself by washing my hair.  Start small.  Wash your hair.  Get out of bed.  That’s all I’m suggesting early on.  As time goes on you will find that you are starting to take actions that add up in big ways. Celebrate even the smallest wins.

4.     Make lots of lists.  When we write things down we get them out of our head and it’s easier to process the feelings. Write down the things you are happy to either shed or manifest now that the marriage is over.  This can be small such as:

He’s not here to tell me I made the bed wrong … again.

Thank God I don’t have to listen to that album one more time.

Now I get to buy that green couch I always wanted for the living room.

I’ll get to host a family dinner without him fighting with my brother over politics.

Whatever it is, write it down and start to make these thoughts feel tangible.  As you start to actually take action by buying the couch, or listening to music you like, you build more happiness for yourself.  This is a time when you can step back and start doing things you couldn’t do while you were in the marriage.  It helps you reconnect with you.

5.     Rebuild (or reconnect to) your tribe. One of the best things you can do when you’re feeling sad about losing your marriage is to really invest in the relationships in your life that are thriving.  Your kids, your best friend, your parents, cousins, neighbors, the people who make you feel whole.  Perhaps you met other women going through divorce in a support group. These are the people who are there to fill you up when you feel depleted.  Reach out and nurture those relationships as much as you can and I’ll bet you will feel fulfilled in return.

 

Above all, handle yourself with more tenderness and kindness than you ever thought possible.  You will feel sad, of course, it is perfectly normal to grieve a big loss - and this loss is huge.  Remember you are not alone.  Join supportive communities online such as the Happily Better After private Facebook group.  There are many other women who welcome the opportunity to comfort you and help you get back in touch with YOU during this journey.

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