Life After Divorce: A Guide on How to Find Meaning Again
Life after divorce can leave you feeling overwhelmed, traumatized, or even hopeless. Regardless of the reasons why, it is a life change that can take some getting used to and even longer to move forward with your life. No one writes your story or can give you a time frame for the healing. However, there are ways to make each day a step closer to finding a whole you again. Take this new chapter in your life to rediscover you and fall in love with yourself all over again.
1. Allow yourself time to grieve. Divorce is not only a physical separation from a loved one, but also a mental and emotional loss as well. I put divorce up there with death because it is a loss or death of a commitment made between two people. Allowing yourself time to grieve is a big part of the healing process. If this step is skipped it will come out in a later occurrence that could result in future damaged relationships. Find those who give you the time and space for grieving and find comfort in their support.
2. Find a good therapist and do not let them go. No one is meant to go through life alone especially when trauma occurs. A good therapist, one you trust is just the right person to walk alongside you during this journey. Your therapist will give you helpful tools to allow you to grow, as well as any other obstacles that may come your way. These include communication skills when dealing with your ex, breaking the news to your children or family, future relationship endeavors, and of course any negative lingering emotions resulting from your divorce. Your therapist will give you honest feedback all in the interest of seeing you live a better and healthier life.
3. Love yourself again. Who are you? I find in marriage naturally you begin to focus on “us” and can lose sight of who you were to begin with. When divorce occurs, there is now a huge void. This is the time to find yourself again, and all though this sounds easier said than done I promise you it is possible. Start by looking inside yourself. Who were you before this person came into your life? What did you enjoy? A good question to ask yourself is “why do I feel I needed that person to complete me?” Believe it or not you are a whole person without another by your side. You hold all the amazing qualities inside you, and that did not come from another individual. Explore those qualities and love yourself again!
4. Lean on your old friendships and make new ones. Let’s face it, when we divorce that can also mean losing some quality friends as well. Putting yourself out there once again with the looming thought of rejection can seem terrifying. Just remember there are others out there with similar stories and experiences who can walk beside you during this traumatic time in your life. Start small by joining a group or activity of your liking or ask a new coworker out for coffee. These small steps can lead to a much greater and beneficial outcome.
5. Out with the old and in with the new. Once you have had time to settle from the whirl wind of a life change allow yourself a change of scenery. We all come from a variety of means and circumstances some of which keeps us from moving out of the space where you both dwelled as a couple. If this is your situation you have the power to change your environment. Mix things up and create a whole new look for your space. A fresh new look can mean one step closer to a healing heart and mind.
6. Learn to Forgive. This may be the hardest choice you will have to make when moving forward with your life. Not only has this person hurt you but they may be living what looks like a happier life without you. To top off all the pain, in order to truly heal, forgiveness is a key component and you may feel this person doesn’t deserve it.
In all reality the person who hurt you may not deserve forgiveness, but you deserve to move forward and not become a bitter victim to your experiences. Holding onto hate will ultimately cause you stress and grief and does little to the other person. I find we often mistake the act of forgiveness for letting people back into our lives. It may result in future open communication however; forgiveness is a tool to allow you to break through the pain and for you to rise above. Do not mistake forgiveness for weakness, because it is far easier to hate someone then to show compassion.
Are you struggling with life after divorce? Do you have a friend or family member who has recently gone through a divorce? A licensed psychotherapist can help. Please contact Life Enhancement Counseling Services today at 407-443-8862 to make an appointment with one of our experienced Orlando mental health counselors.
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