The benefits of self-awareness weave throughout every aspect of life. They draw people together, forge mutually beneficial communication, engender empathy and compassion between people, and lay the foundation for self-accountability. They also step up to provide healing and a well-lit path toward happiness when life throws a curveball like divorce.
What is self-awareness and why does it matter?
We’re all familiar with the intelligence quotient (IQ) – that statistical number that represents a person’s reasoning and problem-solving abilities compared to others.
But there is another form of intelligence to which researchers have shifted their focus in recent decades.
Emotional intelligence (EI) goes beyond logic and rational thinking and into, as the name implies, emotions.
What makes a person score high in EI isn’t his/her emotions themselves, but the person’s ability to recognize, understand, and manage them.
It also refers to the ability to recognize emotions in others and to use all this information to better manage self-behavior and relationships.
Emotional intelligence is divided into five key components:
- Social skills
Self-awareness is listed first for good reason. Because the benefits of self-awareness flow through all the other components, it is essentially the cornerstone of EI.
If you are high in self-awareness, you not only recognize your own emotions, but can put words to them and understand their consequences.
It’s pretty powerful stuff.
What does self-awareness have to do with divorce?
Despite how inapplicable self-awareness may seem when your marriage is falling apart, it can actually be your saving grace.
Whether or not you want(ed) your divorce, you are now facing life alone. Your identity becomes extricated from the conjoined identity you shared with your spouse. You have to make decisions on behalf of your own life and, if you have children, their lives, as well.
You also have to do all this while feeling angry, sad, embarrassed, fearful, disappointed, confused, and stressed.
Those who are high in self-awareness navigate divorce better than those who are not.
They “hold it together” better because they recognize their feelings for what they are. And they use this awareness as the basis for self-regulation, especially if and when the divorce process gets heated.
They also make better choices at a time when every move seems to involve a critical choice. And they are more capable of working toward a mutually beneficial outcome in multiple areas, including coparenting.
But what about after the divorce? Does self-awareness make much difference then?
More than you could imagine.
Here are 6 benefits of self-awareness post-divorce:
You’ll recover from divorce more quickly than someone who isn’t self-aware.
One of the first signs that healing is happening after a divorce is your ability to stand firm in your own identity.
You’re no longer a wife or husband. You no longer compromise who you are and what you want in order to lead with a “we” identity.
Just as importantly, your strong sense-of-self reminds you daily who it is that you can count on: yourself.
You know your strengths and weaknesses and aren’t afraid to ask for help.The same self-awareness that makes someone a great leader also helps a person who has gone through a divorce.
Great leaders know what they’re good at and what they’re not good at. They use their strengths where appropriate, and they have enough awareness of their weaknesses to work on improving them.
They’re also not above asking for help and new ideas for turning their weaknesses into strengths.
At a time when going out on your own can be frightening and diminishing to your lifestyle, you have a choice. You can take the stiff-upper-lip approach and try to do everything yourself. Or you can embrace humility as a way to learn and grow.
Self-awareness makes you fearless in reaching out for help and support. The benefit, beyond getting the help you need, is that you inevitably build a circle of friendship and support that may last a lifetime.
You are motivated to persevere.
Rarely in life is there a louder call to perseverance than after divorce.
It’s easy to feel weighed down by hopelessness and lack of purpose. But, if you are steeped in self-awareness, you will remain grounded in your goals – even the day-to-day, one-foot-in-front-of-the-other ones.
Your values will remind you that your life vision is worth fighting for, even if you have to navigate through the detour of divorce.
You have the strength and integrity to examine your own behaviors in your marriage.
It’s not the part of life-after-divorce you look forward to. However, at some point, you’re going to have to write the story you want to tell going forward.
Are you going to be the perpetual victim? Or are you going to be the person who is courageous enough to take responsibility for contributions to the failure of your marriage?
Will you be the person who tells the outside world how terrible your ex-spouse was? Or will you be the person who can focus on and share the lessons you have learned about yourself?
Self-awareness gives you the ability to do this self-examination. It makes you hungry for self-accountability by reminding you that you can’t change what you don’t first own.
It also reminds you that this is an essential step toward finding authentic love in the future.
And, as you learn from overcoming obstacles and facing the unexpected with a positive attitude, you grow in self-awareness.
You expect the best from the unexpected. And the cycle of growth continues.
You remain curious.Curiosity is that lovely, creative, open mindset that says, “I don’t know everything. I haven’t seen or learned everything there is to see and learn. And I’m not afraid to see the world with fresh eyes, even if doing so means unraveling beliefs I’ve always had.”
We talk about self-awareness a lot here. It’s just that important.
Thankfully, the benefits of self-awareness don’t have an expiration date. And they don’t limit themselves to the easy times in life.
It’s never too late to develop self-awareness, and it’s never too late to benefit from it.
I’m Dr. Karen Finn and I’m a life coach. Schedule a 30-minute private consultation if you’d like support in becoming a more self-aware person so you can more easily navigate your life post-divorce.
You can learn more about becoming and benefiting from being a self-aware person in How To Be More Self-Aware.
Every now and then, when you’re down in the trenches of ugly emotions, a good dose of happy-life, motivational quotes is in order. Sure, it can seem a little sappy. But there’s good reason these positive musings still make the rounds.
So, if you’re facing the long road ahead after a divorce, take a little encouragement from these wordsmiths.
Here are 10 happy-life, motivational quotes to help you move on with a positive outlook after divorce:
It always gets worse before it can get better. But it will get better. Like everything else, and like our past struggles, at some point we win, but before that win, there’s always that loss that spurs us on.– Dolores Huerta
What a beautiful, pensive place to start. A reality check coupled with an assurance of hope.
Surely the intensity of pain, grief, and adjustment can be managed when there is light beckoning you to the other side of loss.
You can, of course, focus on the loss. Or you can focus on the hope and use the energy of the loss to propel you forward.
It’s never too late to become what you might have been.– George Eliot
If you are like so many people who come to the end of their marriages, you may wonder who you are.
What happened to the person who used to love to do xyz, who used to have fantastic dreams and ambitions?
Did you lose yourself to the roles of marriage? Sacrifice yourself little by little until you were numb to the longings of your vibrant spirit?
Eliot has it right. And what a hopeful message, regardless of your age. It’s never too late to become what you might have been!
Need a little more convincing? Check out these celebrities whose lives actually got better after their divorces.
Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.– Marilyn Monroe
Not all marriages that end in divorce are “terrible.” And not all couples who divorce are enemies.
Sometimes there are good people who simply weren’t able to be what they needed to be in marriage. Timing, emotional immaturity, unresolved childhood issues – there are countless possibilities.
But isn’t it an inspiring thought that something even better is about to “fall together” out of the brokenness of what was already good?
When we truly care for ourselves, it becomes possible to care about other people. The more alert and sensitive we are to our own needs, the more loving and generous we can be towards others.– Eda LeShan
One of the 10 actionable tips for rebuilding a life after divorce for yourself is to get out of your own story and help build someone else’s.
But you first have to know the experience of self-compassion and self-care. When you are able to savor the benefits of responding to your own needs, you can recognize and lovingly respond to the needs of others.
When we do something we like, we are not only happy. We are also very strong!– Rossana Condoleo
Yes! Yes, you are allowed to live a happy life!
Motivational quotes are just a way of reinforcing what you inherently know. In this case, the encouragement is to return to doing things you love.
You may have given up hobbies and personal interests during your marriage, but now you get to revisit them.
Give yourself permission to do things you like, and watch your happiness – and strength – grow.
Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.– Joseph Campbell
It’s there. It really is. That wellspring of pure, untarnished joy that has always held itself in a safe place, waiting for you to find it again.
Pain is inevitable after a divorce. But joy? That is your Holy Grail of healing.
Dig deep. Find it. Don’t be afraid of it. And let it burn out the pain.
Moving on is a process; moving forward is a choice. There’s a slight difference between the two. Moving on is letting things happen; moving forward is making things happen.– author unknown
Perhaps this title stops short. After all, happy-life, motivational quotes are intended to inspire action.
So, are you ready to move forward with your life?
And so rock bottom became the foundation on which I rebuilt my life.– J.K. Rowling
You hear it all the time about people struggling to turn their lives around – from addiction, divorce, loss. Someone will say, “He hasn’t hit rock bottom yet. Once he does, things will change.”
The thing about rock bottom is that it gives you a ground from which to spring yourself upward.
In Rowling’s case, it became a solid foundation upon which she rebuilt her life. And nothing could undermine it because she started at the bottom.
You can cut all the flowers, but you cannot keep spring from coming.– Pablo Neruda
Try as you may to stay in your despair, spring is going to come. You will have to face the terrible magnificence of spring’s glory.
In other words, life is going to invite you back. And it’s going to send flowers to sweeten the deal.
Just say yes….
And finally, because humor is so important to healing, we’ll let Bette Davis have the final honors….
I’d marry again if I found a man who had $15 million and would agree to sign over half of it to me before the marriage and guarantee he’d be dead in a year.– Bette Davis
Returning to a place of joy and anticipation for the future doesn’t happen overnight. It’s incremental, often slow, but always a process of remaining open to positive possibilities.
Putting yourself in front of sources of encouragement – like these happy-life, motivational quotes – is an empowering discipline.
I’m Dr. Karen Finn and I’m a life and divorce coach. You can select a helpful report and join my newsletter list for weekly support in moving on from your divorce. Additionally, you can schedule a 30-minute private consultation to talk with me about how you can live a happy life post-divorce.