The Only Real Shortcut To Healing From Divorce
All it takes is a bit of courage and determination.
There’s very little that’s easy about getting divorced. And just about all divorcees are on the lookout for shortcuts so they can move on with their life as quickly as possible and hopefully avoid some of the pain.
The problem is that when it comes to truly healing from your divorce you need to experience the pain so you can free yourself from it.
Yes, you read that correctly. You need to feel the pain so you can be free from it.
But feeling it doesn’t mean wallowing or drowning in it. It also doesn’t mean beating yourself up with thoughts of what you coulda, shoulda, or woulda done differently. It just means acknowledging the emotion and releasing it.
So how do you acknowledge an emotion and release it? Well, it kinda depends on the emotion.
If you’re feeling sad, you might acknowledge and release the sadness by crying or by getting busy and doing something productive. I find that when I’m sad crying helps until I can shift my thoughts toward being appreciative about what I’m sad about. Kinda the whole “every adversity … carries within it the seed of an equivalent or greater benefit” thing that Napoleon Hill is famous for saying.
Let me give you an example. A couple months ago my sweet cat Jewel died. I was very, very heartbroken about losing her and cried a lot. Yet it didn’t take me long to realize that my tears weren’t doing Jewel any good and they’d already done all they could for me. So I starting changing my thoughts to remembering all of the joy that Jewel brought into my life. Yes, those thoughts make me a little wistful, but remembering the joy helps me to look for more joy in my life now.
If you’re feeling angry, you can search for what’s under the anger. Usually anger is covering up fear. This is especially true when you’re healing from divorce. Divorce anger can be almost rageful and it usually covers some big fear of loss – loss of all the time you invested in a relationship that has failed, loss of love, loss of the dream of “happily ever after”, loss of being with your kids every day, loss of control of your life, and on and on and on…
If you can identify at least one of the fears that your anger is covering up, you can then shift your anger to addressing how to feel less fearful.
When I got divorced, although I was happy to have all three of our pets, I was also angry about all the responsibility and that my ex got to avoid dealing with the challenges of a geriatric dog. When I dug beneath the surface of my anger, I discovered that I was afraid I wouldn’t’ be able to take care of all my pets’ needs on my own. And that was a fear I could do something about. I hired a pet sitter to help care for my pets during the day while I was at work.
If you’re feeling lonely, you can embrace the alone-ness and get to know yourself a little bit better.
You might start off with a little crying and acknowledge the fear of being alone for the rest of your life. (Yes, that’s usually a big piece of why we feel lonely after divorce.) And then you can start remembering some of the things that you loved to do when you were a kid. (I know that probably sounds strange, but stick with me for a minute.)
Now, here’s the question you need to answer: How can you go out and do some of those things with a group?
My favorite way to find a group of people who like to do fun things is to visit www.meetup.com. You’ll find all kinds of groups that get together to do a whole bunch of different things from reading groups to adventure travel groups. Once you get out and join one of the outings, you’ll be absolutely AMAZED at all the fun you can have with a bunch of strangers doing something you love to do (yup, even if you’re an introvert like me).
Acknowledging and releasing your feelings isn’t an easy thing. It takes courage and determination. But by being courageous and determined now, you’ll be taking the only real shortcut there is to healing from divorce.
I’m Dr. Karen Finn, a divorce and personal life coach helping people just like you who are dealing with the stress and pain of divorce. You can join my newsletter list for free weekly advice. And, if you’re ready, you can take the first step toward working with me as your personal coach by scheduling a private consultation.