No matter how horrible you feel, there is a simple way out of the loneliness of divorce.
One of the toughest parts of healing from divorce is the loneliness which can feel like it's sucking your soul right out of you. You wind up feeling as if you're just a shriveled husk of who you were.
When you're in the throes of loneliness, your mind wanders down a treacherous path. You begin by wondering if you're destined to be alone for the rest of your life. Then you realize that of course you will because of the long list of your "flaws" that you remind yourself of over and over again. It doesn't matter right now that those imperfections are just part of what makes you wonderfully you. You get stuck on a downward spiral of misery which leaves you feeling horribly trapped.
Yet being stuck isn't doing you any good when your real goal is to heal from your divorce.
What I want you to know is that no matter how lonely you feel right now, you're not really alone. I promise. Everyone who gets divorced experiences gut-wrenching loneliness. (Some people even experience it during their marriage before they divorce.) The difference is that not everyone deals with their loneliness in the same way.
Some choose to ignore it and immerse themselves in activities like dating. Some will use their loneliness to fuel their anger at their ex. Others, like you, know that despite how miserable the loneliness feels it's just part of the process of getting over their divorce.
The loneliness is really just part of the grief - saying goodbye to so much including a sense of belonging (which you also wonder if you'll ever feel again). Knowing that it's part of the process doesn't necessarily make it easy to get through though, does it?
Luckily, there is a simple way to start feeling less lonely. Begin with feeling a sense of belonging to yourself.
Yeah, it might sound a bit strange, but usually a sense of belonging is about feeling complete, whole and cared for. And that's definitely something you can achieve all on your own.
How? Well, the easiest way is to start logically and then allow your emotions to shift naturally as you begin caring for yourself. It might sound complicated, but it really is simple.
Logically, you know there's a big difference between being alone and feeling lonely. Being alone is a situation. Feeling lonely is an emotion that is crying out for soothing.
And believe it or not, you can soothe yourself by doing simple things that indulge your senses (sight, taste, touch, sound and smell). Here's a list of some sensory experiences you can experiment with the next time you're feeling lonely:
- give yourself a hug and feel the warmth of your embrace
- drink a cup of fragrant tea or coffee and enjoy both the aroma and the taste
- listen to uplifting music and be carried away by the sounds
- light some candles and watch how the flickering flames create amazing shadows
- turn on the TV so it sounds like there's someone at home with you
- snuggle with one or more pillows (I use 4) in bed at night
- treat yourself to your favorite meal savoring every bite
- pet your pet (or someone else's) and notice how wonderful their fur feels and how beautiful it looks
- hug a tree and notice the texture of the bark against your chest and cheek
There are a million different things you can do to soothe yourself and engage your senses. The key is to focus on the sensations, smells, sounds, tastes and sights. You'll find that by indulging your senses you'll experience a catharsis which lightens the heaviness of your loneliness.
The more you can comfort yourself when you're feeling lonely, the quicker you'll start to realize that your soul can stay right where it is and that you don't need to remind yourself of your "flaws".
Before you know it, you'll come to appreciate having some alone time. It's then that you'll know you're well on your way to healing from your divorce.
I’m Dr. Karen Finn, a divorce coach and advisor 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.