6 Benefits Of Self-Awareness Post-Divorce
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.
And, more and more, research is showing that self-awareness is the most important quality in a leader.
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.
You treat unexpected events as a way to increase self-awareness.One of the most surprising benefits of self-awareness is how it shifts your view of the unexpected. As you grow in self-awareness, you increasingly lean into your willingness to learn and less into your fear.
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.
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