Three easy tips to start celebrating your life again.
If you were on the receiving end of the announcement “I want a divorce”, your self-esteem took a huge hit. For months your mind reeled with questions about why you weren’t good enough for them anymore. It was a horribly painful time.
The lucky ones figure out that they will be better off without their ex. They believe that being someplace and with someone who celebrates them and doesn’t just tolerate them is mandatory.
But for way too many the pain of rejection continues into their life after divorce - and this is the real tragedy.
Sure, the the end of your marriage is horribly sad, but replacing what can be a vibrant, joyful life for one of mere existence or even misery is an absolute disaster.
Now I’m not saying that you should ignore your feelings of sadness or loneliness. But what I am saying is you also need to allow other (more uplifting) emotions to have some of your time and attention too.
And you’re probably wondering something like, “Yeah, how do you do that when you’re consumed with hurt, anger and self-loathing?”
You do it bit by bit. AND you do it purposefully.
Every morning while you’re in the shower or brushing your teeth, ask yourself what’s one thing you’re looking forward to today. It doesn’t have to be a big thing, but it does have to be something even if you have to make it up.
You might look forward to getting the soap out of your eye or the toothpaste rinsed out of your mouth. You might look forward to feeling the prickle of the brush or comb against your scalp or the warmth of your morning coffee or tea.
The thing is to look forward to something and then celebrate it when it happens. Now celebration doesn’t have to mean confetti and balloons (unless you really like that stuff). A celebration can just be an acknowledgement and a smile – just taking the time to recognize that what you were looking forward to has happened and that you enjoyed it.
Another way you can purposefully infuse some uplifting emotions into your life after divorce is to take the advice my friend Ruth gave me when she was 96 years old. Wake up every morning and expect that something wonderful will happen. Wonderful could be cuddling with a kitten (which was one of Ruth’s favorite things to do), taking time to enjoy the beauty of the sunset, or seeing your child smile.
In other words, wonderful infuses your life (even after divorce) if you choose to look for it.
You might also decide to start keeping a gratitude journal. Keeping a gratitude journal may sound like a big deal, but it’s not. It’s actually very simple – at least the way I do it is.
Every night before you go to sleep take a few moments and write 3 things that you’ve done today that you’re thankful for. I do this by completing these 3 sentences:
- I’m thankful I ___________.
- I’m grateful I ____________.
- I appreciate my __________.
Research has shown (Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being) that when you focus gratitude on what you’ve done that you’ll more quickly tap into feelings of happiness because you’re putting yourself in control instead of someone or something else.
Injecting some more celebratory emotions into your repertoire of sentiments isn’t a big deal. It’s actually quite easy. All you have to do is spend time noticing and creating moments when you get to experience uplifting feelings.
The more you do, the more you’ll shift from living unhappily post-divorce to experiencing a vibrant, joyful life again. And you know there’s plenty to look forward to and celebrate about that!