Impossible is only one perspective.
Divorce impacts every facet of your life – how you live, who you are, what you do, when you get to see your kids, and maybe even where you live. So, of course, it’s natural that with all this change you’d feel sad, angry, resentful and uncertain about how to start over after divorce.
Yet, you also know that some people find a gift in all this chaos. They find a way to create an amazing life for themselves after divorce.
Even though, at this exact moment, it seems impossible that you’ll ever feel any better, deep down you know that if other people can figure out how to start over after divorce, you can too.
And you can. You’re not consigned to living with this pain, uncertainty, depression, frustration, anxiety and fear forever. Things can get better.
By following a process, the same process that everyone who’s ever healed and moved on from divorce has followed, you can make things better for you too.
- Work through your grief.
This is the most difficult part of the process. It will require you to come face-to-face with painful memories and emotions. It is also unpredictable. No one can tell you how long it will take to get through your grief. No one can tell you the exact steps you must take to get through it either.
The best you’ll find online is a description of some guideposts you can be on the lookout for along the way.
What most people find they need to truly work through their grief is to talk with a therapist, divorce coach (link to about Karen) or compassionate friend who has dealt with divorce themselves.
These people typically discover that by vocalizing their fears, regrets, and misery to someone who’s been through a similar experience that they feel understood. Feeling understood means that they’re not alone. Having support like this helps them work through their grief. And as it subsides, they find it easier to continue taking the other steps in the process required to start over after divorce.
- Identify what you must get done – and do it.
While you’re working through the legal pieces of your divorce, you and your ex’s attorneys let you know what you must do to complete the legalities necessary to obtain a divorce decree and a parenting agreement.
However, you’ll find there are plenty of other things that must get done for you to start over after divorce. Some of the tasks that can fall into this category are legal documents not required for your divorce (link to paperwork article), finding a job, getting health insurance and moving.
Getting motivated to finish up what you know needs to be done can be difficult, if not impossible, when you’re struggling with grief. So, know that you don’t have to get everything done at once. You can prioritize these tasks by due date and chip away at them regularly.
You’ll discover that when you repeatedly take little actions to accomplish what needs to be done, you’ll be able to accomplish almost anything. And that includes creating a great life for yourself.
One of the most amazing things we can each do to change our life experience is to change our thoughts. This is a powerful tool when it comes knowing how to start over after divorce.
But, changing your thoughts isn’t a simple thing to do. It’s actually really, really hard – at first. But really hard isn’t impossible. And changing your thoughts definitely becomes easier with practice.
Have you ever noticed that when you’re having a bad day and then someone tells a great joke that you can laugh, and your day seems a little better? That’s an example of changing your thoughts.
“Whether you think you can, or think you can’t – you’re right.” ~Henry Ford
Dreaming about how you want your life to be or who you want to become after divorce takes a bunch of courage. You thought you were making your dreams come true when you married. But that didn’t quite work.
However, when you’re brave enough to start thinking about how you really want to be living instead of remaining in the pain, that’s when you’ll know that you’re on your way to discovering your personal path to beginning again after divorce.
Creating a new life for yourself after divorce isn’t easy. And the 3-step process outlined above shouldn’t be taken as easy either.
These steps are simply the very broad outline of what you’ll need to do to get through the feelings of loss you experience when you divorce. It’s also quite likely that you’ll work through each of the steps multiple times before you really feel like you’ve moved on. But that’s what everyone who truly heals from divorce goes through.
So, use these steps not as a blueprint, but as guidelines to help you stay focused on healing and moving forward. By doing so, you will find your that you too can create a meaningful and fulfilling life after divorce.
I’m Dr. Karen Finn, a divorce and life coach. If you still have questions about how to start over after divorce, you can join my newsletter list for free weekly advice or you can schedule a 30-minute private consultation with me.