Getting over your divorce can be much simpler than you’ve heard.
Divorce is a life-changing event, but it doesn’t have to stop you from living. Here are 5 straight-forward steps to help you quickly heal from your divorce.
1. Don’t let your divorce disable you.
Healing from divorce is a grieving process. Everyone’s grieving process is unique. Because of this uniqueness, people sometimes think that they are grieving when they are actually wallowing.
There’s a big difference between grieving and wallowing. The difference mostly has to do with what’s going on in your head.
If you want to get through your grief with minimal wallowing, you’ll want to think of your divorce as either a message to redirect your life or a growth challenge. Both of these ideas have the potential to give you hope and to keep you engaged in the future. That’s the key to prevent yourself from getting stuck; focus on the future and making your future better even if you don’t know exactly how to do that right now.
2. You are not a failure.
It’s so easy to fall into the trap of believing that because your marriage ended in divorce that you’re a failure. (I fell deeply into this trap when I got divorced.)
But the truth is that your marriage was a failure – not you. Sure you played a part in your divorce, but your divorce doesn’t define you. You are still you regardless of your marital status. (And I’m betting that you’re a pretty wonderful person.)
3. Remember others have been through divorce too.
You need to remember that you’re not the only one to ever be divorced and your circumstances probably aren’t all that unique. It’s important you remember this because you can ask for help if you know someone else has been through what you’re going through.
So, get curious. Who do you know that’s successfully made it through their divorce? (No, it’s not that bitter friend who has sworn off men and has adopted her 10th cat.)
If you don’t know anyone personally who’s successfully healed from their divorce, search the web. There are lots of groups and individuals who provide specialized support for people going through divorce.
Once you find someone or some group, ask them for help. That way you don’t have to do it all on your own. You can use the wisdom of others to make your way through your divorce easier and faster.
4. Take the high road.
Taking the high road has to do not only with how you treat your ex, but also how you treat yourself and interact with the rest of the world.
Yes, it is incredibly easy to want to pay your ex back for all the pain as you go through the divorce process, but don’t. You’ll only regret your behavior over the long term. So, act from the strength of your highest self.
Taking the high road also means being good to yourself. Accept that getting through the grief of the end of your marriage may not happen overnight. Be patient with yourself.
Find joy (yes, it still exists) in the simple things that you still have. Maybe you can find joy in your kids or your pets or even in the beauty of the clouds. But find some joy every day. When you act from a more joyful place, the rest of the world will suddenly seem more joyful and it will be easier to interact with everyone else.
5. Get moving.
To get through your grief you need to take action. The actions don’t need to be big, grand, or immediately life changing. They can be simple things.
Here are some ideas of things you can do to get through your grief:
- Schedule some time when you won’t be interrupted to just cry.
- Spend 5 minutes being grateful for what you do have because it could always be worse.
- Taking a walk to get a change of scenery.
- Beat up a pillow to release some anger.
Do something every day to help you gently move through the grief of your divorce.
By following these 5 steps, you’ll be able to focus on healing from your divorce, prevent yourself from getting stuck in the pain, and get back to living a joy-filled life.
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.
You might also enjoy reading…
If you’re looking for more help recovering from your divorce, read more articles about Healing After Divorce.
Divorce changes the trajectory of your life, but it doesn’t have to define it.
Dictionary.com’s first definition of failure is “an act or instance of failing or proving unsuccessful; lack of success.” According to this definition, divorce is a failure – the failure of the marriage. Yet what I see in each of my clients (and what I experienced when I got divorced) is that going through divorce can make you feel like a failure, like you’re less than other people and have done something fundamentally wrong that you might even believe you deserve to be punished for. Granted, your divorce may be the result of poor decisions you made, but that’s different from believing that you are fundamentally bad because of the failure of your marriage.
Although believing that you are a failure because your marriage has failed is an almost universal experience, what I want you to know is that this is a flawed belief and points to a fundamental misperception that we are what happens to us along with what we do and have in our lives.
Like so many of my clients, in my first marriage, I let my marriage and all that happened as a result of it define who I was and what my value was. For many years, I thought that I had to make my marriage work no matter what. The no matter what for me was losing the changing dreams and desires that I had for my life. I decided (albeit unconsciously at the time) they didn’t matter as much as what was needed for my husband to be happy and that if I could fit things in for me around him and the needs of my marriage then I was lucky. I fell into the trap of abdicating responsibility for me and my life. I stopped making the proactive decisions I needed to make to be fully me.
But here’s the thing: I didn’t understand any of this until after I was divorced, until I worked through a lot of the pain and misery of the transition, until I knew that I wasn’t a failure. It was my marriage that had failed, and that was because of my actions and my ex-husband’s actions. What I had from the failure of my marriage was feedback. I had information about what did and didn’t work for me in a relationship. Over the years, I have been able to use this information, along with all the other feedback I’ve gotten along the way, to make new and improved choices for my life — including my new marriage.
I was one of the lucky ones. I was able to figure out that I am separate from what happens to me in addition to what I do and have in my life. Not everyone who divorces understands this separateness. The saddest cases are those people who stay stuck in their divorce. They are on a constant loop of blaming their ex, themselves, or both, for the failure of their marriage and the failure of their life and themselves.
The best lived lives put into action a belief that life is about moving forward, cultivating your best you, and your ideal world around you by living your purpose. This only happens by active participation and the ability to let go of any and all grievances or judgments you hold — including those you have about your divorce.
Is it easy? No, not at first. At first, it’s awful. It’s one of the hardest things you can do. It requires taking 100 percent responsibility for yourself and accepting that you do have a certain amount of power over what becomes of you. It requires an almost constant awareness that each day is a new day, that each moment is a new moment. We each have the power and the option to make a new start every single moment of every single day. We can make our lives into what we truly want them to be if we are simply willing to make the choices to do what’s required to make them that way.
It probably sounds like a lot of hard work, and it is, but the alternative is failure — failure to be wholly, completely and truly you. That is failure. Divorce is just the failure of your marriage, and it can provide invaluable feedback for you to make your life the best it can be.
You have the choice right now to set your sights on what you want for your life. Once you know what you want, you can begin taking steps (even itty-bitty baby steps) every day toward making your life that way. And if things don’t immediately go the way you want, you’ve just gotten more feedback for you to use adjusting the steps you’re taking.
Your Functional Divorce Assignment:
On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is absolutely positively yes, and 10 is absolutely positively no, rate the following statements:
- I am a failure because my marriage failed.
- My life will always be a mess because of my divorce.
- My ex is to blame for our divorce.
- My life will never be as good again because of my divorce.
If you gave any of the above statements anything other score than 10, you’re just like nearly every other person on the planet, and have some work to do on being able to separate you from what happens to you, what you do, and what you have.
One way to start becoming more aware of this separation is to remember a time when you stubbed your toe. Remember how painful it was? Did it cause you to think that you were a failure because you got hurt? Or, maybe it provided you some feedback so you could pay more attention to where you were going, or maybe to wear closed-toe shoes, or maybe even avoid the area where you stubbed it. This simple example can be expanded to help you look at painful events as inspiration to make new choices.
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 interested in taking the first step toward working with me, you can schedule an introductory private coaching session.