Getting over a divorce can be debilitating. The life that you planned for with your ex no longer exists, which is a tough realization no matter how right the choice was. Your current reality may feel foreign or overwhelming, but it’s important to realize that there’s another chapter to your life story. In fact, there’s a whole other book waiting to be written, and this time it’s all about you.
If you just got out of a divorce and are having trouble finding yourself again here are some tips to get you started.
Let yourself grieve.
You might understand your divorce—why you did it, what comes next—but you still need to grieve. Permit yourself time to be with the pain. Often, divorce feels like severing a limb, leaving behind something that was integral to your life, which means it hurts—bad. Don’t ‘should’ on yourself: “I shouldn’t feel this way” or “I should be over this by now.” Grief doesn’t have a timeline. Try not to dwell, but do let yourself feel and process as needed. If you’re struggling particularly hard, working with a therapist can help you develop tools to confront your grief and work through it. There’s no shame in needing help. As you already know, it’s hard to do it alone.
Get to know yourself again.
Who were you before the marriage? What are you into: hobbies, activities, simple pleasures. Rediscover those. Maybe you miss hiking. Guess what? You can honor your wandering adventurer again. Did you spin ceramics? Hit the wheel again. Take the time to do the things that make you feel good and help you feel like yourself again. The period after divorce is like rebuilding a world. Try to remember what once made yours brilliant.
Push the reset button.
This is the time to rediscover the old you, but also to discover the new. What are some things that always interested you but were always right outside of your comfort zone? How can you shake your world up? Often when we make a subtle shift or change, even when it’s something as simple as getting a haircut or booking a trip, we put different energy into the world around us. We’re saying, “I’m ready for for the new,” and that energy always comes back. Do something bold.
Focus on loving yourself.
This is the perfect time to be selfish. In fact, there’s nothing wrong with showing yourself a little self-love. Post-divorce it’s common to experience feelings of worthlessness and low self-esteem. So how do you flip the script and thrive and learn to value yourself again? Start by focusing on your strengths and remember the things you used to do that gave you confidence. That might mean pampering yourself with regular spa appointments or going on a solo meditation retreat. Or maybe, you want to start a creative project or take a new class. It’s about choosing and celebrating yourself, and relentlessly seeking what lights you up. In short, live your best life.
Don’t get over your divorce
This might sound counter-intuitive, but hear me out. Most people want to rush through the divorce process and shake their hands dry like it didn’t affect them. You may find yourself saying things like, “I don’t even know why I was married to that person to begin with,” or, “That marriage was a waste of time.” While it sounds hokey to think of your divorce as a success, if you can view the experience as a transformative lesson, then you’ll be able to find the meaning in it. Everyone has failed relationships; it’s our willingness to meet them with accountability and grace that determines our future happiness.
Remember: your divorce was only one part of your journey. You’ve got a lot more living to do. Take it one chapter—one page—at a time, and soon you’ll be rewriting your happy ending.