By Dr. Kristin Davin
Healing is the process of making of becoming sound or healthy again.
In a perfect world, there would be an easy formula allowing you to move through and heal from your divorce pain-free and seamless. But we all know that a perfect world doesn’t exist. And because divorce is often complicated, messy, and emotionally draining, to get yourself back on track, finding a way to move through your divorce in a way that promotes health, positive well-being, and ultimately healing, is imperative. No easy ask.
The only way around is through.
So, through you must venture. And although there will be days that are an emotional roller coaster – you feel overwhelmed, fearful, distraught, yet hopeful, happy, and excited about your future – healing does take place. Maybe not on your timeline or how you thought it would be, but it does. Importance is placed on learning to let go of negative thoughts that will keep you ‘stuck’, making moving on that much more challenging and time-consuming.
As you venture down your healing path, it’s also important to remind yourself that the process isn’t a one size fits all or a specific strategic plan; but rather a way of learning how to embrace and incorporate useful and effective strategies in your own way and ask yourself pivotal questions to get you on a different path, which will allow you to turn the page and create a new path.
Acceptance and Mindfulness
The first step. By accepting where you are and knowing the process of healing is one you need to embrace, this will allow you to give yourself permission to embark down a path of experiencing the pain and anger, yet the opportunity for personal growth, greater insight and introspection, and eventual renewal and freedom. And simply being mindful and accepting how you feel – and not asking yourself why you are feeling a certain way, trying to make sense your feelings, or thinking too deeply about them – will help you move through pain faster.
Create a new lens
Your lens is how you see things. It’s your point of view. Your mindset. Think about what you would like your new life to look like. What was lacking in your marriage that you want for yourself now? Use a Solution Focused approach and the Miracle Question to answer this question.
Seize the opportunity
Healing can and often does promote an opportunity for growth and change. You have blank pages to fill in your next chapter with the things that you want to do and the ways that you want to live your life differently. For example, were there things you wanted to do, but didn’t? Maybe this was because you were getting push back at home or you didn’t feel that your time was valuable? Did you give up parts of yourself while a couple? It is not uncommon for a person to forsake those things that are important to them in a marriage and lose themselves. If so, what were these things? Are they still important to you? If they are, reclaim them! Now is the time.
Learn how to like yourself
Often going through a divorce results in feeling rejected and your self-worth plummets. Becoming more self-confident by remembering all the positive things you have accomplished, has positive, long lasting effects. Learning how to like yourself again and feeling good about not just your past, but also your present and your future, is very empowering. Seeking the help of a professional can also help you identify things about yourself that you cannot see to help you on your journey.
Embrace a new you
Maybe your divorce creates a little ‘chaos’ or shaking up of a former lifestyle that you may want to change. It could be as simple as a new haircut, new makeup, or a different wardrobe. Maybe it’s a change in your schedule or saying ‘yes’ less often and ‘no’ more often by setting healthier boundaries. And as a newly minted single person (or soon to be) , all of the shared stuff is now all yours to own – even if it’s scary! Look at it as an opportunity to learn about things that your spouse took care of and take responsibility for these things. This is your time to shine and discover things about yourself that you didn’t know.
Cherish alone time
This doesn’t mean being lonely – just alone. There’s a big difference. Time should be taken for learning how to uncouple yourself from being a couple. It’s learning how to look at yourself again as a single person – your own unique self.
In essence, putting parts of your life in boxes or chunking your time so you can be present in the moment instead of allowing your thoughts (often negative) to rent space in your brain for an indefinite period of time because then the time spent thinking about your divorce becomes limitless. Because engaging in this type of behavior s not only detrimental to the recovery process, it rarely provides the mental break and space needed to create greater clarity so rational – not emotional- decisions can be made.
Learn how to identify your thoughts and emotions. Ask yourself, what are the feelings and thoughts that I am currently experiencing? Where am I in this process? Are my feelings relevant? What purpose do they serve? What is the true meaning behind what I am experiencing? Often times, what we feel is something deeper than what it appears to be. By taking the time to check ourselves – where we are, where we want to be – helps keep us centered and present. Learn to accept the roller coaster of feelings you will experience and look for the silver lining.
Plan for the unexpected
If you go in thinking that healing from your divorce should be a ‘certain way’ or you are wrong for feeling the way you do, this will most likely result in more negative feelings – guilt for not ‘being over the divorce’, faulty thinking about yourself (I should be moving on, I shouldn’t being feeling this way), self-doubt and a lack of confidence. Expect that there will be days that will simply blindside you. Two steps forward, three back.
Focus on the big picture
In the moment, it might feel good be immersed in our emotions. There is benefit to being in the moment and experiencing our thoughts and emotions for what they are. However, part of the journey through divorce and healing is to have the ability to not only have short term goals but long term goals as well. Create your big picture. What do you want your future to look like? Come back to that question more than once.
Healing from divorce doesn’t begin and end the same for any two people. Everyone has their own journey with their own twists and turns, before they can see the trees beyond the forest and start to feel centered again. In essence, healed. So, give yourself the time and emotional bandwidth needed to heal because in doing so, you will create a healthier path for your future and create the life you want and deserve.
I am healing. I am rediscovering myself. I am starting over.
About the Author
Proactive and approachable, ‘Dr D’ has been described as a ‘straight shooter.’ She helps people embrace change, cultivate healthier relationships, and become more effective communicators, both personally and professionally. Her areas of focus are: divorce, marriage, dating, life transitions, and relationships. By tapping into a person’s strengths, she helps people maximize their life and live authentically. For advice and suggestions on how to navigate your life, follow Dr D on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.