I still don’t like the word divorce. I still find the word itself hostile and angry and sad all at once. Just one little word, and I don’t know if that connotation will ever go away. What I do know though, it that the feelings change, the days change, and little by little your heart and mind begin to heal and your best life starts to show it’s way through. I often have people say to me when I tell them my story that they thought mine happened a lot longer ago than the just over two years that it has been. One thing I tell them is that for me, by the time the divorce happened, the healing had already planted it’s roots. It’s the years leading up to that fateful decision where the greatest heartache lies.
As I have said in more of my writing, I still believe in marriage, and the hard work it requires to choose someone every day and do the work that it takes to stay together. It’s not easy, and, for some reason, that wasn’t meant to be my story. So, if I can help people who find themselves in a similar situation to mine, that’s the next best thing I can do, because we are all capable of living amazing lives. One choice or event can never define us, and the best life lies on the other side of getting up, dusting ourselves off, and doing the hard work of mending a broken heart. In fact, whether it was a divorce or a break up, we’ve all been there, and it’s never easy. I started to think about what has helped me the most to move on with my life and came up with some practical steps that have lead me to a new level of peace and happiness.
Look Forward, Not Back. Get rid of the ideas in your head of how you “thought” life was going to look. Expectation can be so disappointing. Take what is today and learn to sit with it, in quiet, breathe and feel the sensation that you are ok. Exactly where you are, even in the sadness, you are living, you have talents and gifts, ones that you weren’t able to access when you were wrapped up in a dying relationship. Now is your time, what do YOU want to do for yourself and for the world. Identify the big goal, and set the small action steps that will get you there. Small victories put a little wind in our sails and lead us to the bigger ones. Where will you start? Allow these ideas to excite you, LOOK FORWARD.
Remember that you are the only one who grants yourself permission. I am a rule follower. I like to be coached and taught and learn from others. But those qualities set me up for a place in life where I was always looking for permission from other people as to how I should live my life. Being in a relationship, especially if it has some codependent tendencies, can foster that dynamic as well. Newsflash, you are a grown up. You have to pay your own bills, manage your own stress, raise your own children, so you better figure out that the decisions you make are yours. Quiet the outside voices and just listen to your mind and heart. Make small decisions at first, open your own bank account, make your own schedule, and through your choices allow the real you to be seen. Drastic change does not have to happen every day to make good progress.
Choose people who want to see you grow. Keep the opinions you take in to the trusted circle who wants to see you grow and not just survive, but thrive. The patterns you created in your past relationship have to change, those connections and conversations cannot stay the same if you expect to get over it. That doesn’t mean they won’t take a new form in the future, but give yourself the time and space that you need to heal. If you do this, life will look different, feel different, and that’s ok. Again, let go of the expectation and live with what is. If you are taking care of yourself, you will attract people who believe in your greatness, and your circle will change. You don’t need pity, you want to see progress, so choose the people who want to see that for you as much as you want to see that for yourself. Your growth will move some people out of your orbit, that’s ok. Some come in to our lives to teach us and aren’t meant to stay forever.
Learn the difference between power and control. We all have power within us to create, communicate, and design our lives the way we want to. There are different circumstances for all of us, but at the root is that beautiful God given freewill that gives us the ability to make our own choices. Notice I said our own choices, not anyone elses’s…that is where our power lies. Control is an illusion that takes away our power and makes us focus on the wrong things. Control is when we try to use our power to influence things outside of ourselves. Our power lies in our practice, not our results. Don’t spend your time trying to control outcomes, for you and especially not for your old relationship. Do your work, focus on your goals, and let your power fuel the fire to move you forward. Control is an illusion that steals our energy.
Practice Yoga. Yoga is breath, it is connection, and it creates the most beautiful free flow of energy I have ever experienced. It taught me to sit alone and truly feel instead of sitting alone and feeling numb. It taught me that I can do hard things, and that I am enough right where I stand today. Yoga is healing, and practiced by the most amazing community of non judging healers who accept without attachment to your story. It is a positive place to go when you need to get out and will do wonders for your mind, body and spirit. Enough said, just go.
Do not look at their social media. It may seem shallow, but in this day and age, it’s truth. It’s tempting at first, but I promise it will take you down the wrong rabbit hole that has nothing to do with your way forward. It doesn’t help you process pain or sadness. Basically, it’s an incredible waste of time and energy. Stay away, block them if you have to, not out of spite, but for your own emotional well being, it’s ok. Pretty soon you won’t even think about it anymore.
Forgive. I put this one last, it could be an entire blog topic in itself, and it takes time. Forgiveness happens in little moments, in realizing that we are all human, life is not perfect and that not one of us is defined by one choice that we have made in our lives. Forgiveness is the only healthy way forward. Being free is so much more important that being right, forgiveness comes easier when we realize that fact. Although we can learn from these painful experiences, eventually, forgiving has a lot to do with letting go of the ways you believe you were wronged. Use what you learned to set boundaries for next time, but know that most of the time, especially when it comes to matters of the heart, we hurt others from the place where we ourselves are hurting. That is not unique to a certain ‘type’ of person, it’s all of us. If you have ever wished to be forgiven, put your own forgiveness out into the world to heal.
In the end, the only thing that is finite is this life we have been given. The ups and downs and ebbs and flows teach us, but not a single one of them defines us. I sit here today, not ashamed of my story like I was two years ago, knowing that I make my own way forward, and confident that I have the skills to do that because of the work I have done. My highest hope is that I can break the cycle of generational pain that divorce, but more importantly the things that precede it create, by telling my story and helping other people process their own. If you are in the beginning of this process, know that no one feeling lasts forever, the tide will go in and out. Feel it, learn from it, and most importantly love yourself exactly where you are today, because that love is more important than the love that comes from any other person on this earth.