I was recently asked the question “How do you get over divorce?” It’s a big question with several dimensions and lots of moving parts. How long were you married? Do you have children between you? Getting over the emotional, the financial, or the living alone aspects? Oh, you meant all of it! Well, I’m not a therapist, but I do have experience and what I’ve learned is…humility, gratitude, forgiveness, curiosity, love, honesty, meditation, and the importance of examination.
Examination, humility, love, honesty, curiosity…First, let’s be very clear that marriage takes two people. Two people committed to each other, sharing life together, willing to compromise on individual wants for the good of the whole. Marriage works best if each person knows themselves well, knows their needs, their wants and has well established boundaries. Marriage isn’t easy. If you are contemplating divorce or in the process, or even long after the event, you should examine yourself closely. What are your needs? Did you expect your partner to meet your needs? Did you meet his? Can you meet your own needs? If you don’t love and respect yourself, how can you expect others to love and respect you? What do you love about yourself? Your partner? Why did you get together in the first place? What are your desires? Do you have boundaries and how do you exercise them? Can you honor the boundaries and needs of your spouse? As you process these questions, you can work on some of the things below.
Gratitude…OK, let’s start with the easy part: living alone. Look around your home. Stop and really look. Notice what is there. Be grateful for everything you see and don’t see. Move the furniture where you want it. Do you like a sponge or a rag at the kitchen sick? Which towels are your favorite? Put them in the bathroom now. Move through the home and create the space you want it with the things that make you happy. Get rid of (give away or sell) what you don’t like or what you just don’t need or want. Clearing out the old, or repurposing it, will completely change the energy. Create new routines for the morning and evening that give you what you need. If there are children involved, let them help establish the new routines. Experiment with new ways of doing things: make it a game. This can actually be fun!
Gratitude, humility, grace, love, curiosity…Moving past the financial part can be very hard. Do you currently have a means for an income? If not, suddenly having to get a job and one that pays a wage you can live within, may be difficult. If you haven’t worked in 20 years and now have too, it may take a long time to overcome this hurdle. Gratitude for learning new skills, for learning a new way of being, for helping you see experience your true grit! Exercise humility as you learn and grow. Be open to what is in front of you and do your best to not resist the inevitable change.
Self Examination with love and curiosity…The emotional part of divorce is a bit more complicated. Your life is here for you. The person you are divorcing is not here to punish you or make you miserable. Practice forgiveness. Forgiveness means you accept what happened and you accept that you cannot change it or the outcome. You can however, change how you feel about what happened. You can shift your mindset. And when you do that, the long term ramifications change. Perhaps look at the relationship as a lesson. What have you learned so far? Your life is about you and his life is about him. Were you misunderstood? Was he? Did your partner do his best to give what they knew how to give, could give? Did you? Maybe you didn’t understand that or you needed something different. Or maybe, what you received is exactly what you needed so that you are in this space today having learned some amazing lessons! You do have control over your life, you have personal power. Notice what went well in the relationship. Notice what didn’t go so well. Find gratitude in the good and the ugly parts, the lessons will appear.
The pain is real. It’s a huge stab to your ego after all, but it will get better. It has been said that we humans have 2 emotions: Love and Fear. When it comes to change, fear moves to the forefront and it becomes intense. Recognize that you are fearful. It’s normal. Feel it. Accept it. Once you accept the fear it will dissipate. If you want to break down the fear and identify the feelings; anger, frustration, guilt, shame, unworthiness, inadequacy, etc… you will learn much about yourself and grow quickly. Love yourself for having these feelings as they inform you and help you grow, but don’t get caught up in the feelings. Just notice them, how you react to them, what triggers them and let them go. They will have served their purpose once you learn from them.
Be present with curiosity…What does that really mean? Stop. Take a big deep breath and blow it out. Slowly, take 6 more. What do you notice? Being present is being in this moment, right now, fully, with open curiosity and non-judgement. Start with your body. Are your muscles tight? How you feel, really physically feel? Whose voice is judging you right now? How’s your energy? Do you have pain? Are you tired? Is it mental, emotional or physical fatigue? Just notice it. No judgement. Just be present. Notice what you are noticing.
Gratitude. Have gratitude for all that is happening. Your life is here for YOU. What are you learning in this current situation? Take a few moments each day to sit with gratitude. Involve the children in this too. It’s easy to run the blame game. It maintains your anger and raises your stress hormones keeping you in a constant state of agitation and unhappiness. It doesn’t help you. It hurts you. Practice gratitude and soft belly breathing every day. You’ll feel much better.
Learn how to meditate. It’s SELF LOVE. ‘Meditation is a practical means for calming yourself, for letting go of your biases and seeing what is, openly and clearly. It is a way of training the mind so that you are not distracted and caught up in its endless churning. Meditation teaches you to systematically explore your inner dimensions. It is a system of commitment, not commandment. You are committing to yourself, to your path, and to the goal of knowing yourself. It is a universal requirement of the human body.’ This quote is taken from Yoga International. Meditation is a practice. You don’t learn it in a day, it’s a lifetime commitment. Meditation will not only help you overcome divorce it will support you and guide you in every aspect of your life.
These are lessons I have learned going through divorce. I imagine there are many other things you may find helpful. But, the most important thing I can tell you is tap into your heart, daily. All the love, all the answers you seek, are in your heart.