You may think I am talking about who gets the t.v., the dog or those dollar bills, but I am actually talking about emotional side of divorce and coming out of it with a mindset that you are where you are, you have been where you have been, and no matter what happens you will rock it. But only if you believe that to be true!
It is said that dealing with divorce is like dealing with death, and from personal experience, I agree. It is the removal of a supposed constant in your life but the glaring difference, that it leaves you with the opportunity to change, learn, and grow in your own life and in your relationships.
I chose the number 24 because it has been 24 months since I split from my ex-husband after 7 years of marriage. It has been in the back of my mind a little bit because when I look back on the past two years I can look with a fresh perspective and tell myself that it was not as difficult as I thought it was and am pretty proud of myself that I made it through.
The truth is, it was as difficult as I remember it to be and I still did make it out ok!
With the heartache of a failed relationship I also had a whole other host of fears about independence, supporting myself, the future, relationships, living arrangements, having enough, being enough, doing enough and to top it all off I had to deal with chronic back pain the first 365 days of being on my own, which you can read about here.
I’m pretty sure I cried everyday for the first 6 months, talked to my family on the phone everyday, and did my best to sooth my fears of the unknown. It wasn’t so much about the past, it was about the future. “Would I be ok?” I spent many a mornings peeking out from underneath the pillow covering my face, trying to convince myself to go to work, get outside, telling myself all I had to do was take the first step. And it worked. Because the first step didn’t seem as bad as feeling like I had to transform my entire life, which I was kinda was.
Here are 24 things that got me through the past 2 years and left me feeling like I came out on top of this life altering challenge, not below. I repeated these things days in, day out for over a year and still repeat them to this day. It is not really waking up one day and saying. “I did it. I am over it.” It is the culmination of all these things repeated over and over and over again.
1. Be open to the possibilities ahead. In the moment this is a tough perspective but instead of focusing on what you are unable to do, focus on the potential opportunities. Deciding you can’t do something or have something immediately cuts you off from the possibility. Deciding you do have options and opportunities at least gives you a chance.
2. Let people help you. Whether it is friends, family, or a therapist. Whether they help you monetarily, by listening or by helping you move. Let people help you. Do not try to do it all on your own. I had SO many people reach out in so many ways and for that I am forever grateful.
3.Give yourself the benefit of the doubt. You are only doing your best, as we all are.
4. Know that “This too shall pass.” This is an amazing quote my uncle introduced me to over 10 years back and it as always stayed in my mind that no matter how difficult (or joyful) a moment/time period is, it will pass.
5. Read daily affirmations. This helped me for a solid 4 minutes each day. I would wake up, read a page of positivity and love and be inspired. And then within minutes after I would have my head under the pillow not wanting to face the world. BUT those minutes added up to hours that I know helped inspire me and make it through that first year. Just that constant reminder of all the beauty in life and that everything would work out one way or another.
6.Get over how you envision your life to be and focus on what is currently is. This is one of the easiest ways to lessen misery. Detach any thoughts about the should’s and the what is’s and focus on the reality of the situation. And the potential of the situation.
7. Find a hobby. I started a blog. This has been something I have always wanted to do, more so to share my health and fitness passion but I have realized along that way that our own personal stories can have a greater effect on others. Because when it comes to our core we all deal with similar struggles and challenges and it helps to know that we are not alone in the journey.
8.View it as period of growth and learning. When we “fail” or things do not work out as planned, look at what you learned from the experience and how it helped make you a better person. You will find something, I promise!
9. Try not to take what other people think or say personally. You become very brave and courageous during this time because everyone has an opinion , questions or a judgement. It is easy to get caught up in what other people say or take words to heart but without getting caught up in their added input you just live out your story the way it was intended.
10. Find your way back to your friends. Your friends circle definitely changes during this time which is very saddening but you also reconnect with your friends who you know will always be there for you no matter what. It is a great reminder in the value and beauty of friendship. You know the true friends will not stray far.
11. You find your way back to yourself. Who am I? What do I want out of relationships and life? What do I need to do to get there? Ask yourself these questions.
12. Take your future into your own hands. In my case it was just me. I had to transition from lax part time work and become a women working to support herself completely and this was really scary for me. But you know what, I did what I need to do to make that happen. I added hours at work and started my online biz and now I am super focused and passionate in my career. Relying on myself has been very empowering.
13. Practice the worst case scenario. In my situation, my worst case scenario would be that I had to move back home with my mom. I decided that if I couldn’t support myself or the stress of it was too much, that is what I would do. Was it ideal? No. But I love my mom and I could envision coffee mornings on the couch chatting about all the blessings in life. It wouldn’t be a terrible situation to be in.
14. Practice forgiveness and let go of resentment. Holding onto resentment hurts one person the most, you! Not the other person. It allows us to get so worked up about our own issues, while that other person is probably not even thinking about them.When we forgive others we give ourself emotional freedom. Nothing is worse than being tied down to past regret, anger and frustration.
15. Don’t let it define you. It is something that happened not to you, but for you. It defines your story but not you as a person.
16. Take 100% responsibility in the situation. Don’t result to playing the victim card. When we build our case for why everything is happening to us we are seeking agreement from others to help convince ourselves that control in our lives is outside us. The situation will play out as it will but how we view it is in our control. This is tough, tough stuff that can be hard to admit at first.
17. Be a little selfish. As in be selfish with your newfound independent self and do the things you want to do. Eat dinner when you want to. Go on a trip you have been promising yourself. Spend a little extra money on something special.
18. Don’t bash the situation or the person. When we do this on a constant basis we make it all about “me” and find power in seeking attention and putting other people down. It is actually a great revelation of our own insecurities.
19. Get excited. Even through each and every struggle I had this hint of excitement of a fresh start, a new beginning and a chance to reinvent myself, not drastically but in anyway I saw fit.
20. Re invent yourself. A divorce doesn’t need to be the only reason for you to do this but often times we get so attached to who we are from a couple standpoint that we often forego our dreams, desires and wishes. Sometimes we forego our authenticity as a person. It is not wrong or right, but I encourage you, divorce or not, relationship or not, re invent yourself if the way you are living or being does not match your authentic self.
21. Take away the thoughts you attach to it. You have complete control over your thoughts. And yes it is emotional and you will have moments of sadness and anger and that is totally ok. BUT you decide if you linger in them or how much of your day and outlook they will effect. Feel your emotions and then move on. And when I say move on, I mean move on in the moment because this whole process can take years for some. And that is ok!
22. Remind yourself that you are enough. Because you are.
23. Believe in love again. It is possible. 🙂
24. Own your story.You may feel the need to defend your decisions and defend your story but let me tell you, the best way to come out on top, is to own who you are and the story of you life. This is my story, take it or leave.