How Self-Love Can Save You During Divorce
A few weeks ago, I felt an immense fear hanging over me like a dark cloud. My divorce was looming and I knew that I needed to pause as fear began to take over my mind, and anxiety coursed through my body.
Something that isn’t talked about much is the emotional toll that divorce takes on you and the wild ride of emotions you’ll inevitably encounter. Even if you have years to settle in to the idea of your marriage ending, there are still multiple phases that you have to adapt to.
There’s denial, pain and mourning the loss of a relationship you’ve worked hard to build. Then, alternately, there are days that feel hopeful, exciting—the promise of a brighter future on the horizon. Some days you’re moving through it with ease; other days, it’s like getting a frostbitten hand amputated—your hand is already useless, but what will it be like when it’s completely gone? Divorce truly is embracing a new normal day-by-day and sometimes minute-by-minute.
In Order to Heal, You Must Feel
When it feels the hardest, I try to express gratitude for my own “journey of awakening,” as it was on this path that I went through a lot of pain and challenge. Along the way I learned so many valuable lessons and the one that always takes center stage during divorce, or any big transition, really, is this—in order to heal, you must feel.That means feeling the good and bad, the highs and lows of each life experience. You must sit with the triggers and emotions that come along with it; the anger, bitterness, hurt and fear. You have to allow it to flow and take its course in order to release it and move on.
Preparing for divorce creates a long to-do list and it’s easy to become focused on checking off boxes and pushing through to the finish line, assuring yourself that when you get there you will inevitably be just fine. However, I’ve also been a distance runner most of my life and I’ve learned that just like a race, divorce is a marathon, not a sprint. In fact, if you don’t pace yourself, you may reach a point where you finally realize, “I’m depleted and I don’t feel that I’ve accomplished anything.” It’s where feelings of loss, loneliness and self-consciousness can meet a point of no return.
This is the time when it’s most important to wrap yourself in the deepest self-love you can find to help you keep your sense of self and stay grounded throughout the process. It takes time, commitment and work, but all the best things in life do. After going through the challenging emotions of divorce, here’s my advice for both staying sane and living from a place of deep self-love and compassion.
How to Use Self-Love to Get Through Divorce
1. Allow for Grief
No matter how you slice it, divorce is an ugly thing. Grief can come in waves as you go through the healing process, and the trauma that you endure can get pretty heavy and intense. Sadly, there is generally no way of walking out totally un-scarred, but you can take a different approach to managing grief.
Our first reaction to pain is to numb it, push it down, take it away—that’s a natural human instinct. I used to do this as well, continuing to up my prescription of anti-depressants when the going got rough. I now begin by sitting with the tough feelings and making space for painful moments, and I’m usually amazed at how much more quickly I’m able to learn a lesson and then move past it.
Leading up to my divorce, I felt into all the pain and fears that were presenting themselves to me. I wanted to honor my family by grieving it in its entirety because no matter how the journey went for us, I am forever grateful for what this chapter has taught me. And let’s be honest, the lessons were many!
2. Avoid Burnout
As women, we try to do everything and be there for everyone, but when you feel burnout creeping in and your to-do list getting longer, the best thing to do is pause, sit and focus on your breathe. In the moment, this may feel impossible, but it will help you re-focus on what’s important and get you back on track. These moments of pause are also a gentle reminder that you don’t need to solve every problem right this second (even though your brain is shouting at you to do just that), but instead, allow yourself to take it day-by-day, and at the toughest times, moment-by-moment.
3. Get Support
This is so important to healing in any situation. Keeping yourself in isolation, or relying on family members alone to support you isn’t enough. Look for support in the form of coaching, therapy, spiritual work and healing modalities like Reiki, meditation and journaling. Make yourself worth the investment!
I’ve found in the last several weeks that instead of shutting out the world as my heart told me to, I surrounded myself with my soul family and all the shamans and healers I had met along my journey. I focused only on the present moment and I made sure my son and I really got to soak up our beautiful home before we left to create a new one.
4. Stop Judging + Let Your Feelings Take Center Stage
You’re entering a whole new period in your life—that’s a big deal! No matter what anyone says, you don’t need to have everything figured out. When you don’t feel like you’ve got everything handled, or that you’re strong enough to get through it, remember that it’s okay if you aren’t feeling like superwoman every day. It’s ok to feel the pain and process it however you see fit.
Also, be open and honest with the people closest to you. Don’t hide what you’re going through; tell them what you need. As women, it’s hard for us to only receive support without feeling obligated to give it back. However, this is a time in your life when you can do just that. If friends and family can’t accept that you are only looking for support and won’t be offering up anything in return, then re-consider having them in your life at this time.
5. Trust Yourself
Another thing we forget when we encounter change is that we have everything we need within us and that we’re strong, powerful and capable. If you’ve forgotten this, I’m going to remind you right now that you:
- don’t need another person to tell you how awesome you are.
- aren’t a failure because your marriage didn’t work out.
- may feel like a part of you has died, which in many ways it has—but the truth is, with every part of you that dies in this process there is an opportunity for understanding, growth and finally, rebirth.
6. A Mantra A Day…
My most important advice? Wrap yourself in the most immense self-love you can possibly conjure up and repeat this phrase daily: “I am powerful, resilient and capable of anything.”
A love note for the women out there going through this with me: Please take care of yourself during this massive time of transition. Your emotional and mental well-being should be of the utmost importance. Look within for that peace you so desperately deserve. See this time as a gift of understanding that love lies within you and no matter the circumstances no one can ever take that away.
Let’s all toast to a life that you can make your own again. It’s time to soar—you just have to take that leap of faith and imagine the amazing life waiting for you on the ground.
Interested in more self-love tips? Here are three easy ways to start today.