Let’s be brutally honest here, there is nothing pleasant about divorce. It’s about endings, rupture, disunion. It brings up feelings of sadness, pain, anger, fear. The words I uttered the day I stood in my kitchen, “I want a divorce” still turn my stomach so violent is the power of them.
Divorce very often brings out the worst in people. Wounds need licking, feelings boil over, years of anger and resentment surface, all real human feelings that come to the fore when we are in fight or flight mode and battling for what we believe is rightfully ours.
We can let divorce become our story, we can become the victim — if we choose. Or we can choose something else entirely. We can choose to move beyond the pain and the grief and the anger and live a life thriving beyond that. We can learn from our divorce rather than let it define us.
“I’m stepping out into the great unknown; I’m feeling wings though I’ve never flown.” Joss Stone
So, what does it mean to thrive after divorce?
I knew I wanted to have a renewed vigour for life. I wanted to be excited about each day and get my mojo back. I wanted to believe and trust in myself and my abilities to support my family. Thriving after divorce for me meant nourishing my body, mind and soul. It was about seeing possibilities rather than problems. It was about risking more and stepping outside of my comfort zone. It was about growth, respecting myself and living authentically.
So what did I do? How did I get to this place of thriving?
I learned some life lessons, some keys steps that took me from a very difficult place to one where I was finally at peace and content with my life. They are not hard and fast rules, they are my stages, the agreements I made with myself. Take from them what resonates with you, chuck the rest. I hope it enables you to be curious about your own life, to get thinking about how you can move your life forward. If you can work with a coach, you will find it invaluable. A coach will hold you accountable to your resolution and commitment to move your life forward.
“At any given moment, you have the power to say: This is not how the story is going to end.” ~ Christine Mason Miller
5 Steps to Thriving after Divorce
Acceptance: Accept the situation that you’re in. You are divorced or in the process of divorcing. No amount of wishing things were different will change that. It only holds you back. When you accept, then you can begin to make positive changes in your life.
Courage: Sometimes it means being battle ready, sometimes courage is simply asking for help and support. It takes courage to stand on your own two feet and begin believing in yourself.
Clarity: Begin to create a picture for the life you want after divorce. What do you want? What does it look like? How do you want to feel? Clarity often begins with knowing what we no longer want in our lives and how we no longer want to feel.
Non-judgment: If we can begin to not judge ourselves, we can learn not to judge others. People usually behave badly out of fear. If we can have compassion, it goes a long way to helping us become more understanding and eventually we learn to forgive ourselves and others.
Self-responsibility: No one is responsible for your life except you. It’s time to stand up and stop blaming others. Taking full responsibility for your own life sends a powerful signal that you’re moving forward with your life.
I know how tough it is, there are days that you’re not sure if you’re making any progress at all. And that’s okay. Looking after yourself is the most important thing. I know it. I worked my way through these 5 steps sometimes very, very slowly.
To help you, I’ve put together an online programme to help you go From Survive to Thrive, it’s something I wish I’d had at my fingertips at the time. Take a look at it, read all about it and perhaps you’ll find it’s exactly what you’ve been looking for. If you’d like a talk it through beforehand or you have some questions book yourself a free introductory call with me.
This first appeared on The Huffington Post.