Why does divorce have to be so hard?
I mean, once our decision is made, it should be onward and forward. But instead, it can shatter our world as we know it.
The day I had my lawyer draw up the papers, conflicting emotions bombarded me — sadness, frustration, remorse, and exhaustion. But somewhere deep down there was a relief the decision was over.
I second-guessed myself over and over, but I knew staying in our marriage was no longer healthy or possible.
I still couldn’t quite grasp the reality of being a single mother. It hadn’t been in the plans. But neither was the breakdown of our marriage — or his affair.
Starting over felt impossible, yet I’d already dug in my heels, and I was determined to make it.
Letting go is a long and challenging process — even when you know it’s the best thing.
It takes time to separate our lives. To make sense of our new world. For our hearts to catch up with reality.
But even if it’s hard to imagine right now, it’s also an opportunity to fully reinvent ourselves.
Stepping Into Your New Life
It can feel like we’ve failed and let everyone down, especially when kids are involved.
Breaking the news to my kids was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I never wanted to cause them this kind of pain. They had no fault, yet they were going to pay a high price.
Though there was nothing I could do to change the situation, I could make sure I gave them the best version of myself. To be the best mom I could be.
And that meant getting myself back to okay.
Leaving our marriage and life behind as we know it isn’t easy. So be gentle with yourself; take the necessary time. Work through your pain and loss — and then use it to motivate you.
- Invest in self-care. Divorce messes with our mental, emotional, and physical health. Make time for yourself every day. Try 10 minutes each morning and evening. Do what works for you; there isn’t a right or wrong way.
- Lean on healthy support systems. If there’s ever a time we need support, it’s now. Friends, family, books, therapy — any or all. Asking for help is not a weakness but a superpower that improves our lives in every possible way.
- Get outside every day. It’s essential to stay connected to the outside world. Walk, drive, go to a coffee shop. Getting out of the house changes our mood and energy. Staying stuck in our thoughts only holds us back.
When we start rearranging and reorganizing our life, it’s a continual work in progress. There’ll be days when it feels like you’re taking two steps back. It’s normal. Every day is a new day to start fresh.
Embrace and accept change
The one certainty in life is change.
And even though we know change is inevitable, it’s not always easy to embrace.
Letting go of what we thought our life was supposed to be is a necessary part of moving on.
I’ve found that keeping an open mind is key. It’s good to have a clear picture of what we want and expect. But when the unexpected happens, we have to be open to changing courses.
I thought I knew how my life would play out, but I was wrong. And then I realized I couldn’t stay fixated on what should’ve been. When we do that, it’s nearly impossible to see what can be.
When we embrace possibilities, our perspective shifts. We make room in our life for new adventures, people, and traditions. We see different doors opening and realize that everything has a way of working out.
Life can be pretty amazing, even when it looks completely different than what we thought.
“The direction you choose to face determines whether you’re standing at the end or the beginning of a road.” — Richelle E. Goodrich
Redesigning your identity
It‘s important to take time for self-reflection.
It may feel difficult, but it’s worth taking the time. Until I did this, I hadn’t realized how much I’d set aside for the sake of compromise, peace, and happiness. It’s easy to put off our desires when it’s for the greater good.
Figuring out what makes us happy offers the opportunity to redesign our life — exactly how we want.
Stick with it, and dig deep. Leaving our comfort zone is challenging, but it’s important to step outside. It’s how we create new beginnings and make positive changes.
Give yourself time to relearn what fulfills you.
Questions worth consideration
What improvements and changes would you like to see? Both now and in the future. Address all areas of your life — family, work, physical, emotional, and mental.
A few places to start:
- What brings you joy?
- What are your priorities?
- Do you like where you live?
- Are you happy with your appearance?
- Is your career fulfilling?
- What are your non-negotiables?
- How do you want to improve your mental and physical health?
- Where do you want to be in one year? Five years? Ten Years?
- Who do you want to become?
“So what do we do? Anything. Something. So long as we just don’t sit there. If we screw it up, start over. Try something else. If we wait until we’ve satisfied all the uncertainties, it may be too late.” — Lee Iacocca
Once you have your answers, you’re able to determine what goals to start working towards.
I’m a big believer in being intentional with our actions each day.
It’s the day-to-day habits that bring us closer to or further from our goals. Start anywhere — but make them easy and doable. I started with 10-minute habits in the morning. It was a perfect transition for easing into positive change.
When we make it too hard, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and give up— no matter how motivated we feel.
Small wins lead to bigger wins. We build momentum with each positive habit.
Once you’ve mastered your day-to-day, start incorporating more goals and challenges that fit in with your new life design.
One step at a time.
I also suggest tracking your habits/goals for accountability and motivation.
Keeping a journal or a digital record of progress is concrete proof of our growth. In addition, we can see our triggers for staying on and getting off track.
From tracking, I’ve learned yoga and meditation are my foundation for a productive day. When I skip them, I tend to easily let other things slide. But when I do them, I’m more likely to stay accountable.
Good attracts good.
We all have our own standards for the ideal start to our day. It may be as simple as making your bed or listening to an inspiring podcast.
What starts your mornings right every time? There isn’t a right or wrong answer; just find what grounds and motivates you to have your best day.
Over time, tracking shows us our patterns, bringing much awareness and knowledge.
Divorce is hard.
Stepping into our new life isn’t always easy, even when we know it’s the best thing. But no matter what’s happened, we’re responsible for taking action and focusing on our growth. Once we know what we want, we can then design our habits and our life to reach our goals.
Transforming your life might feel impossible right now. But when we put in the work, we’re able to move on in a healthy way. And while divorce might shatter our world, it’s also an opportunity to fully reinvent ourselves.
To become the person we always knew we could be.
When we embrace change, our life flows smoother. It may not be the plan we envisioned, but life has a way of opening doors we never imagined possible.
⮕ Mornings are the foundation of our day. It matters how we start them. Get your copy of 10-Minute Habits to Transform Your Morning
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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