A difficult divorce is brutal.
It feels like we’ve lost everything: power, strength, courage, friends— it’s a shocking, painful jolt. Envisioning our future is difficult at best when all we see is wreckage.
When we’re going through a divorce, especially at first, we’re drowning in our conflicting emotions.
One minute our hearts feel broken; the next we’re next plotting revenge. The pain is crippling — we’d bargain almost anything to make it stop. Eventually, we cry ourselves into another sleepless night only to wake up to the same nightmare.
The days are hard to separate. Some are tougher than others— more so when we sit trapped with the raw, ugly truth of shattered dreams.
I’ve been there.
When my twenty-some-year marriage ended, I couldn’t grasp my next steps. How was I going to start over in mid-life as a single mom of nine? My kids needed me to be okay.
I knew I couldn’t stay broken, but I wasn’t quite sure how to fix myself. I couldn’t focus; all I could see were his broken promises.
We all have our own challenges, and regardless of what we’re facing, a difficult divorce is never easy.
Starting over takes much effort and courage — which is hard to find when our world is shattered into pieces.
It takes time to grieve, heal, and see the possibilities of a new life waiting for us.
Divorce is devastating. We all feel and mourn differently, and there isn’t a right or wrong way to get through it.
But there is one important thing to remember:
You have more control over your situation than you realize.
You have the power
Even if it doesn’t feel like it right now.
Feeling powerless weakens us — like we have no choice in our situation. While it’s true we can’t control our spouse’s actions; we have control over our own.
You can choose right now that you will not let this divorce define you.
To commit to becoming the best version of yourself.
I know it probably sounds like positive self-talk. But when you reclaim your power, you’re able to create a change within yourself and your situation.
There are many difficult truths we have to face in divorce.
When I found out my former spouse had been unfaithful, the betrayal ran deep. I’d trusted him with all my heart — I never thought he’d deceive me.
It felt so unfair — how could he just throw away everything we’d worked so hard for? The truth was painful —his loyalty and respect were a lie — I felt like such a fool.
But the reality is, people, sometimes even spouses, let us down.
Things change, sometimes without any warning. Change is the one thing we can count on in life, and often we have no control over these shifts.
But we get to choose to go along with the changes and make them work or step back and create a new plan. Only you know what works for you in your situation.
It probably won’t feel fair and likely be painful. But even when it seems like our life is falling apart, it’s often happening for a reason.
Sometimes, something has to break in order for us to realize it needs fixing. But the good part is it also opens doors for our new beginning.
Divorce doesn’t mean our life is over; even if you can’t see it yet. It does mean it’s time to pick up the pieces and rediscover what makes you whole.
Instead of placing focus on the uncertainty and pain of our situation, we need to focus on repairing ourselves. Reinventing ourselves in the best possible way. It won’t be instantaneous, and you’ll have to put in the work. But in the end, you’ll be rewarded in more ways than you imagined.
And that’s how you reclaim your power.
The daily choices we make either move us toward a better life or keep us stuck. It’s not an all-or-nothing type of thinking, and it won’t look perfect.
But when we choose to intentionally focus on ourselves and our growth each day, we’re one step closer to becoming the best version of ourselves.
It’s the one thing you have absolute control over right now.
Choose your focus
In a difficult divorce, there are so many parts we don’t get to choose.
Especially when it comes to spouses. Even if it feels like they’re attempting to upend our life in every possible way, we don’t control their behavior or actions.
But we do get to choose our response.
Our reaction is powerful. The attention we give their actions essentially adds fuel or puts out the fire — in our hearts, our days, and our life.
When we dwell and focus on them, we stay stuck.
It’s healthy to acknowledge how something is making us feel. And sometimes we need to spend a bit of time there. Especially in the beginning, grieving and processing matters.
But staying stuck in sadness isn’t helpful either. It’s easy to get caught up in our problems. And when that happens, we’re not moving toward healing.
When you’re caught in a negative cycle, purposely shift your attention elsewhere — each time you successfully do this, you’ll become stronger. And once you master this, it will influence all areas of your life.
When we focus on ourselves instead of them, life begins shifting in the best possible ways.
The choices you make determines thriving or simply surviving through a difficult divorce.
Moving forward takes effort and hard work; it’s not easy — but doable.
It’s essential to create purpose and goals in our days. To create a plan to make you whole again.
- What excites you? If it’s hard to answer, start by brainstorming what brought you joy before you married.
- What can you do right now to move toward a change today? What book can you order, who can you talk to, what seminar you can sign up for, or what group can you join?
- How can you recreate yourself? What have you always wanted to do but haven’t?
It basically comes down to this: Where do you want to be one year from now? Five years? Blinded by regret, bitterness, and feeling resentful or becoming the best version of yourself?
You owe it to yourself to reclaim you.
And once you do, remember it’s not perfect. There’ll be days that feel like you’re back at square one. It takes discipline to stay on track — to remain steady in our focus and purpose, and that’s not always easy.
But you can do this.
Positive choices move you forward. Day by day they bring you closer to the person you were always meant to be.
Your choices have the power to transform your life through a difficult divorce.
Choose wisely and don’t place too high of standards on yourself; it’s counterproductive.
As a good friend of mine likes to say, “it’s about progress, not perfection.”
If today wasn’t great, brush yourself off and acknowledge the good. And remember, tomorrow is a reset — a brand new day.
One of the most important things to remember
Even though divorce is brutal, you have the power within — even if it doesn’t feel like it right now.
One of the most important things to remember in a difficult divorce is this: You have more control over your situation than you realize.
And that’s empowering.
Choice by choice we rebuild our power, strength, and courage. Your future will be filled with possibilities rather than wreckage.
You’ll have more control over emotions instead of them controlling you. Some days will still be hard. But those days become less frequent as you regain your strength through your life-changing choices each day.
Take it one step at a time, but remain steadfast in your resolve to take back your power and become the best version of yourself.
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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