Three steps to help you rise from the depths of emotional despair and move forward on the road to recovery.
Step One: Believe in yourself! You are a survivor, and you will get through this. It doesn’t seem possible at the moment, but life will go on. And you deserve to be happy. Ask yourself, in a perfect world, what would that new life look like? Who’s in it? What are you doing? Where are you living? What passions are you enjoying? Think about the ultimate goal of where you want to be when you get through ‘this part’. Your end goal of where, what, and who you want to be when you get through the pain you are in right now.
When my divorce was finalized, I was still trying to survive the pain. To stop the hurt. It was hard to imagine a future, but I wanted to believe that I was worthy; to get out of bed and to stop crying. To protect my children, and help them through the pain THEY were going through. Oh yes! That was the most important thing. My children. Nothing puts a mother in survival mode faster than protecting her children! And, then, I began to dream that I might actually be happy someday? Oh God. Is that possible? And, maybe, just maybe, a career -- not just a job -- I’ve got to support myself and my kids – but wouldn’t it be great to do something meaningful, that I actually liked, and not live paycheck to paycheck? That’s up there. And, as long as we are dreaming, I would love to someday be a content, satisfied woman working in a field that I enjoyed. My children would see a mother that was strong, funny, confident, and smart. Bonus, but not integral, was a loving partner by my side. Ok. There we go. I have a dream. An end goal of where I’d like to end up. Right now, I’m a slobbering, blubbering idiot. But, in the deep recesses of my mind -- THAT’s what I want for myself. If you can begin to develop a clear vision of what you ultimately want your life to look like, you can begin to identify the steps to get there.
Step Two: You can’t chart your new course without knowing where you are. You must acknowledge what you are going through, as much as you don’t like it. Acknowledge your pain. Divorce is one of the most difficult challenges a person can face, similar to the death of a loved one. Only, you are mourning the loss of someone who is still alive. But, it’s still a death. Death of the relationship and life and future you thought you had. Respect your need to grieve. To mourn. To cry. Give yourself permission to be sad. Don’t let it consume you, but allow yourself to recognize that you are in pain and have to deal with it before you can move forward. In doing so, you are creating a foundation for the healing process. And, healing is the gift we give ourselves when we acknowledge our brokenness, and our pain. You can’t change history, but you can start where you are and change your future. Gently confront your new reality, and reconcile yourself to it. Accept your new normal. There is peace in acceptance.
Step Three: Seek out a support network. Evaluate that support network. If it’s lacking, bring in reinforcements. This is your team, and teams strengthen the cause. Right now – the cause is you. You need to build a support team of friends, colleagues, family, advisors, and mentors. A highly trained special unit of allies and accomplices with a variety of skills and diverse talents. Sometimes small. Sometimes large. But always strong enough to support you emotionally, and knowledgeable enough to guide you to success. They will benefit you with there support, and keep you accountable when you stumble or lose your way. Your support team with ebb and flow as your journey moves forward. Some members are friends you have now, the counselor you haven’t made an appointment with yet, or the stranger you are yet to meet. Life is like an elevator, and at some stops we have to let a few people off, and make room for others to get on. Surround yourself with positive support.