Going through a divorce is a life changing event! It requires a complete rebuild of your life and the emotional toll can be overwhelming at times. No matter what the specific circumstances of your divorce, one thing you don’t need is to get caught up in self-abusive practices that prolong your suffering and make a difficult situation even worse!
Here are three ways you can love yourself after your divorce.
Acknowledge your feelings
One of the worst things you can do is bury your feelings, this just leads to prolonging your suffering. Embracing your feelings can be scary, but trust me the alternative is worse. A divorce will bring on a flood of emotions, your life has been turned upside down and there is bound to be anger, frustration, hurt, fear overwhelm and numerous other emotions. If we do not embrace these, they are sure to get louder, stronger and more debilitating! SO how do you embrace your emotions? An easy way to start is by simply naming them when they come up. For example, when you start to feel anger, name it “I am feeling angry”. By acknowledging the feeling, it has less power. In fact, emotions only physically last only 90 seconds in our bodies (Jill Bolte Taylor’s book, A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey). This may seem unreal, but what keeps the emotion lasting longer are the stories that we tell ourselves and the messages we send that keep fueling the fire! Acknowledge the feeling without judgement, take a couple deep breaths and let the emotion pass. If you find that you are struggling to let the emotions pass, remember this is a skill like any other – it takes practice! If you are feeling overwhelmed with your emotions or are really struggling with letting them pass, consult a professional for assistance.
Forgiveness is HUGE! If we get caught in an internal dialogue where we shame and blame ourselves, we are going down a path of self- destruction. In these types of situations our inner critic is bound to show up saying things such as “you didn’t…”, “you should have…”, “this is all your fault”, “you deserve this” and on and on it goes. Getting caught in this, is helpful for no one! Practicing forgiveness is a powerful tool that you can use to keep your inner critic in check. We all make mistakes, we all wish that we could have done something differently. This is a part of being human, but beating yourself up for it won’t change the past. Forgive yourself, you are human!
Along with the forgiveness piece is recognizing that you also have the capacity to learn and grow from these “mistakes”. Identify the lesson you have learned, forgive yourself and move on. It can be as simple as that!
You are suffering, it is difficult, you need and deserve your own care and compassion! Think about it, if you have ever helped a friend through a difficult time – did you expect them to just get over it? Did you expect them to suck it up and move on? Of course not! You were there to support them and you deserve this compassion too! Come up with some ways that you can nurture yourself. Make a list of activities that bring you joy and vow to yourself to schedule them into your routine. Come up with a practice that suits you as a way of showing care and concern for yourself. Maybe it’s words of compassion stated during meditation time or writing yourself uplifting notes of support and love. Whatever it may be, create a practice that helps you cultivate a sense of compassion for yourself.
These tools by no means take away the hardship of a divorce, there will be struggles, it will get difficult at times, but using these tools can make those times a little easier. Using these will help you stay in a stronger state of mind so that you can face it like a warrior. This is one chapter in your life, it doesn’t have to be the whole story! You are in the process of writing your next chapter and, as the author, you can make it however you want it to be!