Divorce is one of those life events that forces huge changes in your life whether you like it or not. Moving on after divorce, no matter how strong a person you are, is challenging. I know from experience that divorce knocks the wind out of your sails—regardless of who’s at fault or what the circumstances are.
I’m doing great again. Nope, actually I’m better than great. But truthfully, I didn’t think I would ever get here again. Many of you probably are feeling that way right now. I’m writing to give you hope that things will turn out not only okay, but better than okay. OK?
First, this important announcement: There is no Emotional Rescue Squad coming to save you from all this new crap. Yeah, I know, it’s a bummer. You’re alone in your own head every day with a range of emotions—anger, relief, humiliation, depression and fear. You’re confused and overwhelmed at the same moment. Sometimes this goes on for years.
You might feel like a failure and unattractive, like you’ve lost the most valuable years of your life. Just for fun, let’s also throw in your new lack of confidence, getting easily annoyed, occasionally spewing venom , suppressed anger, emotional and physical exhaustion and a fairly incomprehensible aerial view of your life’s choices. Everyone else life seems to have their life together, while you don’t.
You also probably have a lot of new things to worry about ranging from money to work, child care and custodial arrangements, not to mention trying to figure out who the hell you are and what, or who you want in your life going forward.
Strap on your “attitude” darlin’ cause your seriously gonna need it for this phase. I truly believe “attitude” is everything and combined with a sense of humor, you will be armed for even the worst of days. I will warn you that this formula isn’t foolproof and it doesn’t work every day. But it sure works on most days as you move on from your old life to a brand new and BETTER one! Below are a few suggestions on how to keep your attitude adjusted:
- First off, make no mistake, it’s “you” against “you” every day. So you get to decide who wins. The dark you or the bright you.
- Keep in mind that you paralyze yourself by focusing on the things you don’t have and can’t do. Rather, focus on what you do have, and can do.
- Forgive yourself: Try not to beat yourself up—life can do that for you.
- Learn to create little victories for yourself and build on them. Shoot for one little thing each day that can show progress in a particular area of your life.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help: Women give too much and are too proud to ask for help. No one can read your mind.
- This new life is a work in progress, so you will need to learn patience. Masterpieces take time to create!
- You have a responsibility to your children to do everything in your power to keep their relationship with both parents warm, loving and civil, if possible. For better or worse, their lives were changed without their consent.
- Make yourself a deal that you will work on understanding yourself before trying to find a new partner. You now have permission slips to have temporary adult relationships to soothe your soul, but don’t introduce romantic partners to your kids unless it’s serious.
- Dig deep and find the courage to be proactive. No one’s stopping by to check on you each day; they have their own problems.
- Learn to let your perfectionism go: Each time you feel the pressure to get too many things done in a day, ask yourself which things really don’t matter and let them go. It’s freeing.
- Friends will take sides and this will hurt, but those who are true will be there to listen and will be there forever.
- If you’re a single working parent do everything in your power to make sure you find the best caretakers for your children. You will derive peace of mind when this is in place.
- You will be alone at family functions with or without your kids—get used to it.
- You will be dropping off your kids with their own suitcase and feel like crap. Then you will be all alone. You’ll either hate it or love it. Learn to use this time selfishly; it’s important and legal for you to have pleasure in your life.
- Find work that engages you and continue to build on your marketable skills. This will not only keep your mind stimulated, but it will help you toward earning more money—you’ll need it.
- Search for inspiration and feed your soul and mind with upbeat information.
- Make a list “Things To Do Before I Die” with all your dreams and aspirations, and fun things you’d like to do. And then start doing them and checking them off!
- You will learn to sleep alone but also to come and go as you please on your own schedule.
- It’s important for you to stay healthy! Exercise raises serotonin in your brain and helps fight depression.
- Force yourself to stay involved with people and socialize for business and pleasure.
- When you think you don’t have the strength, dig deeper. You’ll be amazed at what you never knew was inside of you.
Also remember you’re not alone. There are many others living your lifestyle who understand and are there for you, especially now. FWW is a community for divorced women that is truly making a difference. We are there to support each other. We are about women helping women and spreading the message that divorce isn’t the end, it’s really a new beginning.