In part one of this series, we looked at six steps to building your post-divorce confidence. In part two, we’ll look at the final six steps. If you haven’t read part one go back and read it—it’s the foundation for the next steps!
Don’t expect yourself to bounce back immediately. Divorce will kick your butt, and no matter how bad the marriage was, you are going to be in recovery for a while. Still, making small, positive steps toward building up your confidence is the best way to regain your life. When you feel like you have taken a backward step (or a leap), just get back on your feet and move forward again. You’ll get there—even if it doesn’t feel like it now.
Step Seven: Update Your Wardrobe
This is actually more important than you think. I know that I came out of my 30-year marriage looking and feeling old. I felt dumpy and blah—I looked that way, too. By taking time to have my hair done, to update my makeup and wardrobe a little, and to work out a bit more, I feel better and look better, which makes me more confident. The extra couple of pounds I tend to carry bother me a lot less when I don’t look like I jumped off the “People of Walmart” website!
Even if money is tight, there are a lot of ways to update your wardrobe on a shoestring. Go shopping with a friend and try on everything that interests either one of you. If she tells you to try it on, just do it! Often our friends see us more realistically than we see ourselves.
You aren’t looking at price tags; you just want to see what looks good on you now. I wasn’t dressing much differently than I did at 18 when I got my divorce. I wore jeans and tee shirts mostly. My body, however, had changed a lot! I don’t look good in the same stuff.
Once you know what you look good in, you can check out thrift shops, online second-hand stores, eBay, and other places to get similar items at a fraction of the price. Take all the time you need to build your look at a price you can afford.
Step Eight: Hone Your Flirting Skills
No, I am not sending you out to find a husband, but good flirting is a boost to the confidence. I am not talking about leading someone on or making it sexual, even. I am talking about relearning the art of light conversation and banter.
One of the best ways to do that is to join a good dating site. Again, you aren’t looking for a marriage partner, but I know from experience that texting with a member of the opposite sex who finds you interesting and attractive is a lot of fun. You begin to define yourself in new ways.
And it builds you up—causes you to look at yourself in a new way.
Here’s a caution, though. If you have a tendency to get clingy and needy, or if you think you will fall into a relationship for the wrong reasons, you should steer clear of this for now. You are going online for a friend, someone to talk to, not a relationship. And you need to make that very clear from the beginning so you won’t be leading anyone on, either.
Talking to someone online allows you to relearn communication skills without having to have those embarrassing slips of the tongue. Maybe you don’t get those, but I do. It’s much better for me to communicate through the written word until I know someone well enough to be comfortable. I am shy, and I tend to blurt out stupid things in person.
Step Nine: Take a Class
Taking a class to sharpen an old skill or learn a completely new one accomplishes several things. For one, you’ll be building your confidence while mastering a skill. Plus, you’ll be out meeting people, building friendships, and practicing those social skills that have gotten rusty. This is especially important if you’ve been a stay-at-home mom.
We get in the habit of just being around the kids and the husband—being the robot that handles the chores—and we forget that we are vibrant, interesting people! You run into the same issue when you have been working with the same people for a long time. It’s the old "familiarity breeds contempt" thing.
Step Ten: Do Something Out of the Ordinary
We get to the point where we do the same things, day in and day out, and pretty soon we are in a deep, boring rut. Try to do one thing (at least) every day that is out of character for you. If you always wear low heels to work, wear some spikes. If you always eat Cheerios with Splenda, then eat an apple with peanut butter.
Fear keeps you from moving on. Escort yourself out of your comfort zone. You’ll never know what you really like to do if you don’t try new things, right?
Step Eleven: Celebrate Something Every Day
Find something worth celebrating every day. Buy yourself flowers because you didn’t get a run in your pantyhose. Have a glass of champagne (or Moscato—it’s cheaper) to celebrate the gorgeous sunset. Take the evening off to celebrate your freedom. It doesn’t have to be a big, giant thing to be worth acknowledgment.
Step Twelve: Keep a Journal
Everyone needs a place where they can be totally honest and express their innermost feelings without worrying about others' judgment. A journal can help you get to the bottom of what’s been bothering you, and help you look back and see where your focus has been off. It’s also a record of how much you are growing! Try to write in it every day—even if it’s just a few lines.
What Are Your Experiences?
Are there any other things you’d add to this list? Are there things you disagree with? Leave a comment and let us know what you’re thinking. It helps other people when we share, and it’s important to be able to share in a safe place. Join First Wives World for a place where you can safely share your thoughts and feelings with others who have been there.
Image Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons, User : John Walker