My post about things no one tells you about divorce is one of the most popular posts on my blog consistently. It has been for years now, so today I wanted to write another article just for those who are going through it.
Are you just starting your divorce process? Are you recently divorced? Either way, I bet you find yourself feeling all the feelings.
If you are the one who initiated it, you’re likely questioning your decision and if it was the right thing to do. Especially if you have a kiddo or multiple kiddos.
If you aren’t the one who initiated it, you’re probably wondering what you did wrong. Or you don’t understand what is happening or WHY it is happening to you.
Either way, you’re thinking “it wasn’t supposed to be this way.” I know because I’ve been there. In fact, I’ve been there twice. I got divorced twice before I turned 28.
What if I told you it is possible to come out of this thing totally okay? What if I told you that you can even come out of it thriving? Would you believe me?
I turned both my divorces into learning experiences and you can too. Divorce is looked at as being a very negative experience. It can be that way if that is what you choose.
But I’ll offer you something different today. I want to offer that you can also choose to see it as an opportunity for growth. That is what I did.
“But how can I do that when I am so hurt/worried/questioning?” I will show you where to start today.
Step #1: Dealing With Feelings
It is totally normal to feel everything at first. Whether you choose divorce or not, you will have a lot of feelings. You’ll probably have sadness and confusion and worry. All of that is normal – you aren’t a robot!
You can feel those feelings, but the trick is not letting them consume you. How do you do that? You gain control of your brain and your thoughts.
Step #2: Gaining Control Of Your Mind
Getting control of your mind takes a lot of hard work, but it is possible. It is important to be intentional about all your thoughts during this time.
Being intentional means you are controlling your thoughts and feelings versus letting them control you (unintentional).
Most people do not do this – most people let their thoughts and feelings control them and they don’t realize that they are the ones in control of their brain!
Get out some paper or open up a Google doc, and let’s do a quick journaling project.
#1. Ask yourself “What are the facts of this situation?”
Facts are something that cannot be denied and that are able to be proven. The fact is that you are getting a divorce. (It doesn’t matter who wanted it.)
2. Ask yourself “What are my thoughts on getting divorced?”
Be sure you are clear that these are thoughts on the actual divorce. Not thoughts about your soon-to-be ex. Not thoughts about your children. What are your real thoughts about getting divorced?
Some example thoughts:
- I never expected to get a divorce.
- I don’t want this divorce.
- I want this divorce.
3. Ask yourself “What are my feelings on getting a divorce?” Feelings are not thoughts so don’t get them confused. Feelings are actual feelings: fear, worry, sadness, etc. Choose only 1-2 feelings for this journaling project.
4. Write down the MAIN action you are taking from the above feelings? Ex. Are you lashing out at people? Are you too sad to do anything? Are you feeling stuck and doing nothing? Write it out in one sentence.
5. Write down the result you are going to get from doing that action. Ex. Hurting other peoples’ or your kids’ feelings. Falling behind at work or at home. Thought looping and getting nowhere.
Here are some examples for you to consider:
- Fact: I am getting divorced.
- Thought: I don’t want this divorce.
- Feeling: Devastated, Hurt
- Action: I don’t get out of bed. I blame others for my feelings.
- Result: I fall behind at work and at home. I stay hurt and depressed.
- Fact: I am getting divorced.
- Thought: This is a fresh start for me.
- Feeling: Hopeful
- Action: I look forward to new experiences & learning new things about myself.
- Result: I create a new, better life for myself (and family, if applicable).
Now, the most important part! Ask yourself what you want to get out of this.
If you are choosing to get divorced, it’s likely you’ve already thought of this.
It is possible that, right now, you want to choose to feel bad, regardless of if you chose divorce or not. That is an option for you and it is okay to do (for a period of time).
But how would it feel if you decided that this was actually good for you? How would it feel if you decided to learn from this? How would it feel to not let this rule your life and let it consume you?
I want to offer that you can choose to move past the hurt. After you’ve mourned the loss of your marriage, you can choose something different for yourself.
I know, because I did it.
I chose to be happier. I chose to spend time with close friends and family. I chose to be alone and totally okay with it. I chose to read new books and watch new tv shows.
I tried new hobbies. I had new experiences. I traveled alone. And you know what? It was totally amazing.
Nothing is off the table for you. You can think and do whatever you want. You are brave and you are resilient. You will come out of this better than you were yesterday.
It is work, but it is rewarding work. You will be better for it.