Almost ten years ago, I divorced my husband of three years. I don’t regret it and consider both the marriage and divorce to be one of the more defining times of my life.
It can easy to envelope yourself in self-pity and bitter resentment, but I can promise you that won’t get you anywhere.
After going through a divorce, you have to rediscover who you are and what you want from your life.
Freedom after divorce is finding yourself and that place where you let go of the past and embrace the future...a future designed solely by you.
GIVE YOURSELF TIME TO HEAL
To state the obvious, going through a divorce hurts.
Regardless of which side of the table you’re on it’s not a fun time in your life. Because it sucks so much, a lot of people want to rush through the post-divorce period to ‘move on.'
To move on successfully, you can’t rush the post-divorce muck. You have to feel your feelings.
You can’t bulldoze through them, numb them, or pretend they don’t exist. There’s no shame in crying or feeling sad. You have to give yourself time to mourn the loss of your relationship and the hopes you had for the future.
If you don’t give yourself time to go through this phase, you limit your ability to create a thriving, joyful life.
So...take the time to lay low, reflect, forgive, learn, and heal.
RELEASE THE PAST
As you heal, you’ll naturally start to release the past. It serves no one, least of all you, to hang onto the past and harbor anger or resentments.
To rebuild your life and embrace your newfound freedom (regardless of whether you wanted that freedom or not), you have to let go of the past.
Releasing the past may be something you work on as part of the healing process, or it may come after you’ve done some healing. But, no matter how unpleasant your marriage and/or divorce was, there’s always something you can learn from the experience.
My ex-husband cheated, but I don’t regret the marriage even though I can’t honestly say we had too many ‘good times’ before his affair.
I learned a ton from that disastrous relationship. I learned about myself (how strong I am) and about the kind of man and relationship I want in my life. I wouldn’t have that insight without having gone through my marriage. I wouldn’t appreciate a good relationship and a good man as much as I do now, without having experienced the opposite. I’m incredibly grateful for that.
I don’t hang onto bitter resentments. It’s not me, and I also don’t want to feel that negative energy inside me. By hanging onto the bitterness, the resentment, the anger...we continue to give that person power over our thoughts and emotions.
While I have no desire to have any contact with my ex-husband, I don’t hate him, and I do wish him well. As much as he hurt me, he also taught me things that I now use to make my life better, and I have to be grateful on some level for that.
CREATE YOUR NEW REALITY
The best way to let go of something is to focus on something else.
This is your opportunity to try something new! Take classes, go on vacation, buy new furniture, learn a new language, etc.
You get to be you.
I recall one morning, not long after my divorce, where I woke up and realized I wasn’t the person I was before I married, and I wasn’t the person I was while I was married. I couldn't help but wonder who I was at that time.
For some, that may have been a scary thought, but for me, it excited me! I realized it was my opportunity to get to know myself again, so I dove into new adventures. Some I loved, some I didn’t. But, with each day, I learned who I was at that time and I embraced it.
You get to choose your new reality and make it what you want.
How many times do we get that opportunity where we’re aware this is our chance to make our life what we want?
Divorce is never easy. It’s a painful period that leaves scars, but that doesn’t mean you have to let those scars color the rest of your life.
You get to choose how you move past this unpleasant phase. You have the power to control how you feel, think, and act as you move further away from your marriage and divorce.
If you are seeking freedom in your life post-divorce and want to find yourself, the key is to release the past, let go of the blame and resentment, and create a new life that honors the woman you’ve become, scars and all.