Last week I was thrilled to be asked to be a regular monthly writer for the magazine ‘I AM WOMAN'(www.iamwomanmagazine.com.au) My first article was published last week and I thought I would share it with you-
From a young age we learn to believe in love and all the beauty it can bring. As young girls we plan weddings, play weddings and pretend to find our ‘Prince Charming’. Many of us go on to find our ‘Prince’, only to discover that the fairy tale was not as we had planned. Relationships encompass so much of our lives and yet we are given so little education in how to fall out of love with grace.
Divorce is said to be one of the most significant grief events many of us will ever suffer. It is therefore not surprising that during divorce we are often at our worst. We are experiencing a rollercoaster of strong emotions- fear, uncertainty, pain, betrayal, anger and deep sadness to name a few.
In this highly charged emotional state we are often being asked to make decisions that will determine our future. It is perhaps not surprising that sometimes the decisions we make in this state are anything but well considered.
To survive divorce means to come out the other side with your dignity intact and with some grace. There are three things you can do to ensure you can experience a dignified divorce- the kind of divorce that you can look back on with some pride-
- Find the good things again- There is nothing like heartbreak to make us feel less than amazing about ourselves. Chances are, the breakdown of a significant and sometimes lengthy relationship has left you questioning your worth. Every single one of us has gems inside and now is the time to go digging and find them! Write a list of all the good things you see in you and read it over and over- remind yourself every day of all that is great about you- it will really help you to believe in yourself particularly as the going gets tough!
- Learn to let go- Now is the time to join the kids in reruns of ‘Frozen’ as you chant the words to Idina Menzel’s hit- Let it go! The end of a relationship signals many failed expectations. You may have been let down or betrayed and sometimes, over and over again. Holding onto bitterness or regret will only keep you in the past. To survive divorce you will need to push forward to find your future. That future might be different and perhaps even scary to begin with, but it could also be exciting and beautiful with a whole new set of memories just around the corner. We can’t change our past but we can change our future so leave the past where it is and focus on moving into your new future.
- Make your own ‘silver linings’- When life feels upside down and out of control there is no better time to find yourself something to look forward to. It might be a walk on the beach, a new hobby or a dinner out- just some sort of treat that you know you will enjoy. Now is a time for you to do things your own way and while this may be the last thing you had in mind, it might be sort of fun if you allow yourself the courage to create a few of your own silver linings.
Just like falling in love, we all experience heartbreak in our own way. Like a lot of things in life, divorce will feel like two steps forward, three steps back. Remind yourself of this, particularly when things get tough. Set achievable goals, day by day or week by week. Keep a journal to map your progress- not to record the terrible things you are feeling but the good things that are happening, there will always be something positive if you look hard enough.
Maintaining a sense of positivity in an adverse situation takes courage. You will need courage to move through your divorce but you will and you will come out the other side perhaps a different person with a different kind of life but there is no reason why, with the passing of time, you can’t look back on your divorce as part of your marriage you can consider with some pride.
As printed in I AM WOMAN magazine on 24th August 2014 http://www.iamwomanmagazine.com.au/category/love_and_life/