Going through divorce is one of the most difficult experiences anyone can go through. You feel so many emotions including sadness, fear, anger, betrayal, and grief. And some people can get stuck in these emotions where it's difficult to move forward in their life. It's normal to feel all of these emotions and it’s so important to be able to process these emotions as you go through your divorce so that you’re not stuck in a bad place.
Following are tips so that you can become unstuck and feel empowered as you go through divorce.
Be Kind To Yourself
It's easy to beat yourself up for all of the mistakes that you made in your marriage and for your marriage ending. But if you do that, you’re making it harder on yourself. Remember that you’re doing your best and that’s enough. Find a positive mantra like “I’m not perfect and it’s ok.” Repeat that positive mantra any time you feel that you’re engaging in negative self-talk. Remember that you are valuable and deserving of respect, regardless of what past mistakes you made. If you start being kind to yourself and actively work at changing your negative self-talk, you’ll start feeling better.
Cultivate Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence entails learning to control emotions, establish boundaries, and communicate effectively. It’s so hard to do that while you’re going through divorce because you’re feeling so many intense emotions. But there are some techniques that can help you to be more in control of your emotions.
Start by breathing deeply for 20 breaths several times a day. The best way to do this is to push your stomach out when you’re breathing in and pull your stomach in when you’re breathing in. They’re called abdominal breaths and they enable you to take much deeper breaths than regular chest breaths. Another technique that can help is developing a meditation practice. Meditation actually changes the way that your brain functions. Yoga and exercise are also helpful in controlling emotions and developing an ability to center yourself. From that feeling of being centered will come an answer on how to communicate more effectively.
There are so many boundaries that have to be established as you go through divorce. Your relationship has changed and you need to navigate a new way of interacting with your soon-to-be-ex (STBX). Even if you’re still living in the same house, you can create boundaries by establishing a parenting schedule and being clear about who has what responsibilities. If you’re living separately, it’s easier to create boundaries but communication without being emotional is key to establishing healthy boundaries as you go through divorce. If you’re having difficulty doing it on your own, you can work with a co-parenting counselor or another professional like a therapist or divorce coach.
You’re Stronger Than You Realize
Recognizing your own strength is essential to being able to become empowered as you go through divorce. Think about all of the things that you have experienced in your life. Was there something that happened in your childhood that was difficult? Did you take care of your children through any stressful times? All of us have gotten through tough times but we may not give ourselves credit for getting through them. It’s amazing how we minimize our strengths just at the time where we need to see them and believe in ourselves.
Ask yourself what are the characteristics that you have that have gotten you through past difficult times? Are you smart, hardworking, responsible, brave, creative, kind, empathetic, fair, loyal, authentic or grateful? Take time to focus on the positive traits that you have and recognize how strong you really are. By recognizing your own strengths, you can rebuild our confidence and truly believe in our ability to get through difficult times.
Start Enjoying Alone Time
As you go through divorce, you’re going to have more time on your own. Many people worry about that time and that they’ll feel lonely. You can look at this time in a negative way. But you can also reframe your time alone as a gift - it’s a time that you get to decide what you want to do without considering anyone else. You get to be selfish and just think about what you want without compromising. You can read a book, watch a movie, go shopping, go out to dinner by yourself, listen to music or go for a long walk. There are so many things you can do by yourself that can be so enjoyable. Most people who do this find that they really like spending time alone and don’t feel lonely at all!
Experience New Things
What have you always wanted to do? Is there an activity that you used to do that you gave up during your marriage? What makes you happy? Divorce is an opportunity to start living your life differently. You can start hiking, biking, traveling, playing bridge, bird watching or really anything you’ve always wanted to do. If you look at your divorce as an opportunity to change your life in positive ways, you can get unstuck and feel empowered.
You'll need to learn how to budget your money, cook for yourself, and take care of your home. This can also provide a feeling of being empowered and you may find that you’re happier than you’ve been in a long time!
Moving from stuck to empowered in divorce is not always easy, but it is possible. Being kind to yourself, cultivating emotional intelligence, focusing on your strengths, enjoying alone time and experiencing new things will help you feel empowered as you go through divorce.
Don't hesitate to reach out for help if you’re struggling through your divorce. There is no shame in admitting that you need some assistance getting through this tough time. Contact a divorce coach today and see how much better you can feel.
Jill Barnett Kaufman is a Divorce Coach, Therapist, Parent Educator and Divorce Mediator. She is an experienced professional who helps clients discover new ways to resolve a variety of challenges when considering divorce, starting the process of divorce or are already divorced.