Divorce offers opportunities to make a fresh start and improve your life. Make sure you go back to read our earlier blogs, Positive Perspective on Life After Divorce and Life After Divorce Part 2. For help with your divorce in Chicago, call Angela Larimer at 773-370-0600.
It seems like everyone alway talks about the steps for ‘How to leave a relationship’ or ‘How to divorce your spouse’ but people often do not discuss is how to taught how to stop caring for someone you used to love… When do those feelings go away? How does one cope with the unbearable pain of loss? Changing routines and way of life can feel like one of the most difficult transition that you have experienced. The smallest things can trigger memories of love you once shared. Please know you are not alone…
This blog is dedicated to those of you who still love your ex spouse, those of you who are grieving, who feel lost, or those of you who need a little nudge in a better direction. Know that you are loved. Know that you are going to be okay. Know that you too can heal!
Here are a few tips to help heal during this transition…
1. Clean Out Your Home
This step should be the first step. I say this because if and when you are still in the early stages of shock or denial, it may be easier to delete photos, remove the other person’s items from the home and clear out the memories. This can become more and more difficult to bring yourself to do as time goes on. We are creatures of habit at the end of the day, and when the person is gone from the home, it is best to remove their belongings and any reminisce of them from your home (if possible) before your mind processes what is happening. If you cannot bring yourself to do it, ask a friend or family member to do it for you. Even if you don’t want to throw it away, it is best to put everything in a box and store it away so it is not something you need to look. This is part of healing and moving forward. This is part of acceptance. If you have children, remember it is ok to gently explain to your children that these changes are slowly going to happen. It may not be an easy process but just remember healing happens when we put one step forward in front of the other…
2. Acknowledgement and Acceptance
It is easy to slip into the mindset of… “If only I did ____ differently…” “If only they could understand _____” “I don’t understand how everything fell apart. They were my person/soulmate etc-” “How could he or she not care about the hurt they caused to me?” “How could he or she leave?” These intense feelings can often lead to internal conflict…Instead try to remind yourself… “The divorce is finished and I can only move forward with my life from here.” “Even though this is not at all how I planned for my life to turn out… I know this pain will eventually pass. I can and I will find peace again. I can and I will find happiness again.” “I am strong and I love myself. Even though I am in pain. I will survive this. It’s a step to a better place, a better life.” If you left an unhealthy, toxic, or abusive spouse, you may feel relief or a sense of confidence knowing that you truly made the right decision. At the same time, you might also experience immense grief and sadness for the loss of that person. If that person has already moved on or had an affair, it may be even more devastating to cope with the loss. You may experience anger and sadness for feeling so very wronged.
Remember that regret and sadness are normal emotions. It is normal to wish things did not happen the way they did. It is normal to think back to each memory to see where things could have gone differently. Remember not to stay in that mindset for long periods of time because it can consume you. Take every moment in small doses, cope and process each emotion. Breathe.
Acknowledging and accepting the circumstances will not happen overnight. Please be kind to yourself. Give yourself time to heal and grieve the loss.
3. Keep a Healthy Support Group Around You and Stay in Touch with Loved Ones
The most important thing is to have a healthy support system around you. Why? Because it is easy to slip into despair and loneliness. Rather than risking reaching out to the person who hurt you…(either because you feel like you want to lash out at them or tell them you miss them or try to get closure…) it is better to have loved ones around you for support. During your lowest points you should have a ‘HelpLine’ from your support group and loved ones. It is important to have loved ones who support you and know what you are going through to be able to have in your life to call them when you are feeling your lowest. Remember you DO NOT need to be strong every second and every hour of the day! It takes a village to grow and heal.
4. STOP yourself from Negative Self-Talk
You are not your mistakes and you are not your poor choices. This is not a time to live filled with regret. This is a time to heal and move forward in your life. Build yourself back up. Go to yoga. Practice positive self-talk. Practice positive affirmations in the mirror every morning and every night. Remember when life brings you down, you and only go up from there. There are plenty of websites to find positive self-talk quotes for yourself to practice at home. Stephanie Osmanski is one of the many authors who publishes self-love and positive affirmation quotes. Here are a few of her positive and encouraging ones to practice reading to yourself! “I am in control of myself; I am in control of my life.” “ I give myself the chance and opportunity to heal.” “I have never given up even when life gets hard; I am still here.” “I deserve good things; I deserve happiness and joy.”
5. Forgive Them and Forgive Yourself
Forgiveness is important. Sometimes we can forgive the other person very easily because we can try to justify or explain away their actions; however, we still blame ourselves. We may take years to forgive ourselves for allowing someone to treat us so poorly for so long. We may blame ourselves for feeling stupid for staying in a marriage too long. We may struggle to forgive ourselves for not seeing red-flags and leaving sooner. Please do not be so hard on yourself. Forgive yourself. This was one experience, one moment in your life. The moment may have lasted 2 years, it may have lasted 20 years. You are grieving a great loss. Remember it takes time to heal. Be kind to yourself. Show yourself the same compassion and grace you would extend to a loved one going through the same situation.
6. DO NOT Isolate yourself; Involve yourself in a new and challenging hobby.
Start something new! Try a new hobby or take up a new class. Maybe you enjoy cooking. Create a new challenge to cook different and new dishes. If you enjoy dancing, take some dance lessons to perfect the art! If you find joy in golfing or fishing, take your friends up to the lake and do it! Even when you don’t feel like going anywhere or you are too depressed to leave your home… That is EXACTLY when you NEED to go try something new! Tell your friends and family to come up with ideas for you to occupy you with healthy distractions. This is an essential part of healing and discovering yourself and what your new identity will be. Who is the new person you are becoming? How can you better yourself? How can you bring new forms of joy and healing into your life? It is time to find out!
KNOW YOU ARE LOVED!!