Recently, I was a guest on a blog talk radio show (to hear the broadcast, click here ). The show format is geared toward empowering and uplifting women, and how everyday angels walk among us. It is a show with an uplifting, positive atmosphere. I was invited to talk about energy, and healing after divorce. I happen to have first-hand personal experience with this material, as I have survived a divorce. I didn’t realize what a big topic this actually was, and I am blown away at the response I have received from the show. So here, I give you my tips from the recovered side of divorce.. the brighter, happier, survivor-wisdom side, and how you can let it all go, restore your soul, and become who you REALLY are.
NOTE: I am no psychologist, and if you feel like you need clinical help, please seek help from a licensed professional.
First off, its okay to grieve and be sad for a little while. Divorce is like a death, and its one of the most difficult and darkest times I’ve ever personally experienced. The thing is, you don’t want to latch on to sadness, or bitterness, or anger, and get stuck there. This is a big loss, but with loss comes a big opportunity for positive change. You may be feeling like your world just ended, mine sure felt like that, but guess what.. you get to create a new one now. Do not become a victim of your situation. Grieve, be sad, acknowledge the loss… and then accept that it’s a new day, and you can create a new life for yourself! (Really!! You CAN!!) Shift your attitude and mindset to realize you have brand-spankin’-new, limitless opportunities to create any life you want! I’m not gonna lie, it’s not easy.. but it IS very DO-ABLE.
So… How do you create a new life for yourself, when the rug was just pulled out from under you? There are several things that helped me. The following are simply ideas that I personally applied in my own divorce recovery and subsequent healing. These ideas all worked together collectively, just know that they worked over time, not overnight.
Ask for help. Pray HARD. Meditate. Call on whatever you call your Higher Power. ASK FOR HELP. Ask out loud, in your head, write it as a letter.. just ASK! Ask for healing, guidance, clarity, and direction, for your HIGHEST GOOD. As I tell my kids, “if you don’t ask, you don’t get”. Angels, guides, and Spirit are around everyone, willing and able to help, but you have to ask before they can intervene on your behalf. Once you ask for help, be open and willing to receive goodness. Sometimes we limit ourselves when we ask for assistance, because we don’t realize there could be even more blessings than we can imagine. When you ask for help, ask for what you specifically want, and then follow that request with “this, or something better”. You will be amazed at the wonderful things that follow!! When you ask for help, and you are open to receive, doors of opportunity will burst open for you in unexpected ways.
Be gentle with yourself during this transition. Find ways to find joy everyday. Treat yourself well. You don’t have to spend a ton of money, or be extravagant. Just be good to yourself in small ways everyday. Get a massage, or bodywork, or reiki, or acupuncture. Human touch is powerful during times like these. Find things to make yourself smile and bring yourself joy every single day, no matter how big or small.
Journal. Journaling can help you release those thoughts that are constantly swirling through your head. This was a powerful exercise for me personally. Get yourself an inexpensive spiral bound notebook. (NOTE: DO NOT get a beautiful, expensive diary. This exercise is meant to be a “brain dump”. It ain’t gonna be pretty, darling heart.) So save those beautiful, expensive diaries for use as a gratitude journal, or recording grandma’s secret recipes. This spiral-bound journal is a messy project to help you release what no longer serves you, and to give you clarity. Plan to sit for a minimum of 15 minutes every day. Grab your journal, and just start writing. Doesn’t matter about what. Just write what pops in to your head. It doesn’t need to make any sense, don’t worry about spelling, grammar, or punctuation. No one else is gonna read it, this is just for you. Somedays, what you write may not make any sense, and that’s ok. Just write for 15 minutes. Or more if you feel like you want to. After a few days, or a week, go back and look over what you wrote. You may be able to decipher a pattern or theme that’s consistently on your mind that you weren’t even aware was in your head. Clarity! If no pattern emerges yet, it’s ok. Keep going. Just getting thoughts out of your head is therapeutic. If you are afraid someone might see or read what you wrote, you can alway rip up the pages, shred them, bury them, burn them, heck… even flush them.. it’s all intended as a release. This was a powerful healing tool for me. Give it a go, you won’t believe how much lighter you feel when you don’t have a million chaotic thoughts rolling through your brain!!
Forgive. Does that mean everything is okay now? Or that someone elses behavior is okay? Noooooooooooo. Forgiveness is NOT forgetting or pretending the event didn’t happen, it’s not excusing someone for bad behavior, and it’s not giving someone permission to cause further hurt. Forgiveness is about letting go of the need for revenge, and releasing negative thoughts of bitterness and anger. Forgiveness is a gift that we give ourselves. Forgiveness isn’t easy, but it’s more stressful to hang on to a grudge or bitterness or anger. You may need to journal a bit to get the raw emotions out of your head before you get to a place where you can forgive. But forgiveness gives YOU and only YOU peace and helps you to let go. So forgive the hurt, forgive the process, and forgive yourself. Wipe the slate clean, baby!
Choose to be positive. Even if you have to fake it at first. Your energy follows your thoughts. What we think about enlarges and grows. If you are angry and bitter, what do you think might follow? Or if you choose to be positive, what might follow then? The book entitled I Can Do It by Louise L. Hay was very helpful to me in the process of staying positive. This book comes with a FANTASTIC audio cd, that I have personally listened to about a million-gagillion-bazillion times (but who’s counting??). I still listen to it when I’m in need of a boost. Being positive and happy is a choice. CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY. It’s really really REALLY OK to be happy. And smile!!! 🙂
Love yourself. Seriously. If you felt like I did, you probably aren’t feeling very good during this difficult time. You may even stop doing things for yourself altogether, and just start focusing on everyone else around you, like kids, work, etc. That’s what I did at first. Then one day I looked around and realized, HEY! I have been taking care of every one else but me! So, love yourself. Love yourself FIRST! Some may say that’s selfish. It’s absolutely-tootley NOT! The fireman puts his mask on his own self first before he helps someone else, right? Put your own mask on and breathe that oxygen in deep! When you take care of yourself, then you are better able to take care of others. If you don’t like those pesky, clunky fireman masks, maybe just do some yoga breathing. Or lamaze. Hopefully not into a paper bag. However you can, get some deep breaths in, and take care of YOU!
De-Clutter your space. Really. Clean out your closet. Get rid of stuff you owned together. Don’t keep that trinket from your honeymoon. Toss that ginormous purple turtle he won at the carnival. Things associated with that relationship will drag your energy down, sometimes subconsciously. You may not even be aware of this! Surround yourself with an environment that makes YOU smile on the inside. Denise Linn and Karen Kingston are wonderful authors who have both written books on this very subject, and their books helped me tremendously. Change the colors, textures, and scents in your home. Move your furniture around, or replace it if you can. Definitely get a new mattress and linens. Change your enviroment and watch how quickly your energy lifts and shifts!!
Find your tribe. I had lots of people who I thought were my “friends” when I was married. But while going through a divorce, I learned who my true friends are. I can count my truest of friends on one hand, and they were my circle of support during my darkest of times. Your friends want what is best for you. This doesn’t mean you dump your woes on them all the time. But lean on them a little when you need help. Let them be there for you. Let them do nice things for you. Let them take you out for lunch, or go for a walk, or some good, old-fashioned girl time. Friends are the family we get to pick for ourselves! Lean on your tribe to help you laugh when you really need it most.
DO NOT get into another relationship right away. Let me say that one again: DO NOT get into another relationship right away. Heal yourself first. Learn how to love yourself first. When you love yourself, you exude a brightness that will be very attractive to others when you are healed from this situation. Unload your baggage, so to speak, before you pick up ANY new luggage. Y’all know what I mean.
Create a vision board. What the heck is a vision board, you ask? It’s a creative way to pinpoint those dreams you may not yet be able to verbalize. Grab some of your fave magazines, find a pair of scissors, a glue stick, and a poster board, and away you go! Start by cutting out images or phrases that really catch your eye, or speak to you somehow. You can have a theme, or not. When you have what feels like enough images cut out, paste those images onto the poster board. Any random way you want. This is ART, people!! You honestly can’t screw it up, and it doesn’t have to be perfect. Have fun with this! You may be surprised to find that you have always thought of the mountains, but suddenly you find that you’ve cut out 47 pictures of the ocean. This is a great outlet for finding what your inner child really wants in her life, and what your soul is yearning for. You may even discover new dreams and unleash unknown talents with this exercise! The picture below is MY personal vision board that I created when envisioning having my own business:
The bottom line is this: You can be HAPPY after “the D word”. Divorce is messy and likely one of the hardest thing you will survive. Play that Gloria Gaynor song LOUD! You WILL survive, my lovely friend!! Doing the activities I’ve suggested here will lead you to your inner self, the real YOU. Sometimes, it takes a trauma or tragedy to learn something important. Like the saying goes, “No mud, No lotus”. There IS life after divorce, and you just may learn who you really are through the process. Let me know what success you have with any of my quirky ideas, and what other things worked for you, too!
With gratitude and sparkles,