by Jennifer Manning, MSW, LCSW
Just like going through a divorce can be a roller coaster of emotions, so can it be after a divorce. When the dust settles you may be finding it hard to sort out “what next”? It can be hard to adjust to being single again. It’s important to find your identity, rediscover who you are and find a way to be able to move forward. Here are some ways to find the ground underneath you again and regain yourself after a divorce.
Take time to remember your uniqueness. Make a list of all your great qualities. This can sometimes be hard since we tend to focus on the negative, but it’s important to remind yourself of what makes you great and what you love about yourself. Read this list everyday and keep reading it until you truly believe it. Some examples for your list may be: beautiful smile, kindhearted, generosity, loving, caring, intelligent; your list can be endless!
Take time for yourself. In order to be your best for yourself and your children it’s important for you to have time for you. You deserve to be important in your life and to do something special for yourself even if it’s only for 10 minutes each day. This can be something like reading a book, taking a walk or indulging in your favorite coffee or tea. You deserve time for yourself as much as your children do. This will help to set an example for them to see how important it is to take care our yourself as much as caring for others.
Learn to let go. This can be hard, however holding onto regrets, anger and bitterness can keep you from moving forward and enjoying the positive in your life. It’s normal to have that inner voice asking “what if” or “if only”, at some point you have to start asking yourself if these thoughts are serving to help or hinder you? Are they making you feel good or worse? By thinking of these and playing the thoughts out in your head will it change anything? It’s important to acknowledge these feelings and learn from them. Don’t give them anymore power. By staying focused on the negative you can’t move forward. Help yourself to stay focused on the present, spend time enjoying your children just watching them play and interacting. Ground your self in the present.
Find what makes you happy. When you have a true sense of self and know who you are it can help give you purpose. Having purpose and direction in your life along with knowing what you want makes it easier to make decisions. You know the direction you want to move in and this will help guide you.
After a divorce you may be more cautious and full of doubt. You may question yourself about what is right, what to do or have a hard time identifying your feelings. Take time to listen to yourself, to your heart. Does something feel right or maybe something feels off. Honor yourself and acknowledge these feelings. If something doesn’t feel right don’t ignore it, take time to slow down and wait to make a decision. By taking time you may allow more information to be gathered and the situation to unfold more and then you can make a more informed decision. If it feels right usually this means you’re headed in the right direction. Remember to listen to you heart and your gut. Acknowledge and respect your feelings. This will get easier over time and will make it easier to make the right decision for yourself and your children.Jennifer Manning is a therapist mediator for Alpha Center and has her own practice. For more information, click here.