It was a beautiful spring evening, and I could smell the soothing aroma of jasmine and lemon trees through my window. The dinner was cooking, and I was enjoying a cup of tea, when the phone rang in the living room. My neighbour was crying on the other end of the line. She was going through a complicated divorce and felt extremely disappointed and empty. She didn’t know how to go on and what to do with her life. But even worse than that, for the first time in her life she felt really lonely. I invited her over for a cup of tea, and we began the first of our long conversations.
Divorce is a tough one. For a lot of people, it is a very shameful experience. Something breaks inside, and we blame ourselves and others for not being able to glue it all back together. We lose trust in other people, and most importantly, in ourselves and in our ability to choose the right thing. We go into survival mode to lick our wounds and protect ourselves from more hurt and rejection. We may stop answering phone calls from our friends and family or reject invitations to go out and socialise. Although we desperately need someone to support us through the whole thing, it becomes incredibly hard to expose our darkness to the world because the fear of being judged paralises our ability to think rationally. Then to our dismay we realise how lonely we have become.
We can actually change the way we are experiencing our life right now. Sounds unbelievable? The following 5 steps will guide you through this process.
Step 1. Accept it.
It is what it is. You have poured so much negative energy into the emotional vortex that you are ready to let go and move on. The more resistance you apply to your current situation, the more it will persist. If you feel hesitant to let go, ask yourself the following questions:
- What will I gain or miss out on if I keep worrying about my future?
- How is clinging to the past serving me? What do I like about it?
It is not serving me, and I don’t like it! – this will be your first response. Well, if you keep doing it, then on some level it must be working for you. Let me give you an example:
I keep regretting the past because I start blaming other people for what happened to me, and I do not take any responsibility for the situation.
Not willing to take responsibility for the situation is something you like about clinging to the past. It is the payoff for having this belief. You get the concept? Or,
I keep worrying about my future because I feel like I can control and prevent what’s coming.
Keeping yourself safe is another big payoff. Pay close attention to what has come up for you. Now ask yourself:
- What will be the consequences of sticking to safety / comfort / escape / (insert your payoff here)?
- How will it help you to move you towards your compelling future?
A big aha moment? Great! You are ready for Step 2.
Step 2. Get Rid of the Clutter
It is time to liberate yourself from the old junk. Old clothes that you never liked, appliances that you never use, ugly objects that take up space, things that are emotionally anchored to negative events – all of them have to go. Donate or ditch them. Open up space for new things to come into your life. Be receptive.
Step 3. Look at Your Beliefs Around Divorce.
Write down a list of beliefs that you have adopted around marriage and divorce throughout your life. All of them. Pay special attention to beliefs that run in your family, they may have influenced you the most. Some of the common ones are: Divorced people are a failure… If you couldn’t save your marriage, then you can’t keep a commitment… It is very difficult to remarry at a certain age… Draw a table like in the example below:
How is it serving you?
What negative influence does it have on your life?
|Divorced women rarely remarry.||It helps to avoid disappointment.||It prevents me from experiencing joy again, since I do not trust others.|
|Divorced people are a failure.||It helps to keep me safe so that I do not have to go out there and face rejection again.||I prevents me from moving forward and succeeding.|
And so on…
Are your beliefs serving you or are they keeping you stuck? What beliefs can serve you better without having a negative impact on your life? Write down a new belief against each of your old beliefs. For example:
Divorced women rarely remarry. – I am wonderful and open to a new relationship.
Divorced people are a failure. – A mistake is an opportunity to learn more about myself and move on.
Just like in the past you were constantly looking for ways to verify your old beliefs, start gathering evidence for your new beliefs, welcome them, nurture them.
Step 4. Learn and Grow.
There is nothing healthy about feeling ashamed and beating yourself up. Let go of your need to be perfect. You are what you are thanks to all the experiences that you have had in your life. Even the negative ones. Apologise to anyone who you feel you hurt in this process, including yourself. Forgive yourself. Remember that people do what they believe is the best thing to do at the time given the circumstances, knowledge and resources they have. If they knew better, they would act differently. Yes, you too. Think about what you have learned and how much you have grown. Welcome your new self into the world and love every moment of it.
Step 5. Love Yourself.
Yes, you. Allow that beautiful healing energy for yourself. Spend time rediscovering your deepest needs, hidden desires, secret wishes… Go to the spa, pamper yourself, make it all about you. Get that dress you have been dreaming of. You are getting ready for the next important step.
Step 6. Set New Goals.
It is time to set a new vision of your future. A lot of people spend more time choosing a car than deciding what they want in life. Get dreaming! What is it that you have been putting off? What things have you always wanted to experience? Where would you like to be in a month, three months, a year? Create a beautiful Vision Board with your dreams and goals (if you don’t know how to do this, download our FREE e-book “10 Steps To Personal Success”, where we give detailed instructions – it is easy and fun!) Get very detailed. Be curious, playful, and adventurous. Be bold! It is time to live your dream.
Step 7. Get Support.
Loneliness is one of the most horrible things that one can experience. It is a kind of a sophisticated self-entrapment fueled by fear, shame and regret. We build very high walls around us hoping that this will keep us very safe, while in reality we alienate others and lose the sense of love and connection that we are desperately seeking to have. And the very step that is necessary to take, reaching out to others, is the scariest thing that we could undertake because it implies getting out of our super safety zone. Even though it suspiciously looks like a huge prison tower that we have successfully built for ourselves.
Get support. Reach out. Connect. Share. You are not alone. You will be surprised how many people are making decisions that do not serve them. Bring that tower down. We are here to catch you.