Divorce is disruptive to every part of life. It is emotionall, physically and financially draining and it is not uncommon for a person to come out the other side of the process unsure of how to move forward.
It can be a challenge to find your footing again after divorce. But it is possible.
Abandon the “shoulds”
The first step is to release all judgement about how you should or shouldn’t feel.
Maybe you feel like you should feel relieved that it is all over. You might also think you should feel excited for the future now that the significant hurdle of divorce is in the past.
The reality is there isn’t one way to feel about the prospect of moving on from your divorce. You might feel excited and happy, but you might also feel anxious and scared at the prospect of beginning what is inevitably a new phase of your life. All emotions are valid in this deeply personal process. Meet yourself where you are at and tell yourself it is OK. There are no timelines to the process of healing and “shoulding” on yourself is not going to make it any easier.
Allow yourself time to reflect
Just because the divorce has been finalized doesn’t mean you need to get into the saddle and ride off onto your next adventure right away. Taking some time to yourself to reflect on what you would like this next stage of your life to look like could give you some clarity.
Take a deep breath and think about a time in your life where you felt rewarded, fulfilled and strong. What were you doing? Is it something you can incorporate more of in your life?
Asking yourself these questions may help guide you in figuring out your next steps as you start to move on. It is important to be realistic but also to allow yourself to dream. The power of realism combined with vision will help ground you as you take the next steps in building your new life.
This is a difficult process and can be extremely lonely if you don’t find a tribe of people who understand and can support you. No matter how close you are with current family and friends they may not be able to offer the kind of support you need during this transition.
Google “divorce support groups” in your area or search Meetup.com with divorce-related keywords. You may be able to find a support network outside of your immediate circle that can help you through the process of finding your footing again post-divorce. Just as wind is the essential force that propels a sailboat, so too emotional support is an essential aspect of the strength you need to move forward. Don’t be afraid to do some digging to find the support you need.
Focus on your strengths
Divorce can be demoralizing and sometimes people come out of the process feeling about two feet tall. It is an important exercise when starting the process of moving on to recognize your strengths. You need to re-build your sense of self, independent of your former partner. Doing this will help you realize that you have the capacity to move on and succeed in whatever path you choose in this new phase of your life.
These are all broad statements to give you an idea of directions in which to look for healing and growth. Each one breaks down into many smaller action steps. Having someone impartial to guide you in this will help you focus and recover faster. This is where a therapist or coach can help.