By Rosalind Sedacca, CDC
Divorce can be devastating on many levels. In addition to the financial and stress toll on both partners, it can easily wreak havoc on one’s self-esteem. Even those who initiate the divorce can experience tremendous emotional turmoil, consuming them with guilt, anxiety and insecurity. For those who were not expecting or didn’t want the break-up, the consequence can be even more difficult. Divorce can leave them feeling psychologically battered, confused and questioning their own worth.
It’s hard to tackle these burdens alone. A support group, personal coach, professional counselor or other resource can be extremely helpful. It will remind you that you are not alone in your experiences or feelings. You’ll also find a path to a brighter future ahead for you – if you take proactive steps in that direction.
While family and friends are usually very well-intentioned, their support may not always be valuable for you. They have their own agendas, perspectives and values about marriage, family and divorce. What you most need at this difficult time is a support system that is dispassionate and compassionate. And, also knowledgeable about responsible behaviors that will move you into a more positive chapter in your life.
Here are a 3 steps to guide you in boosting your self-esteem during the divorce and its aftermath.
Commit to Releasing the Past:
Don’t stay stuck in reliving the past and clinging to what no longer is your reality. It will not help and will usually set you back. There will be better, brighter days ahead – but only if you allow that awareness into your experience. Make space in your life for new friends, relationships, career options and fulfilling activities. Look for and expect new opportunities in new places.
See the future as a positive beginning for you and your children. You’ll be pleasantly surprised about what you can create when you anticipate and seek out good things ahead.
Choose the Company You Keep:
We can’t easily change other people, but we can change the people we associate with. If your social group isn’t supportive of you, or tends to wallow in self-pity, change it. You have a choice in your life about who you spend time with. Choose instead aware, introspective people who accept responsibility for their own behavior. People who proactively move ahead in transforming their lives.
Decide to opt out of the blame game and put yourself in the company of positive people. Choose friends with high self-esteem who can appreciate you, with all your assets and baggage, as the wonderful person you are. You may find these people where you least expect them. So, step out of your comfort zone – and be receptive to new friends and new experiences.
Accept and Embrace Change
Life is always filled with changes, not just during divorce. Get comfortable with the unknowns ahead and accept that change is inevitable. While dark periods are tough to handle, realize they too will fall away. Tough times will be replaced with better days and new relationships. But you have to help make it happen!
Learn to listen to your self-talk. Let go of limiting beliefs about yourself. When you catch yourself in doubt, fear or put-down language, become aware of that message. Then intentionally refute it. Repeat to yourself comforting statements that make you feel good: I am a worthy parent. I can attract a new loving partner. I deserve to be happy in my relationships. My children love me and know how much I love them.
Determine what you want to change about yourself from within. Equally important, relax about controlling circumstances beyond your control. When you come to accept the reality of the changes in your life, you’ll feel more at peace with yourself and those around you.
Life is all about choices and decisions. Use your divorce as a catalyst for positive change. Choose to be the person and parent you most want to be. Then watch how life settles into place more harmoniously than you ever expected.
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Rosalind Sedacca, CDC is a Divorce & Co-Parenting Coach and founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network. She’s also the author of How Do I Tell the Kids About the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide To Preparing Your Children — With Love! For her free ebook on Post-Divorce Parenting: Success Strategies for Getting It Right! and other valuable resources on divorcing and co-parenting effectively, visit: www.childcentereddivorce.com.
© Rosalind Sedacca All rights reserved.