By Rosalind Sedacca, CDC
Divorce is always a life-altering experience. But it doesn’t have to be all negative. For many it’s a time of personal self-discovery. For others, a self-made prison of depression and resentment.
What makes the difference is our acceptance of what is and our ability to use the divorce as a stepping stone to a new and better life. The bottom line: it’s all up to us. We can generate an attitude of positive expectation or we can choose instead a life filled with the pain of self-pity and despair.
The real challenge: changing our attitude or perspective on life is not a simple task. But if you take consistent steps in that direction, you’ll create the foundation for a happier future — both for yourself and the children you love.
Start by focusing your attention on these 4 Steps to transforming your life toward a brighter future. You’ll never regret it.
Heighten your levels of self-esteem.
Don’t let divorce take its toll on your self-esteem, especially if you didn’t choose the breakup of your marriage. Feeling rejected, abused or like a helpless victim undermines your value. It’s a mindset that can keep you from moving on after divorce to a new and more rewarding reality. No one can take your pride and confidence from you. You must decide for yourself that you’re ready to create a better life by embracing the possibilities ahead. Choose to make pro-active decisions, seek out new supportive friends, engage your energy in fulfilling activities. Are there parts of yourself that were dormant during your marriage? Now’s the time to tap into those attributes or interests and let them soar. Your children will benefit from watching you re-discover who you are. Better still, they’ll see you as a positive role model as you tackle life challenges.
Use your divorce as a gift to yourself.
The greatest lesson in self-awareness comes from finding the answers to key life questions: What went wrong – and why? What part did I play in the break-up of my marriage? If I had responded earlier to red flag warnings might I have changed the outcome, reduced the pain, put us back on track or better protected me and the kids? These are hard questions to answer. It can be helpful to find a therapist, coach or support group to guide you in finding meaningful insights. Be careful that you don’t get stuck on your regrets. This is your gift. Find the lessons you can learn now. They will become the catalyst to help you move ahead with more confidence in creating that happier future.
Experience the blessings that come with forgiveness.
Forgiveness is not for or about the other person. It releases you from the pain of staying bound up in the past. Blaming yourself or your former spouse does nothing toward improving your life. Instead, it keeps you from really enjoying today – as well as tomorrow. Understanding the gift of forgiveness is a huge step forward. It may require reaching out for professional help in letting go, moving on and understanding the incredible value of forgiveness as a positive tool for self-empowerment. Remember, forgiveness doesn’t mean condoning the pain you experienced in the past. It means you’re no longer letting it hurt you any more! So forgiving your former spouse is about breaking the emotional cords that have held you hostage to old hurts and memories. It frees you to make healthy new connections — and that’s the path to creating brighter tomorrows!
Revise your expectations about healthy relationships.
What have you learned about relationship success? Did you originally choose the right marriage partner? Or had you accepted or settled for less than you imagined? Did you have unrealistic expectations about the realities of a committed relationship? Do you now have different requirements for a love partner in terms of interests, values or goals? Successful relationships require skill in communicating, resolving conflict, and a multitude of other challenges. It’s even more complicated when children are involved. Before stepping out into the singles-dating arena, do your homework. Learn about who you really are, what you can give and what you need in return to create a fulfilling intimate relationship that works. Give yourself the time. Get the professional support you may need. Do it right — for you and your children! Your future lies ahead. Make it one you desire – and deserve!
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Rosalind Sedacca, CDC is aDivorce & Co-Parenting Coach, founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network as well as a Dating After Divorce Mentor. For her free ebook on Post-Divorce Parenting: Success Strategies for Getting It Right, plus and other valuable resources for parents, visit http://www.childcentereddivorce.com. Click the COACHING button to learn more about Rosalind’s co-parenting courses and Coaching services. For Dating and Relationship Success, visit www.womendatingafter40.com, www.womendatingrescue.comor www.mensdatingformula.com.