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 process can experience tremendous emotional turmoil. This can show up as guilt, anxiety and insecurity. Those who were not expecting or in any way desiring the break-up can be devastated. They come away feeling psychologically battered, confused and questioning their own worth.
It’s hard to tackle these burdens alone. A support group, personal divorce coach, or therapist can be very helpful. They can remind you that you are not alone in your experiences or feelings. They can provide strategies for feeling more confident. And they can help you believe there is a brighter future ahead for you. Especially 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, compassionate and knowledgeable. That can opens doors to choices that will move you into a more positive chapter in your life.
Here are a few suggestions to guide you in boosting your self-esteem during the divorce and its aftermath.
1. Be committed to releasing the past
Moving on is all about mind-set. Don’t get stuck reliving and clinging to what no longer is your reality. It will hinder your ability to start the next chapter in your life. There will be better, brighter days ahead – 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 good things ahead.
2. Let go and learn to forgive
By letting old wounds start to heal, you can tap into the incredible power of forgiveness. Start by forgiving yourself. Forgive the mistakes you’ve made, the actions you didn’t take, the wisdom you overlooked in some decisions. Then move on to forgiving your former spouse as well. Yes, that can be a tough request. But it’s also extremely liberating to wipe the slate clean. Try putting yourself in their shoes to understand the choices they made. The consequences they face. The challenges they’re living with. Keep in mind, forgiveness is not about forgetting the hurt and pain from the past. It’s about removing it’s hold on you so you’re not hurt you any longer. You forgive to free yourself, not to remove the blame from someone else. In that sense it’s a gift you give to yourself.
3. Choose your company wisely
We can’t easily change other people, but we can change the company we associate with. If your social group isn’t supportive of you, or tends to wallow in self-pity, let them go. You have a choice in your life about who you’re spending time with. Choose instead: aware, introspective people who accept responsibility for their own behavior. Find friends who don’t live in the past. People who are motivated to proactively move ahead in transforming their lives.
Get out of the blame game and put yourself in the company of positive people. Seek out friends with high self-esteem. They will appreciate you, with all your assets and baggage. 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.
4. Be Flexible about Change
Life is always filled with changes, not just during divorce. Get comfortable with the unknowns ahead. Accept that change is inevitable. While dark periods are tough to handle, realize they too will fall away. And be replaced with better days. Followed by healthy new relationships. 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 and consciously refute it. I am a caring parent. I will 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. Relax about controlling circumstances around you. When you come to accept that change can be a positive part of your life, you’ll feel more at peace with yourself. You’ll also be more comfortable with 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 circumstances around you settle into place more harmoniously than you ever expected.
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Rosalind Sedacca, CDC is a Divorce & Co-Parenting Coach, Founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network and author of How Do I Tell the Kids About the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children — With Love! To get her free ebook on Post Divorce Parenting, online coaching services and other valuable resources on divorce and parenting issues, go to: https://www.childcentereddivorce.com.
© Rosalind Sedacca All rights reserved.