The Art Of Coping
4 TIPS TO HELP YOU SURVIVE AND THRIVE AFTER YOUR DIVORCE
When exactly does a person go from being a husk of their former self to actually being okay? Honestly, I don’t know the answer. There’s no magical formula that can be used for every situation because each of you has a story that’s completely unique. I’d be lying if I said that if you follow these four tips exactly, you’re going to wake up one morning in the very near future and feel as if everything negative is miles and miles behind you.
These tips helped me cope with my own divorce and they continue to assist me on a daily basis because even though I feel as if I’ve truly moved on, I know that each day brings forth new struggles that could possibly lead to a relapse in progress made.
1. RECOGNIZE THE IMPORTANCE OF GRIEF
To put it very bluntly, you need to feel… even if you don’t want to. The human mind is absolutely extraordinary at
protecting itself from harm when it needs to. Our brains have the ability to completely shut themselves down emotionally to keep you from experiencing pain. It’s so easy to hide behind that mask you’ve created and allow yourself to get lost in a repetitive routine (wake up, shower, get dressed, go to work, etc.) but I can not stress enough how deeply you’re going to regret it later.
Divorce is painful. It’s an ending to something familiar, something you thought you knew so completely… but it’s also the beginning of something new and it’s impossible to embrace your future until you’ve allowed yourself time to grieve over the death of your old life. It’s going to hurt and you might feel like you can’t afford to give yourself over to the process for whatever reason, but trust me when I say that the longer you wait the harder it’s going to be.
2. DON’T UNDERESTIMATE YOUR WORTH
There were some days where I used to feel like I was bi polar. I’d wake up early on Monday morning with this burst of energy and I’d work my way through every task on my daily check list like a proper adult before going to sleep with a feeling of content. Tuesday, I’d sleep through my alarm, call in sick from work, and just stare at a blank spot on the wall for hours on end without moving so I could keep the sobs from tearing my body apart.
I felt like I was broken, and in those moments that’s when you begin questioning your self worth. What’s wrong with me? Maybe I’m to blame? These thoughts are not only self destructive, but they’re beyond foolish. All you’re effectively doing is triggering yourself when you should be taking this time to remember what makes you special. Make a list if you have to and jot down as many positive thoughts about yourself as you can. Read them out loud like a mantra until you actually believe them.
Your last marriage didn’t define your life. You were a person before you were married, and you still are even after it ended. If you have children, look to them when you start to doubt yourself. Would you want your daughter or son to talk about themselves the way you are?
3. TAKE SOME TIME TO FOCUS ON Y.O.U.
Be selfish, please! Even if it’s only for ten minutes a day, you need to remind yourself that it’s perfectly legal to take pleasure in the simple things. I used to feel guilty any time I picked up a book or sat down to take a break when I knew there was probably something I should be doing. That plays into the same mentality that comes from shutting down emotionally in the early stages of divorce. If you keep moving, your mind doesn’t have time to wander and if your mind can’t wander you won’t think about what’s hurting you.
To be the absolute best person you can be, you need to relax your body and your mind. For me, it was a chapter a day from “The Fellowship of the Ring” while sipping a cup of chai tea. It was my time to just shut down and focus on something that was mine, that I didn’t have to share, and most importantly I began to realize that I didn’t need to apologize for it and that is a beautiful thing when you’re trying to cope.
4. REBOUNDS AREN’T WORTH IT. PERIOD
So, what exactly is a rebound? The answer to that question is simple and it lies within the answer of a question you should always ask yourself before even agreeing to meet someone for coffee. Have I completely moved on from my marriage? If the answer is no, or that you’re not totally sure, the odds are pretty high that the person you’re about to go out with is a rebound.
I never went on dates as a try to replace my previous relationship. I started each one with an open mind until I started to notice similarities. A smile, a laugh, some mannerisms that matched… Whatever the case, I found myself more comfortable because these things were known and I wasn’t ready for a complete change.
These relationships aren’t only unfair to the person you’re seeing, but in the end all they’re doing is taking whatever progress you’ve made and sending you back by a dozen steps. The goal here is personal growth and the ability to move on and while I’m not saying that a new romance can’t help with the process, it’s only going to lead to more complications if you’re not ready.
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