It was the second month after my divorce, I would get up to face the day and wondered honestly, is the sun still shining, birds still singing and my neighbours were still smiling at me? life was as it always was, happening.
It was a struggle to keep going when I had built so much of my future around being married, for better or worse until death to this one person. The good thing was going to see my counsellor who was very good in fact and prepared me for the emotional pain I was experiencing, especially when he spoke about not avoiding the escape routes, things persons would do to avoid emotional pain. Even though I have a strong meditation and awareness practice, I was very adept at masterminding escape routes throughout my separation, divorce, and recovery process.
Also, I was probably in denial for over a year after my divorce, but I was so deep in denial that I had perfected the art of denying that my denial even existed!! So working with denial and acceptance can be a slippery business.
I offer these tips as starting points for getting curious about your confidence after a breakup or divorce. They aren’t measurements or goals, but rather ways of noticing how you’re doing, where you’ve slid off course, and give you a sense of how to get back to centre. How you’re doing is neither “good” nor “bad.” It’s just the way things are with you today and tomorrow will be different.
1. Work with Denial & Acceptance
The best medicine I have for working with denial and creating acceptance is staying in the present moment. Like a detective look around you and observe with intensity the present moment and realize the person you loved is not with you and let everything be as it is. Accept this moment exactly how it is and accept that being without this person is how it is. Be gentle and kind to yourself as you work with your denial and acceptance of change.
2. Express Your Feelings
Try not to let your feelings become trapped inside your body and mind. Express your feelings to friends and family members that you trust or a support group. If you like to write, utilize a journal to express your feelings.
3. Explore Your Self-Esteem
Consider your breakup or divorce as an opportunity to explore possible issues with self-esteem. Work with a therapist to understand issues of low self-esteem that may have been triggered by your breakup or divorce.
4. Create a New Social Life
Look at the people in your life. Who do you socialize with and why? Use this breakup or divorce as a time to examine what kind of social life you want to have in your life and make appropriate changes if necessary. Do you want to bond with family more? Do you want to find communities that have the same interests as you? Have you grown out of certain friendships and need to find new ones that match your values and interests?
5. Avoid Escape Routes
Experiencing a breakup or divorce can be scary and one of our primal survival instincts tells us to flee from anything painful. It can be challenging to just sit with feelings and body sensations regarding your loss. You might find yourself using escape routes to avoid your feelings of grief, shame, insecurity, anger, and fear.
Pay attention to your behaviour and notice if you are searching for an escape route to avoid pain. If you identify a possible escape route you are using, stop engaging in the behaviour, sit, do nothing, and just be with your feelings and body sensations instead. Here are some possible forms of escape:
- Getting involved in a new love interest too soon after your breakup.
- Staying overly busy at work as a form of distraction.
- Engaging in addictive behaviour such as food, drugs, alcohol, or an activity.
- Obsessing on the details of things like managing your kids’ lives, a project, etc.
- Becoming attached to a particular routine.
After your breakup or divorce, you might think about your ex-partner a lot. Try to interrupt your thoughts with something else. Affirm yourself with writing down positive things that would help you in growing and moving forward. Journal your thoughts, I am still laughing as that is my reason for blogging, it all started with separation and divorce.
It is an amazing feeling when you stop seeing your ex-partner as doing something bad to you and eventually start seeing them as another human being who touched your life and interestingly enough can identify things that you learned from the experience. Meditation can get you there so much faster than fussing about what they did to you on a daily basis.
Make a List of Positive Things
It is difficult to see anything positive about you when your relationship failed, if you were all that would you not be in a successful relationship? You should write the things down about yourself, challenge yourself and write as many as you can and you will see that these qualities that you had before the breakup are still there after the breakup/divorce.
Believe in Your Value
You may have not felt valued, appreciated, or loved in your past relationship. Make a list of 10 things about you (experiences, wisdom, or actions), which contribute to the well-being of others and the world. Circle the one thing that has the most meaning for you and write it on a post-it note. Stick it on your refrigerator or computer so you can see it every day. Reinforce in your mind how important you are and in time you will feel yourself again; some never recover, do not let that person be you.