doing divorce well: seven things you can do to heal quicker

by: dr. laura richter
posted: tuesday, july 29, 2014

There is no easy way to go through divorce. It's painful and life changing. First and most obvious, is that the person you believed would be by your side forever is gone. Whether your marriage was good or bad, disconnecting emotionally is like going through withdrawals and it can evoke a lot of really intense feelings.

The greatest gift you can give yourself is the gift of time; but that's not the only way to get through the pain. What seems to work best is taking a pro-active approach that includes: planting your feet firmly on the ground, accepting what is happening, and preparing for the emotional ups and downs. Here are some things that you can do to help you heal and recreate the life you deserve.

It's gonna hurt! Have your feelings, have ALL of your feelings. The rollercoaster of emotions can sometimes be overwhelming. Some days it will be difficult to move through your day and keep your commitments. You just have to bring the feelings along with you, and keep moving. Have a daily plan of things that you want to do and stick to it. Most importantly, don't isolate. Stay connected to others.

And remember that feelings don't define who you are, they are merely something you are experiencing. Take time to care for yourself when you are feeling sad, frightened, or angry and reach out to people you trust who can help comfort you through the rough times.

Try not to look back. Try not to compare. It's tough to envision what your new life will be and it's not uncommon to look at others who still have what you thought you would always have and not be a little envious. Accepting what you can't change comes slowly; but when you get there, it will help you heal faster. Hold your head high and embrace the people who still love and care about you and let go of the ones who don't.

Focus on the good things that still remain in your life and be grateful for them. Be sure to count yourself among your blessings -- your strength, your wisdom and your determination.

Don't ask why. Ask what's next? It's o.k. to ask why, but the important question is what's next, where do I want to go from here and how do I get there? Taking a pro-active approach to divorce recovery means that you evaluate your situation and then decide how to recreate a purposeful, joyful life. In a sense, you are being granted a "do over." Questions like, what do you want your life to look like moving forward? Who do you want to be a part of it? And what do you want to experience will help you transform from victim to victor. Maybe you didn't choose this, but it's chosen you. So move through it as bravely and gracefully as you can.

Get busy and develop an amazing, kick-ass support system that reflects all of the things you are passionate about and love. You have been granted an amazing gift -- the opportunity to surround yourself with people who are interested in you and what you have to offer, who truly care about you, respect you, care about your happiness, and want to see you succeed. Don't settle for less.

Perception is reality. Especially when the divorce is not your choice, it's easy to project the rejection of your partner onto yourself. The idea that your ex chose to leave the marriage is NOT a reflection on who you are. How you perceive yourself should be based on much more than just your marriage. Take a personal inventory of all of the things you have accomplished -- having children, being a great Mom, meeting career goals, experiencing fabulous friendships and family connections -- these are all the things that are important now. Ask your friends to help add to the list. Don't let this one experience change how you value yourself and your life.

Turn to your highest self. We all have the capacity to perceive a higher power or a profound energy that connects us to the entire universe. Some call it religion, spirituality or even pure love. This source of energy allows for the creation of all that is. It's important to love your family and everyone else that you treasure. But the relationship that you have with your highest sense of self should be treasured above all else. This is the relationship that tells you that you are never alone. This relationship creates hope and trust and courage and passion and it is the most important relationship to cultivate. Whatever your true essence is -- whether it is your faith in G-d or meditation or spiritual energy, you will find it by going within yourself and discovering the direct relationship you have to it. Make this a priority in your life.

For many of the women I work with in Boca Raton, Florida, going through a divorce becomes the journey of their lives. Being able to recover from divorce well and go on to thrive, not just survive, requires being open to every new possibility. One thing is for sure--change will be everywhere. Explore, experiment and grow from it. Embrace it, and be open to it. The best may be yet to come!