If you’ve found your way to this article, chances are you’re contemplating divorce or presently going through one. Either way, it’s likely you’re a bit overwhelmed. That’s understandable. Like any tough life transition, going through a divorce is unchartered territory for most, and typically laden with emotions.
Here are few tips for making divorce easier and more manageable:
Dare to Dream
There are times while going through a divorce when the emotional pain of the process can be paralyzing. You can begin to doubt yourself or fall prey to emotional blackmail. The fear of economic insecurity or being alone can affect your decision making. During those times visualize yourself five years down the road, when the divorce has become a memory detached from emotions.
As the clinical psychologist, Lynn Geiger, Ph.D. suggests, “It may be helpful to remember that there are many Happily Ever After’s and this marriage was only one among several. When we can let go of a broken or shattered dream, we have room for new dreams to grow.” Divorce Coach and Cofounder of SAS for Women®, Liza Caldwell, echoes Lynn, “To keep going, through, to get through, you must know your life on the other side is going to be more beautiful than you can ever imagine.”
So, take time to picture your beautiful, future life. In your mind’s eye see yourself happy, healthy and independent, perhaps in a new job or new home. Visualize your children making new friends and imagine the sound of joyful laughter at your newly-configured dinner table. Envisioning your future can help you achieve the daunting task of becoming un-married with more confidence and optimism.
Master the Pause
Viktor Frankl once said, “Between stimulus and response there is space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” When applied to the process of divorce, this quote is never more profound.
Divorce is rife with uncomfortable emotions, fear, and anger being the two most prevalent. When we allow ourselves to be overly reactionary, meaning we make decisions, or have conversations, or send emails when triggered by anger and fear, we are not looking out for our highest good. However, when we allow ourselves to hold the space between our soon-to-be ex-spouse’s unreasonable request or behavior, and our response, we give ourselves time for our emotions to abate. Thus, we make decisions from a place of strength, using a rational more thought-out process.
In other words, don’t let your feelings rule your behaviors or decisions while divorcing. Remember, ultimately divorce is a negotiation. Whenever possible, try and remove emotions from your responses so that you make more sound judgments and healthier choices.
The Wisdom of Self-care
There is a reason why people who join the military start with boot camp. Doing battle requires physical and mental readiness. Divorce, at its worst, feels like engaging in battle, and at its best feels overwhelming. With that said, prioritize your self-care, doing so is the equivalent of divorce boot camp.
As Erin Risius, Wellness Counselor at Hilton Head Health, says “The impact of divorce takes a tremendous physical, mental and emotional toll, so it’s important to frontload on self-care and support during this time. The first year post-divorce is probably the toughest. So, stress management strategies, such as regular exercise, eating nourishing foods, and allowing support from trusted friends, family members and/or a therapist can go a long way in helping one to process the range of emotions that often accompanies this process. “
Assemble Your Team
The degree of difficulty in a life transition like divorce corresponds directly to your level of preparedness. You’re lucky because in this day and age there is a myriad of professionals that can help you both prepare for divorce, and navigate the actual process. Assembling a great divorce team can do wonders to mitigate the complexity of the divorce experience.
So, who do you want on your team? You might think the first person you select for your team is an attorney. Not so, according to Divorce Coach Liza Caldwell who says, “Before you hire a lawyer, you have to decide what divorce process is for you. Is it mediation, collaborative, litigation? What are the pros and cons of each?” According to Liza, those are the type of questions that a divorce coach can help you answer. A divorce coach can guide you through contemplating divorce, selecting the type of divorce you want, screening lawyers, the initial separation phase, the intimidating paperwork and even accompany you to court.
Once you have your coach and lawyer lined up, consider hiring a professional to help steer you through the financial fall-out. Certified Divorce Financial Analyst and Founder of Polaris Capital Advisors, Emily Johnson, advises, “The financial decisions you make before, during and immediately after a divorce have life-altering consequences. Before making these decisions, it is imperative that you have a solid understanding of what your financial picture looks like, the possible options for asset division, and the consequences of each of those options.”
Almost everyone can benefit from a great therapist on their team as well. No matter what the circumstances of your divorce, going through it will mean traversing strange and bumpy terrain. An experienced counselor can help sort through the layering of emotions and help you find meaning in the journey.
Last but not least, don’t forget to add friends and close family members to your team, ones who support you in a positive way, not ones that fan the flames of anger and fear. If you have children, you may need help with childcare as you meet with your attorney, coach, financial advisor or therapist. Friends and family can be a big help there. Allow yourself to lean on people who care about you. One day you’ll be able to repay the favor.
I’ve always loved the phrase, “This too shall pass.” Though it may sound trite, it’s true. You will survive a divorce, and on the other side you will discover that you are wiser, layered, interesting, empowered, inspired and reinvented! In the words of Liza Caldwell, “And step forth (it’s okay if you fall). Life, your life, is calling you.”
Join Lizette in Hilton Head
Our Life Reinvented Divorce Empowerment Retreat has assembled a group of respected divorce recovery professionals and empowerment specialists who are passionate about helping you leave the wreckage of divorce behind while putting you firmly on the path to your best life yet. Register today!