Every divorce is different and brings unique challenges. However, with every breakup comes a re-definition, a movement when you move from being a couple to an individual. While it is not unusual to experience feelings of loss, loneliness, or grief, this can also be a time of self-reflection and growth. So how do you ring in the New Year with a new and improved you? Today, I share my top five tips for moving on from divorce with grace, joy, and, yes, enthusiasm.
Move through, not against your feelings.
Your feelings are real. To move through and past them, first, you must allow yourself to experience those feelings. It is normal to ignore pain or suffering or pretend it is not happening by busying yourself with distractions. But by doing so, you only postpone the inevitable. Get the help you need; see a therapist, join a support group, or speak to clergy. Do whatever it takes to heal your heart. Give yourself the time, permission, and space to mourn your divorce.
Remember your good qualities, what makes you who you are, including your values. Take a self-discovery trip, and focus on what makes you happy. It may mean re-discovering what you loved before your marriage and divorce or discovering new passions.
This process involves soul-searching. Have you always wanted to learn Italian? Run a marathon? Dye your hair blue? Now is the time. Remember what brings you joy and discover new paths back to it.
Without the other party in your life, you will be taking on a few new roles. That may mean managing money where you haven't for quite a while, learning to fix your car, or taking care of the children on your own. Be prepared to reach outside your comfort zone and allow yourself to make mistakes. It is all part of growing and learning. Change and growth can feel uncomfortable. Remind yourself to push past the fear or discomfort.
Set goals. Know what you want and plan the steps you will need to take to get there. Start a journal to keep track of ideas. Permit yourself to ask for what you want and believe in yourself. You have the power to actualize those dreams.
Cultivate an attitude of gratitude
Studies repeatedly show that people who focus on gratitude feel happier. According to Harvard Medical School, gratitude "helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships." Fortunately, there are many ways to express gratitude in your life.
You can consciously make an effort to thank others. Keep a journal to record the simple gifts you receive every day. Develop a daily mindfulness practice, meditation, or prayer. Then, before you know it, feeling grateful will become as natural as breathing, which is perhaps the most valuable gift we get each day — life and the possibilities it brings.