It is an understatement to say that going through a divorce is one of the most stressful and traumatic experiences that you may encounter. Whether you are married for 5 years or 25 years, the divorce process can be brutal. Since a divorce is beyond challenging, do you check in with yourself and ask “How am I truly coping?” There is no correct answer to this question, because there is no “one way” to deal with a divorce.
Acknowledge How You Truly Feel
A good starting point for a “self-check” is to acknowledge how you truly feel. When you are able to identify and acknowledge the emotions you are experiencing, do not be ashamed of feeling the way that you do, no matter what those feelings are. Be honest and unafraid to ask yourself, “Am I angry?” If the answer is yes, know that your anger is understandable and justifiable. If there is ever a time to be extremely upset, a marriage ending in divorce is one of those times. Some people may believe that it is wrong to feel angry. However, anger in and of itself is not bad. How you choose to channel your anger is what determines whether the anger is detrimental.
Even if you are not angry, you may feel extremely sad or scared. Under the circumstances, these are reasonable as well. To go through a divorce is to experience a major loss in your life, and a venture into the unknown. Therefore, if you find yourself grieving, your emotions are to be expected. NO ONE CAN TELL YOU HOW YOU SHOULD FEEL!!!
Find A Positive Support System
It is unhealthy to allow others to negatively influence how you feel. Take a look at the people you communicate with the most and determine whether they are adding positivity or negativity to your life.
Do you find yourself confiding in people who are feeding your anxiety and stress by exacerbating your feelings of helplessness or hopelessness regarding your situation? If so, you should consider limiting your communications with those individuals, or at least refrain from discussing your divorce and/or your spouse with them.
While you are going through your divorce, you should interact with people who care enough about you to acknowledge how difficult your situation is, yet fill you with optimism and encouragement so that during those times when you feel your weakest, your support system can prop you up and be strong for you. Please keep in mind that someone being supportive does NOT mean showing support by bad mouthing your soon to be ex-spouse.
Channel Your Energy Toward A Positive New Life
Because going through a divorce means that your life is going to change, why not take the necessary steps to have your life change for the better? Explore a new project that you can immerse yourself in whether it is a new career, a hobby, or anything you find enjoyable. There is no requirement that you wait until your divorce is final before you start striving to live the fulfilling life you deserve. The “better version of yourself” can begin to emerge while you are going through your divorce.
Focusing on the positive or finding a new motivation is not easy to do, especially if you feel that many things have not gone your way. However, just because something is not easy, does not mean it is impossible. Try not to get discouraged if you have a bad day, because having a bad day does not make you a bad person, it just means you are human. Each day seek to be intentional and know that your life has meaning and purpose. You are courageous! By taking one tiny step, you can introduce yourself to a rewarding and extraordinary life.
Nicole Lewis is a San Francisco Bay Area native, and now practices all aspects of family law, and is known for being an honest and compassionate practitioner.