She entered the room crying. As I introduced myself, I took in her red-rimmed eyes, her blotchy complexion, and her haggard face. How could I dive into the cold details of legal proceedings in the midst of such raw grief?
Then it happened.
As I began detailing the mediation process, I cracked a joke about myself and she smiled. In a moment, the real woman shone through. She was beautiful!!
Divorce is so much more than legal. As finances, children, and lifestyle become items for negotiation, men and women begin to feel lost. Worse, at it’s core–divorce means rejection. Rejection by the person closest to you. The person who vowed to be there, no matter what. As you move through divorce, while addressing the legal, be sure to attend to the personal. Build yourself again.
Connect with your strengths.
You have them. You do. Make a cup of coffee or tea (or something stronger) and find a quiet place. Make a list of all the strengths you know you have. If you need help to get started, try the following:
- Consider websites such as: http://www.myrkothum.com/personal-strengths-and-weaknesses/. for lists of basic strengths and identify those that describe you.
- Ask close friends what they see as your strengths.
- Identify times and places you receive affirmation–note why.
Sometimes this feels too raw. Too lost. Too hopeless. Try.
As you remind yourself of who you are, your person-hood emerges–ready to blossom in a new way.
Connect with your priorities.
What matters most to you–
- Being trustworthy?
- Caring for your children?
- Achieving specific career goals?
Make a list of traits, ongoing endeavors, and specific achievements that matter to you. List these according to importance, then set a time by which you’d like to accomplish them–now? In the next year? Before you retire?
As you look forward to new ways to focus your life, hope returns. You gain a vision for all you can still do. In the midst of loss, this makes your present life more than just loss. There is also gain as you use the next stage of life to pursue your dreams.
Connect with your friends.
Sometimes the busyness of life means we’ve reduced our connections to people at work and people at home. Somehow, friends fall by the wayside as we serve clients, raise children, and run houses.
Reconnect with friends. They can help with the logistics as you rewrite the script for your life by carpooling children to events, moving furniture to a new place, or bringing meals when you’re too overwhelmed to cook.
More, they remind you that people like you. They value you. They are still with you, even if your spouse is not. As you weave connections into a network of support, joy returns.
It’s easy to lose self in the grief of divorce. As you make legal decisions and find new living arrangements, set aside intentional time to recover yourself.
If this seems too hard, The Resolution Center offers Divorce Coaching. The Coach helps clients work through a process of looking forward to the life they want and creating a plan for getting there. Please call if we can help you find hope and build a new future.