After the divorce: 5 ways to rediscover the real you

Find yourself when your new life begins.

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  • Written by Joanie Winberg, CBHC for Divorce Support Center.

  • Going through divorce is a challenging time in a person's life. It is hard to adjust to being single again, as well as living "out of the habit" of being married, especially if you have been married for many, many years.

  • It is suggested you use this precious opportunity to rediscover yourself. Think of this time in your life as an adventure to explore the real you. If you have worked outside the home combined with being a mom and wife for the last ten, fifteen or twenty years, you may have lost yourself along the way. Certainly not on purpose, but as most women try to do it all as "super" moms, many times we put our own wants and needs on hold to keep our families and jobs running smoothly.

  • Take a deep breath and let's start to rediscover your true passions and say, "Will the real me please stand up?"

  • 1. You are already magnificent

  • Realizing we are all born as "gold nuggets" is a hard concept for many women to believe about themselves, especially after divorce. Think about how magnificent you really are. Over time, you might have forgotten your unique gifts and are only thinking of what you don't like about yourself or your life. Set a new intention, starting today, to list all of your great qualities and read that list every day.

  • 2. Be kind to yourself

  • During and after a divorce, it is common to have the feeling of grieving similar to that of the loss of someone. Many women feel the need to stay busy to keep their minds off of this stressful time, such as working overtime or cleaning the house from top to bottom. But let this time also include pampering yourself. Barter with a friend or neighbor to watch your children or leave work a few minutes early so you can stop, for example, and sit on a park bench long enough to get that sense of the unique and special YOU. Take this time to experience life even if only 10 minutes without feeling like a wife, mother, sister or daughter — simply you.

  • 3. Letting go of regrets and bitterness

  • Holding onto regrets and bitterness will only keep your life from moving forward. Is your inner voice working overtime with all the "what ifs" and "if only's"? This is normal for a period of time, but ask yourself, Are these thoughts serving me or helping me feel better? Will thinking about them over and over again change anything? To move your life forward after divorce, it is important to acknowledge your feelings and learn from past experiences in order to prepare yourself for the next exciting chapter of your life. Yes, there is life after divorce. Learn to let it go. Just, let it go.

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  • 4. What makes your heart sing?

  • What really matters to you? What do you feel is your true purpose in life? If someone asked you that question, how would you answer them?

  • Why is it so important to be clear on your life's purpose? Knowing your purpose will give you a true sense of who you are and why you were put on this earth. It gives your life direction and helps you make clear and easy decisions concerning that direction. It's your compass. Without a purpose, your life may be compared to a piece of driftwood floating endlessly in whichever direction the tide decides to take it and ending up on any beach with no will of its own.

  • Take this time to focus on what really matters to you. Feel the true passions that exist in your heart and write them down.

  • 5. Be true to yourself

  • During and even after a divorce, we are often filled with doubts. We question ourselves about what is right, what to do or how we feel. Should I or shouldn't I? It seems difficult to make a decision. Listen to your heart. What feels right? What doesn't feel quite right? If a situation does not feel right, honor your resistance by pausing or waiting. Sometimes waiting is the best thing to do. By waiting you may have allowed the situation to unfold more easily without having to worry. If a decision feels good or right, usually that means you are heading in the right direction. When we listen to our hearts, we are in integrity with ourselves. When we are in integrity with ourselves, we learn to say NO more easily.

  • Divorce is not easy or fun, but you can make it through this time of your life by realizing you WILL make it. Also, honor yourself and listen to your heart. Your true purpose and passions are waiting to be rediscovered within you. When you have discovered the "gold nugget" you already are, you will start to live your life with more ease and enjoy the feeling of peace. "You are truly free."

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