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Healing After Divorce Isn't a Linear Process

When going through a divorce or working through a grieving process, we want the healing process to start NOW and be over as quickly as possible. We don’t want to live in the emotional mess or the depressive darkness any longer. We don’t want the uncomfortable feelings, the melancholy moods or the sobbing fits that occur at the most inopportune times.

No one wants that. We want to feel better, move forward and live a happier life.

It can happen, but it will take time and there is a process. You will need to be ready for it and open to the emotions that will be brought up along the way. It’s a journey.

Along the way you will have ups and downs – it will be one ginormous roller coaster ride of emotions. This process isn’t just an upward progression to feeling bliss, this has more twists and turns than the best coasters in the world! So, as you start, you’ll need to buckle up and hold on tight. And even though it may feel awful, observing those emotions as they spin around and allowing them to flow through will get you the best results faster!

So, if you’re ready to jump into the healing waters after divorce, here are a few things to remember as you go.

1) You Don’t Have to Walk This Journey Alone

Finding someone to walk alongside of you through this journey can help you rebound more quickly and lessen the low times. By voicing the emotions, it can help release them from being pent up in your body. Saying them out loud, writing them down, and sharing the burden all can help alleviate the stress and tension that you’re holding in the body. Releasing your thoughts and emotions can help clear your mind and find clarity if you’re stuck.

If you have a friend or family member to whom you can confide, this could be a great person to speak with since they know you and your situation. Sometimes, though, they’re too close and can have a bias towards your ex and a goal of protecting you. In that case, a therapist or a coach may be better suited to walking the journey with you. As an unbiased resource, they can help you move forward without taking sides or becoming embroiled in every detail.

2) Healing is Not a Race

Our end goal through this journey is to be emotionally healthy and to build resilience. And though we’d like to be whole and healthy tomorrow, we have to remember that this isn’t a race. If we rush and cut corners, we can find ourselves back at square one or even worse, falling further behind.

Just like an investment in money, this is an investment in our health. Our investment graph often has losses and gains. That is the same with our emotional healing. Our goal is long-term economic growth as well as long-term healing.

Yes, it may flatten out for a few days. And that’s okay.

You may have a negative interaction with your ex.

You may have a bad day at work.

You may get stuck in traffic.

You may not be physically feeling well – your body is tired and your immune system is drained.

Maybe it’s the kids, their sports coach, their teacher.

So many things can put a stumbling block in your path.

Best thing you can do is know what those triggers are for you….prepare for it….plan ahead on how to “respond” and not “react” to it.

3) Learn to Practice Self-Compassion

This is that time in our lives when we learn to give ourselves a little grace. When we learn to talk to ourselves with gentleness. Where we treat ourselves as a true friend would, with loving kindness.

By practicing self-compassion we can improve and quicken the healing process. We bog ourselves down with what we are NOT doing, how slow the process is, how we’ve messed up or back-slid. And this only continues that downward spiral of thoughts. Having a little compassion with our self can keep us on track, moving faster and improve our overall well-being.

4) Renewing Your Mind

If you’ve been told those negative stories by your ex, it’s time to settle in a correct those. If you were told you aren’t good enough, you aren’t smart enough, or you can’t make it without him, then it’s time to right those wrongs. It will take more time to unravel those and rewrite those negative stories into who you truly are, but by giving yourself love and compassion in rewriting these stories, you can gain immeasurable confidence and strength.

We are told to leave behind the patterns of the world and to be transformed by the renewing our mind so we can recognize God’s perfect will for us. (Romans 12:2) And this is your time to renew your mind!

An activity you can practice daily to anchor into self-compassion is to check in with yourself throughout the day. (Set a reminder if that helps to prompt you.) First, check I with how you feel. Notice what emotions, thoughts, or tensions are you focusing on or feeling. Are they serving to lift you or are they dragging you down? If they are negative, what is it that you need to do to break that pattern and find a new emotion or new thought, or to release the tension? It could be anything that helps you break the loop or reduce the stress. Maybe a nap, a walk, a talk. Maybe quiet, prayer, meditation. Could be journaling, or a good old-fashioned cathartic cry. Through this begin to make positive changes -- new patterns, new affirmations, and new thoughts. It’s your beginning to intentionally re-write that story.

5) Learn to Allow the Feelings to Flow

This is soooo hard. But soooo necessary.

We often want to ignore our icky feelings. Tamp them further down. Run away.

But then they will rise-up and bubble to the surface at the most inopportune time!

Instead, get comfortable and allow those feelings to find their way all the way up and out. Allow your body, mind, and spirit to feel ALL of the feelings.

Acknowledge them. Observe them.

Maybe you can define what the feeling is, name it. Maybe you can determine where it came from, what stories in the past it’s connected to. Maybe those feelings are real and raw. Maybe it’s distorted and far away, like watching a movie. However it is they come up and present themselves, don’t fight it, don’t run away, just allow them to run their course and flow up and out.

Afterward, you may feel exhausted, fragile or vulnerable, but facing those feelings can give you freedom and release tension and stress. Honor your body as you go through this draining work. It can get you a step closer to the healing you are looking for. And each opportunity allows you to dig a little deeper each time, getting you further along the emotional journey.

So, if you’ve been working to heal through your divorce process and you’ve found it’s had its ups-and-downs, just know that’s normal. Just keep going. This gradual process will have wonderful physical and emotional benefits as you go. Give yourself this beautiful gift.

If you need support through divorce, co-parenting or creating your dream life after divorce, reach out, and let’s find a path forward. Schedule a free strategy call and let’s build your next chapter.

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