“Divorce recovery” gives rise to thoughts like, “I never thought I’d have to do this. I’ve never been in this predicament before.” Or, “Everything is new and threatening. I feel lost and afraid things will never get better.”
These reactions are normal. Recovery from divorce is difficult at best. It is not something we have done all our lives and feel competent at. However, it is important to realize that you already possess all the personal resources necessary to recover successfully from divorce.
What are these resources, you ask? In order to travel the path to a successful recovery from divorce, we need confidence we can do it, a sense of right direction in the midst of emotional chaos, the courage to press on when things seem unclear or even hopeless, and reassurance that we are on the right track during the process.
OK. But, if I am supposed to have them already, where the heck are they? Let’s take them one at a time.
1. CONFIDENCE Gain Confidence from Our Past BLESSINGS IN DISGUISE
We’ve all “been there, done that” when it comes to surviving unwanted change successfully. Whether it is getting over our awkward first love affair in junior high school, making a comeback after getting fired, or dealing with the illness or death of a friend or loved one, everyone has gone through unwanted change. Eventually, when we have come out the other side, we can look back and find some good that came from the experience. A call this a “Blessing in Disguise.”
Acknowledging a blessing born by change gives us confidence to face future change, including recovery from divorce. Even though we may not have been through divorce before, all life changes follow the same transition process. Therefore, what we learned from previous changes we can apply to our divorce recovery. Blessings in disguise are tangible proof that we can do it again because we’ve done it before.
The key to finding the confidence to confront divorce recovery is simply to identify our blessings in disguise. They are tangible proof that we can do it again because we’ve been handling change successfully all our lives.
2. DIRECTION Find Direction from Your Set of PERSONAL PRINCIPLES
Going through a major life change, like divorce recovery, is like driving down the interstate in a fog. We try our best to keep the car in the road. However, when we drift too far to the left or right, we hear and feel the thump, thump, thump of the shoulder telling us we are drifting off course. Our personal principles are the washboards that give us the thump-thump-thump warning we need when we start to drift off our desired path through divorce recovery.
Some principles will be especially important to maintain. Some of those important principles will be threatened by the divorce recovery process. Successfully navigating your recovery from divorce will require you to first identify your core personal principles and then protect and use them when making the hard decisions of your divorce recovery.
3. COURAGE Obtain Courage from Your Personal Source of HOPE
It takes courage to go through divorce recovery. Hope gives us that courage. The more we believe in the potential for good, the less daunting are the fears of an uncertain future and the less paralyzing the pain of loss. Staying focused on the hope for good offered by divorce recovery allows us to thrive, rather than merely survive. Possessing an internal belief that some good exists in all situations allows us to use our recovery from divorce as positive growth. Hope strips away the chains of fear and loss.
Your particular source of hope may be found in a solid belief in yourself, an unwavering trust in others, comfort from philosophical writings, awe at the natural universe, or faith in spiritual/religious beliefs. The source you use does not matter so long as it is meaningful and powerful to you. What does matter is you must take active steps to avail yourself of hope’s courageous promise.
4. REASSURANCE Get Reassurance You Are Doing the Right Thing from GRATITUDE
Being reassured we are on the right track is essential, especially during the difficult times of divorce recovery. Gratitude lies at the heart of accepting change and gives us that reassurance. We can observe how gratitude helps give reassurance and comfort to the grieving family of a deceased loved one when they say such things as, “Thank goodness, he’s in a better place now” or, “I’m so glad his suffering is over.” Finding gratitude for the good in your divorce recovery affirms the fact that you are making progress. Gratitude opens us to be more receptive to accepting change and using it for good.
Know that you can relax in the knowledge that confidence, direction, courage, and reassurance are constant companions in your efforts to make a successful recovery from divorce.