Coping Skills You Gain from Going through a Divorce
Every experience is a learning experience. In fact, the most powerful lessons we learn often come packaged as large obstacles and painful feelings.
Divorce and the wisdom it provides
Divorce hurts like no other hurt. You lose yourself in mourning for weeks and months. You lose your sense of safety and perhaps even your sense of identity. This big change can leave you feeling hollow and alone – even if you’re the one who initiated the break-up.
Despite all the negative emotions and anguish you’re feeling, you have financial and social issues to tend to. Your very future depends on it! This is stressful, indeed. But we’re here to tell you that divorce also gives you some powerful gains.
Let’s look at this more closely.
Like a phoenix, divorce allows you to emerge from the ashes as a new person. You get a new beginning, a new purpose, and valuable tools to carry into your future.
Divorce forces you to tackle problems head-on. It requires you to be present enough to make critical decisions that affect your future. For example, you may have to decide where you’re going to live. How you’re going to pay for things. How you’ll co-parent your children.
You might feel like crawling into the fetal position – and maybe there will be times that you do – but in the divorce process, there are instances that command you to your feet. You learn to confront the realities of your future … and you learn that you are able to do this even when you would rather be curled up under the covers.
Read about the stages of grief in divorce: Recovering and Healing from Divorce Grief.
Divorce makes you take a hard look at what’s important in life. It teaches you how to let the insignificant stuff go. As you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse negotiate a settlement, you learn the fine art of compromise. You find that, in order to keep your sanity, it’s best not to sweat the small stuff.
What are your top priorities as you negotiate your divorce settlement? Keeping a roof over your head. Having enough money to pay the bills. The mental and physical health of your kids. These are aspects of your daily life you may have taken for granted before, but now, you realize what a top priority they are.
Divorce teaches you how to say no. You may be saying “no” to power struggles, drama, or pain. You may be saying “no” to complacency in a life that wasn’t fulfilling you. Whatever you are now choosing to say no to, it’s an exercise in boundary-setting for the sake of your own well-being.
Not only does divorce teach you to stand your ground, but it teaches you to do so on your own two feet. As someone who has been part of a couple for a while, this can be an eye-opening new coping skill.
Divorce teaches you to manage your stress. If you don’t look after your own emotional and mental health, no one will. This may mean taking more time for simple self-care routines at home, or it may mean phoning a therapist’s office and scheduling an appointment.
Regardless of how you manage stress, during divorce, it becomes quite obvious that you must manage it. There are important people who count on you in this world – yourself being one of them.
Some people feel exhausted and worn down by their bad marriage. In fact, some people feel low on self-esteem based on the quality of their marriage. Divorce requires you to step up to the plate in a way you may never have done before.
Divorce gives you a do-over. Once you’re forced to actively participate in the process, things begin to shift. As you slowly move forward, you gain momentum. Your divorce grows smaller and smaller in your rearview mirror, and you have the time and space to get reacquainted with – and fall in love with – yourself.
Divorce teaches you the importance of self-love and self-care. You learn that self-love is not selfishness. Rather, it’s self-respect.
Through this ordeal, it is up to you to care for yourself, even when you think you can’t. You may also learn the art of accepting help from others, which some people have a tougher time doing than others.
Divorce teaches us that being alone is not the same as being lonely. With the right mindset, post-divorce aloneness can feel like power. Like strength. Like home. And when the time is right, you’ll invite others in.
What if you still can't see the forest for the trees?
Divorce is a journey, and it can take a great deal of 20/20 hindsight to appreciate its gifts. If you’re still in the middle of the muck, you may not have gotten to a place of appreciation yet. That’s okay.
Take one day at a time. You will experience a range of emotions, from the highest highs to the lowest lows. So be sure to take care of yourself. Get enough sleep. Talk to people who support you without judgment.
At Hello Divorce, we provide logistical and emotional support to those who are navigating the turmoil of divorce and those who are striving to create a better life for themselves in its wake. We offer low-cost online divorce plans, professional services, and a host of post-divorce resources as well.
Schedule a free 15-minute phone call to learn more about us.
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