5 Ways to Boost Your Self-Esteem after Divorce
After a divorce, your self-confidence can take a huge hit. No matter how friendly or unencumbered your divorce process was, no matter how good you are at hiding it from others, feelings of worthlessness can hit you in the quiet moments when you’re alone.
But a failed marriage isn’t the same as a failed person. It’s no easy feat to mesh two separate people into a single relationship. While divorce can feel like a failure, it can also be the very thing that sets you back on course to yourself.
But first, the healing process.
Self-esteem and divorce
While marriage shouldn’t be a benchmark of self-worth, it can be a big one. Divorce has a way of shattering that.
Depending on how long you were married, how well you kept your individual identity, or how much sense of self you entered the marriage with, life after divorce can leave you feeling diminished, alone, and maybe even ashamed. You may wonder if you are even lovable.
Tips for boosting self-esteem
Self-esteem isn’t the same as being self-absorbed or narcissistic. It’s self-love, self-respect, and the feeling that you have worth as an individual. But divorce can leave you questioning your value.
How do you get back to yourself and learn to love yourself again?
Avoid the “failure” mindset
Failure carries some heavy baggage. Many people were brought up on the success-at-all-costs model of living. A model in which failure is simply not acceptable.
But failure is an unavoidable part of life. And it has educational value! It forces you to pay attention and reconsider your boundaries and what you’re willing to endure. It forces you to trust your guy and move to action when faced with glaring red flags.
If you only consider divorce as a failure, you’re missing out. The pain of divorce delivers with it some important lessons that can enhance the rest of your life.
The lessons learned in divorce are different for everybody, but two big lessons many people learn are the value of cooperation and communication.
Moving through your recovery process means clearing out your negative emotional clutter to make room for positivity.
This looks different for everyone. It may mean keeping a gratitude jar or an intention journal. It may mean creating a vision board. It may mean binging on laugh-out-loud movies or reading uplifting books. It may mean quiet meditation or running a marathon.
Stop comparing yourself to others
Mental health professionals have long known that comparing oneself to others can be a huge barrier to emotional well-being. This is especially true as you scroll through your friends’ (or even your ex’s) social media post-divorce.
Comparison robs you of joy and perspective. If you measure yourself against others around you, you’re comparing your not-so-perfect current reality to their happy, often staged Instagram-worthy moments. But those moments are just selective snapshots. Often, they don’t reflect reality at all.y
The reality is that everyone has problems and deals with obstacles at different points in life. Right now, you have your own obstacles. And you need to deal with them in your own way. Comparing yourself to others right now makes you unhappier than you need to be.
Identify your strengths
Divorce can exhaust and sidetrack you from who truly are and who you want to be. Remember your strengths. Play to those, and focus on what nourishes you. It may also be time for self-discovery and new experiences: traveling, learning, new forms of self-care.
Get outside help
The grief and loss of a relationship is a heavy load to bear. You may feel like you’ve been pushed to the ground and can’t get up by yourself. Fortunately, a great deal of outside support and help is available. From online and in-person support groups to professional therapy, there are people who understand what you’re going through and can help you make your way to the other side.
Two excellent resources for finding a therapist are the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy's online Therapist Locator and the American Psychological Association's Psychologist Locator.
At Hello Divorce, we want to be part of your support system. Our purpose is to minimize the legal, financial, and emotional sting of divorce so you can face your future with self-worth and optimism. Contact us to see how we can help.
ReferencesPsychologist Locator. APA.
Therapy Locator. American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists.