Divorce can be a bumpy journey, no matter the situation. A clean break doesn’t always mean a smooth divorce. Anything can take a turn, but it’s important to note how you can come out of the process on the other side. The one constant to divorce is self-growth.
How must one go about a self-growth journey while dealing with divorce? While many moving parts, legal, financial, parental, and social, are involved in a split, it is easy to lose your identity. This journey has three steps: recognizing, evaluating, and taking action.
Recognition and Awareness
One must recognize their position. The first step toward happiness and self-assurance post-divorce is recognizing that this is a crucial part of the divorce process. The hardships don’t quickly end after the divorce is finalized. Remind yourself that divorce is never easy, so cut yourself some slack. Step back and become aware of your position whenever things get hard. You must recognize that this is a journey that involves hard work. The good is coming. To move forward, become aware that you need to do this. If you feel that you’re losing yourself, then the first step in the process is complete. Recognizing where your head and heart are situated means you are already moving toward the goal. While this sounds easier said than done, knowing that work must be done is the most crucial part of post-divorce life.
Once you have come to terms with where your identity is positioned, evaluating who you were, who you are, and who you will be will be an important part of the journey. Divorce can be as hard as death. Grief is normal. Asking yourself, “Who am I without this person,” is something that happens in divorce and death. Don’t discredit the difficulty of divorce. For example, separating your identity from that person can be a struggle when you lose a loved one. Using a past, present, and future model is key to the evaluation step in the self-growth journey.
First, think about who you were before you knew this person. What made you happy during your childhood/adolescence? What would your younger self think about who you are now? Next, think about yourself when you were happy with this person. How did this person alter my identity? Who was I when I was with this person? Last, you can start thinking about the future when you’ve found your answers to the previous questions. Who do you want to be as a single person? What would your past self want for your future self? How will you start to separate your identity from this person? You might be ready to take action once you feel satisfied with your answers to these questions.
You must remember that you were somebody else before this person. There has to be something in your life that remains constant in your past, present, and future self that you’ve held on to. This could be a hobby, job, or practice. This part of your life will help you take action toward your future identity. As cliche, as it sounds, healing your inner child is effective for finding your identity again.
The relationships you hold with the things you love can heal the parts of yourself that may have been broken or lost in divorce. You must love yourself again before jumping into something new. Another stepping stone to this is focusing on positive relationships with others. As you start to feel like you’re finding yourself again through the things you love, you can work on your other relationships. Who is always there for you? Who has seen your growth through it all? Love doesn’t just come from romantic relationships. Cherishing the love you receive from friends and family is important.
You can, and you will find yourself again after a tough divorce. Be aware, evaluate who you were, who you are, and who you will be, and take action toward feeling like yourself again.