I wanted a divorce as much as I wanted the shingles.
Or a nice juicy steak (as a vegetarian, not very much).
Or to jump off a cliff on a bungee cord where I would free fall 100 feet and bounce back up.
In other words, I didn’t want a divorce.
It wasn’t something I welcomed or invited into my life.
True, I had regularly threatened divorce or suggested it as a solution to our marital problems, but I didn’t want it to happen.
The threat of divorce or the idea of divorce felt a lot better than the reality of divorce.
The actual process of getting a divorce was lousy and soul-crushing.
(A side note here: Never threaten to end your relationship with divorce if you have no intention of getting one. You might get what you ask for.)
With divorce, our very personal struggles and unhealthy conflicts became public.
I traded in a life I knew for something foreign.
New living arrangements.
New financial arrangements.
Splitting our belongings.
Filing legal paperwork. (I’d done it before for others, but seeing my own name there was an entirely different experience.)
Splitting our friends.
Each step of the divorce was more painful than the last. Each step I took felt like walking across a piece of coal that became hotter the farther I progressed.
Each step was slow, deliberate, and more scarring than what had come before!
Each step of the divorce process was an uphill mental, emotional, and psychological roller-coaster. Even for me, who had practiced divorce law and had filed the paperwork for dozens of divorces in the past.
Your spouse may be telling you that he’s done with the relationship, that he’s ready for a divorce, or that “he loves you but is no longer in love with you.” It really might have come out of left field for you.
Blindsided by the news, you’ll feel like the air’s been knocked out of you. Especially when you thought your marriage was going along just fine.
If you don’t want a divorce but find yourself going through one, here are some ways to cope with the process.
I can’t promise that you can make your divorce disappear, but these coping steps will help you survive the process and come out of it a better and stronger person…and possibly save your marriage.
1) Take it one day at a time.
It’s shocking news that your spouse wants a divorce, especially the first time you hear it.
Most days you won’t even feel like getting out of bed. And you’ll hate even getting in bed because you’re left by yourself with your fears and loneliness.
Your whole life flashes through your mind.
Your future appears bleak and non-existent.
To survive this period, you’ve just got to take it one day at a time.
Focus on getting through just one day – today.
You can’t control tomorrow or predict your future.
Planning and seeing your future and your next steps can wait.
Survive the workday, eat, spend time with the kids, do some chores.
Keep it simple – one day at a time.
2) Be prepared for the heavy mental and emotional sabotage.
You’ll likely experience thoughts of anger, guilt, and frustration. You’ll feel like taking your life, crawling into a hole and never coming out or disappearing into thin air.
Your mind will start getting sentimental, nostalgic, fearful, and vengeful. You’ll go through a wide range of mental images – many of them negative. You’ll want to blame, hurt, or harm your husband or wife!
If you can step away from these thoughts for a minute, you’ll be able to see that they stem from your fears. These thoughts are but a figment of your imagination – the worst possible fears about your future.
There’s no better time than right now to work on a mindfulness technique that helps you become more aware of your thoughts and emotions.
3) Who can you talk to?
When you’re going through something so shocking, you don’t want to burden anyone else with heavy emotional weight, but this is the one time in your life when you really need someone.
Your emotions and feelings will take a heavy toll on you if you don’t have a friend or counselor to speak to. Help someone help you process your feelings so that you don’t feel like doing anything harmful to yourself or someone else.
Talking to anyone – a friend, a coach, a relative will help. If you’re not up for sharing your feelings with others, start by writing them down; you’ll feel better putting your words on paper.
4) Seek love and compassion.
Regardless of what happens, if you stay together or go through with a divorce, there’s a life waiting for you after this ordeal.
To help you overcome and move through this event in your life, start taking steps towards love and compassion for yourself. You start loving yourself by being more gentle with your own thoughts and speaking more kindly to yourself. Also, treat yourself better.
There’s no need for anger or self-sabotage or guilt. You don’t “deserve” divorce and are not being “punished.”
You didn’t do anything wrong and aren’t solely responsible for your marriage falling apart.
The way to win your future and win your life is to continue showing compassion and love for yourself.
Slow things down in your life. Start saying “no” to what no longer serves you. Start saying “yes” to your body, mind, and soul.
Take actions that help you feel good about yourself – positive affirmations, positive visualizations, supportive friends, relaxation, and sleep can help you survive the divorce process and become a strong person for life.
Your level of self-care and the extent to which you repair your self-esteem might also help save your marriage or give you a better perspective about yourself to make wiser decisions.
5) Don’t worsen the situation.
With divorce swirling in your life, you might want to do a lot of things to “save” your marriage. In a period of desperation, you’ll think the answer is more counseling, more communication or even begging your husband to hold on to the marriage.
Try not to take drastic actions or push your spouse away from you as you go through this period of your life.
If there’s any hope of saving the marriage, you must step back, let go for a bit and focus on your own internal, emotional state.
Boosting your confidence and practicing self-love will by far improve the situation more than anything you do to “save” the marriage.
6) Practice introspection.
There are many things you’d like to do to change the situation, but all those things may be out of your control.
What’s in your control are self-understanding and insights about yourself, which are always available to you.
You’ve typically looked outward at your husband, at the finances, at your future, at your relationship.
When you have no time to focus on what’s within you, you become preoccupied with everything you see in front of you.
Take steps to slow down your life and go within. Find the time and energy to focus on yourself and even your essence, your soul.
It’s time to connect with your true self and be open to everything you’re learning about yourself.
There are two options when dealing with the possibility of a divorce – resistance and denial, or acceptance, and surrender.
You can fight and do everything in your power to stop a divorce, or you can find ways to come to terms with what’s happening in your life to survive a divorce.
Allowing things to happen, practicing acceptance, and surrendering to life will give you more peace of mind.
You don’t have to struggle so much mentally and emotionally if you’re willing to let go a bit.
Practice surrendering by learning to accept what’s happening, not pushing it away, resisting it, or trying to stop it.
Let the situation sit with you for a bit. Imagine what it would be like if you could accept what’s happening to you and be okay with it.
8) Live in the moment.
Instead of running away to safe and happy time in the past, keep bringing yourself to this moment.
You might feel like you couldn’t possibly live in the moment in front of you because it is so painful. You feel like life is yanking your heart out of you.
Yet here’s the thing – at this very moment, in this second, everything is fine. Anxiety, worry, and fear fill your life only when you fast forward or rewind.
In this very second, nothing’s wrong. If you are completely present and aware of this moment, you’re not going to be fighting and struggling. Breathe into this moment. Breathe out in this moment.
If you can’t be in this place throughout the day, spend a few minutes of in-moment living.
9. Practice optimism.
I don’t know if you believe the Secret or any of those “law of attraction” materials, but here’s what I do know from personal experience.
Your external world tends to follow your internal world. How you feel and see the world from the inside is how you see the world unfolding around you.
Staying positive and optimistic can only help the situation, today and in the future.
I know you don’t want a divorce but try looking at the bright side of things. There may not appear to be a lot of bright sides at the moment.
Try gratitude daily.
Try small acts of forgiveness toward the people who hurt you and cause you pain. Even your spouse.
The more you’re able to view your situation positively, the more likely the situation will unfold positively.
Look at the situation and see how it’s here to serve you and deliver the greatest good to you. Seek the lessons that this experience provides. Ask how you’re going to grow from this time of your life.
You may not want a divorce and you may not be able to stop the divorce from happening.
A lot of this circumstance is out of your control.
If you can learn to step away from the circumstances and make some changes within, you’ll be better prepared to deal with the next chapter of your life.
You can work on compassion, care, and love for yourself. This experience can make you a stronger and better person.
Becoming more grounded and positive can help save your marriage.
You’re the type of person who doesn’t like being called selfish.
You like to be the go-to person, the fixer-upper and the peacemaker.
You worry about what others will think of you if you put yourself first. You feel guilty when you say “no”.
You imagine what your life will be like if you do put yourself first, but struggling with not knowing how others are going to react. You are afraid people may start to dislike you.
Well, you’re right.
Some people may start to dislike you, but I can guarantee not everyone will stop liking you. The ones who truly appreciate you and understand the give and take balance will stick around. And those who don’t are the ones you weed out in your life so that you can have more energy and time to replenish yourself to give to the people and activities that matter to you in life.
You see I was raised in a culture where speaking my mind and sharing my feelings was frowned upon.
To be loved and accepted, I needed to excel in education, mask my imperfections and not trouble others with my woes, as people would think I am weak and undesirable. This impacted my life, specifically when it came to relationships.
I had a hard time trusting people and letting people into my life fully. I was afraid of being judged if I wasn’t able to meet up to other people’s expectation giving them a glimpse of my flaws yet, I would judge others if they didn’t live up to mine. It was a vicious circle.
I would also often compare myself to others, which made me miserable.
Eventually, this led me to not wanting to get up in the morning because I didn’t want to participate in the charade of life. I was mentally exhausted.
Luckily, my parents saw the severity of my unhappiness and said to me one day, “your happiness is more important than what we think or expect of you. Please do whatever you need to do to make yourself happy.”
That was the turning point in my life, where I decided I am going to put my needs first. In doing so, I was able to shift other areas of my life for the better, because I was happier and was able to give more willingly, where I gave it my all but not give it (my time and energy) all away.
Now, I know some of you might think well you are lucky to have parents who understand.
That is true. But this doesn’t mean I don’t still struggle from time to time in communicating and not being able to see things eye to eye with them.
Instead, I’ve realized we may never understand or see eye to eye on certain things but if we truly love someone, the best we can do is respect their choices so long as it makes them happy.
Because deep down do you believe your loved ones would rather see you be happy than miserable?
Yes, certainly as you change you’ll stir things up and it may take time for them to adjust and understand but in the end when the decision you make leads you to be happier that’s what life is about isn’t it?
So if you are ready, it’s time to kick the habit of shouldering obligations.
Here are 5 reasons why you need to take care of your needs first.
You will be more successful and gain more respect
When you say yes to everything, people will think you don’t have a backbone. It can be seemingly unattractive when it comes to navigating your dating life and your work life.
As I mentioned, I use to be the biggest people-pleaser!
Along the way I was an emotional wreck and lost myself in the process. It hurt my relationships and the opportunities of being seen as a leader in work.
In my dating life the guy would fall out of love with the girl who used to have her own life because I became dependent on him for my happiness. And at work, not only could I not say no, I’d be afraid to ask for a raise or a promotion hoping someone would see what I am doing and speak for me.
The thing is if you don’t respect, speak up for yourself who will? You make it easy for people who take all the time to start taking advantage of you. This leads me to the next point.
You’ll have better relationships
When you say yes to yourself and take care of our own needs first, it shows that you are not afraid to make yourself a priority.
It also gives the people in your life the permission to take time for themselves to recharge. So when you get together with your friends, family, partner, you both will be rejuvenated and are able to give from your overflow the attention and support each other needs. After all wouldn’t you rather be in the company of someone who is healthy, happy and not stressed?
You will be more productive
Your mind and body works more effectively and creatively when you find time to give yourself some love and the care you need to unwind and de-stress.
Since you are in a better headspace you will be able to think more clearly enabling you to deal with problems more easily and effortlessly. The work you put out will be from a place where you are as your best self.
You Will Burn Out If You Don’t
If you give, give and give, you will eventually burn out physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually that you will have nothing to give at the end of the day. You’ll be living an unhealthy lifestyle.
If you don’t have your health, how are you going to spread your wealth in whatever form it takes? Like a car, you need to maintain yourself so that you don’t break down along the way.
You Become Dependent On You For Your Own Happiness.
When you are in control of filling up your own love tank, you will be happier.
Think of yourself as your own bouncer. You have the power to choose let in people, activities and things that are positive and energize your soul desires. That elevate and fires up your life party. You say no to all other things that drain and brings down the party.
Being human, sometimes we do slip up, we make wrong choices, forget to take care of ourselves when things are difficult as we try to juggle what we’ve got going on. When this happens and you become aware of what’s going on, learn from the lessons and forgive yourself. Know at any moment you can choose to change your thoughts, change your focus to get back in flow with what your mind, body and soul needs to create the life you want to experience. This is what ‘healthy selfishness’ is all about.
It’s time to take responsibility for getting your own needs met. What are you waiting for?
Theresa Ho is the Founder of HappyFreeLifestyle. She’s an 80’s music lovin’, freedom lovin’ wellness expert sent to help people travel to recharge from their daily grind. Get ideas for your next getaway and tips on how to stay well HERE. For more inspiration visit her on Instagram @happyfreelifestyle and Facebook.
If you’re looking for love in your life after a divorce or breakup, you’re likely wondering about a rather basic question.
How do you love?
It’s a simple question, I know, but have you really thought about what love looks like? What does it mean to love someone? What actions constitute love? How do you cultivate healthier relationships? How do you open yourself to new connections and invite more love into your life?
We learn all kinds of things growing up – algebra, chemistry, even art, but not love.
You may have some twisted or unhealthy views of love.
While our parents may have tried to raise us to be productive people, they weren’t too focused on raising loving people.
If love for you was like love for me, you grew up learning that love can be painful, love can be hurtful, love can be condescending, love can be sarcastic, love can be physically hurtful and emotionally scarring.
So…if you grew up with negative views of love, found yourself in destructive and abusive love relationships, and have a skewed view of what real love is, what do you do?
Don’t get me started. You can’t take cues from the media or the movies, which have some pretty clichéd views of love and are set on selling you stuff – diamonds, chocolates, insurance and everything in between.
So, love – how do you love? How do you prioritize loving others in action? How do you nurture relationships?
Introducing: Tiny Buddha’s 365 Tiny Love Challenges (Harper Collins, 2015) by the kindest and most genuine blogger I know, Lori Deschene.
All of us who follow the Tiny Buddha blog know what a source of constant wisdom and insight it is. Lori regularly hosts regular people who talk about their life challenges, lessons learned and life how-to’s. The brilliance of Tiny Buddha is how the advice and wisdom come from our collective experiences and wisdom – not from some outsider or enlightened being. The blog reminds us that you and I are each tiny Buddhas!
In her latest book, Lori has compiled dozens of stories from people who share their experiences with receiving and giving love. She shares a story by author Vironika Tugaleve, who relates her struggle with her visits home to her critical parents. Over a conversation about a related topic of unmet expectations, Vironika shares her realization about her parents.
“I kept showing up, time after time, expecting different people to magically appear. I kept expecting that they would change…” she writes. The next time she went home, she let go of these expectations and assumptions, and found that her relationship with her parents changed. “Suddenly, I could see them for who they were. They were, and always will be, flawed and beautiful, just like me. I could suddenly smile at their criticism and laugh at their judgment.”
In one of the more touching essays in the book, Lori shares her experience of selling newspapers alongside a homeless vendor named Lou. Lori’s job was to draw attention to her and Lou with excitement and enthusiasm so that papers would sell; Lou would earn more if she sold more papers. One morning as she was selling papers, Lori had an unexpected run-in with a fashionable and trendy former classmate. The friend was planning to move to New York and audition for acting parts, following her dreams.
The interaction and Lori’s doubts about her own future and ability made her feel deflated and disconnected. She lost her enthusiasm for selling the papers for a few minutes until she looked over at Lou.
“I realized I was letting him down. When I wasn’t worrying about who I thought was better than me, I felt better about myself, did better for the people around me, and was better able to make the best of what I was doing. I could either focus on my perceived weaknesses or continue using my strengths.”
Lori got back to her job and started to sell more papers…for Lou.
Her insight: “But I suspect we worry that other people are better than us because we want to feel worthy of connection and happiness…I now know the key is to believe we are worthy – regardless of what we’ve achieved – and to act like it.”
As important as these insights and realizations from Lori and guest contributors are, the real power in the book is the 365 actions that Lori poses for us, grouped by category: kindfulness and thoughtfulness, compassion and understanding, releasing anger and forgiving, honesty and trust, and more.
Yes, 365 challenges you can start applying each and every day of the year. Use these challenges to change someone’s day, connect with someone, feel more love and be more love to the people around you.
These challenges are what love looks like.
Will you take the challenge?
Simple challenges you can do like these:
♥ Introducing yourself to a neighbor you’ve never met or don’t know very well.
♥ Saying good morning to everyone you encounter when you arrive at work, starting everyone’s day with positive energy.
♥ Write “hurt people hurt people” on a Band-Aid and stick it somewhere you’ll see often to remind yourself that the most difficult people are often in the most pain.
♥ Convey to someone that you understand their feelings.
♥ Start a conversation with someone who has a different opinion than you do so that you can practice listening and understanding someone else’s point of view.
♥ Ask someone, “How are you really?” and then listen without trying to fix things, without any goal other than being there and fully hearing them.
♥ Tell a friend, “I love that you…” and then finish the sentence with something not everyone may notice or appreciate about that person.
♥ Buy a $5 gift card and carry it in your purse or wallet to give to someone you think would appreciate it.
♥ Eliminate the word “should” from your vocabulary today to help you foster greater acceptance and judge others – and yourself – less.
♥ In conversations today, give up the need to be right and to prove others wrong.
♥ Tell someone the most important thing you’ve learned from him or her, and thank this person for the gift.
♥ Share something you enjoy with someone in your life.
♥ Give yourself a break. Schedule a little time into your day to simply be.
♥ Pay someone a compliment for something you believe they’re insecure about to help boost their confidence.
♥ Give a warm piece of clothing you no longer need to a homeless person, or leave it in a donation bin.
Yes, not only these ideas, but there are 350 more for you, for every day of the year.
If you don’t have enough love or connection in your life, pick up this book.
If you don’t know how to form or improve relationships with people around you, pick up this book.
If you don’t have enough self-acceptance and love for yourself, this book is for you too.
This book is more than a book – it’s your tiny love coach, inspiring you to take action every day to create a fulfilling and connected life. Don’t fall into the trap of just reading it – take some time every day of the year to practice love.
If you’re coming out of a divorce or breakup and can see this book as a tool to help you love again, drop me a note about how this book can help. Lori has been kind enough to offer a free copy of her book to one reader. I look forward to hearing from you via email and giving away a copy of this book.
To purchase a copy of Tiny Buddha’s 365 Tiny Love Challenges, click here.
“Oh no, not I. I will survive – Oh as long as I know how to love, I know I will stay alive.” Gloria Gaynor
After your divorce, the world as you know it flips upside down.
Your colorful world turns black and white. Hope disappears and your dreams vanish.
What do you do now to piece your life back together when you have no plans, dreams or future that you can see? What do you do after the disruption and chaos of heartbreak? How do you start over after divorce?
Here are 8 tips to create a new action plan and start over after divorce and build a new life for yourself.
1. Take care of yourself.
The most important thing you can do to start over is to care for yourself after your divorce.
♥ Find friends, family or colleagues who will be there for you, listen to you and help you survive this difficult period.
♥ If your feelings are overwhelming, reach out to counselors or therapists you can share your feelings with.
♥ Be willing to explore and accept what you’re feeling instead of resisting it. Consider writing in a journal about what you’re feeling and experiencing.
♥ Take time off from work if possible, or take an extended vacation to care for your health, mind and spirit. (To learn about the Self-Romance manifesto, click here)
♥ Try yoga, meditation, running, exercise or other healthy ways of caring for yourself.
♥ Be mindful of the thoughts and words you use towards yourself. When you want to blame and judge yourself, opt for kindness and compassion instead.
The earlier you forgive after your divorce, the easier it will be to move on.
Forgive first; don’t wait until you get to a place of wanting to forgive.
Write a letter to your ex, forgiving him or her for all the ways he or she hurt you. Also, include a letter asking forgiveness for your part of the relationship.
Do not send this letter. It’s only for you to write and then read out loud.
3. Take it one day at a time
You’re going to feel in a daze and like you don’t have a future.
You just have to get through each day. Plan what you need to do today and get that done. Nothing less, nothing more.
Simply going to work, going for a walk or preparing lunch is enough.
Don’t worry about the future for now.
4. Get clear on who you are
Your thoughts will be on your ex and the pain you’re feeling.
When both subside, try to get a better idea of who you are and discover your essence.
Figure out your values and what matters to you. Prioritize your life based on what’s important, and ruthlessly remove everything that isn’t.
When you’re starting over, you can start anew – you pick what you want in your life and what needs to go.
5. Open your heart and awaken your soul.
Now is the time to go within and find out who you are; remove all the layers of your character that your relationship has hidden.
It’s time to reflect on how you showed up in your relationship and how your behavior contributed to the relationship.
Heartbreak is an opportune time to connect with your spirit and soul.
Walk in nature, meditate, watch a sunset or visit a natural setting – anything that allows you to get quiet and go within. Make time to connect with this wisdom-filled and light-shining part of yourself.
6. Visualize a new life for yourself
You might not be ready for a new life or able to imagine that one exists, but it does.
You can create a new life for yourself – one that’s richer and better than the one you had with your ex.
Close your eyes and take yourself into the future. Paint a picture of what you’d like to see and what your ideal life is like.
Hold this visualization in your mind’s eye until it manifests itself in your life.
7. Pursue your heart’s calling
Do you have a dream or lifelong desire to do something with your life?
Is this experience of heartbreak helping you realize why you’re here on earth?
A big shake-up like a divorce can help you clarify your life’s purpose and transition into it.
A divorce can help you lessen your fears, get clarity in your life and obtain the courage to live your purpose.
8. Stay hopeful and welcome new beginnings.
Yes, you’ve gone through turmoil and pain, but continue to stay hopeful.
You’ve suffered the worst and survived excruciating pain; now your life can only get better. Suffering doesn’t last forever, and brighter days are on the horizon.
Allow your divorce to welcome new changes, new beginnings and a new life.
When you’ve dried your tears and lessened your pain, your best life awaits you – one filled with happiness, peace and a supportive relationship. Remember, you can start over and you can survive this divorce.
To pick up a copy of my book, 10 Sacred Laws of Healing a Broken Heart, to help you heal from heartbreak, click here.
Hi, I’m Vishnu
I help people overcome their devastating breakups and divorces and find love again. Instead of visiting the Himalayas, sign up below and join me. I am taking a writing break but will be back soon.
This guide is free. A ticket to the Himalayas is $2000. Your move.