Every time I have had an ordeal in my life, my friends and family have said, “just remember, time heals all.” And in my state of mind, with the fresh divorce, I did not care that I would feel better sometime in the unforeseen future. At best, I would attempt a weak smile and agree, but for a while, I would respond with a painful, “I know.” I wanted to feel better now. I knew that the pain, which is important right now, does ease with time, but I did not realize that faith heals now. And the best part about faith is that it does not matter what your belief system is. Faith that it will get better and that it will turn out good is essential at this time. This concept is tough to understand. I am one year into this trying time and two years into several life-changing events. After a marriage of 23 years ended against my will, I did not understand faith. But here is how it works. As time progresses, you make decisions to rebuild your life. You make choices that represent who you are and who you are becoming. Your friends will be there to have a relationship with the new you, and you feel a sense of individualism returning over time. And you return to a life that you rebuild, almost from scratch.
I learned so many things during the first months of my divorce. When I finally realized that faith gets me through healing, I realized I did not fully understand other “sayings” I’ve heard throughout my life. Here are the ones that helped me the most;
- Be gentle with yourself – there is more to come on this one, but the message is, although we all have to take responsibility in our situation, you are not the only one that made mistakes. We are human, and we are not perfect, and most importantly, we are not our mistakes. Be gentle with yourself means as you take responsibility for yourself, understand that, at your heart, you are a good person, and you can make your life better. We are not a throwaway. We are not a person that is not worth being in a relationship. Your divorce does not define you. You are a good and valuable person, and the person you are best for is you.
- It’s not important what happened; what is important is what you do next – often, it is easy to think about the past, the regret, the what-ifs, the “how could they’s,” and the fantasies of how your former spouse is going to realize how wrong they were an try to come back. All of these thoughts are preventing you from healing and getting on with building an incredible new life. Learning how to change your thoughts and focus on the now (mindfulness) and the future is challenging but critical. Once you find techniques to help you do this, the good news is it gets easier with practice. You have to continue to do this work and catch yourself when you start dreading the past. Thinking positive gets more comfortable the more you practice. Although I am not there yet, I know that eventually, I will not need the tools to stay positive once that muscle is fully developed.
- The best revenge is to live well – This one is, unfortunately, easy to do. The good part is the focus on improving your future. The bad is the motivation, which is trying to control someone else. I will cover this in another entry, but this is a huge one. Remember, all changes you identify should be for you. Living well is the best thing for you, regardless of anyone else! Live well because you deserve it even if you think you don’t. Reputation is what people think about you; character is who you are.
- Love yourself – This is one we dismiss as evident, but I never really knew what it entailed. We will cover this in-depth, but to summarize, setting, and defending boundaries is not selfish. It’s self-protecting. Why would you give your time away that you wouldn’t give yourself? Why would you do anything for anyone else that you wouldn’t do for yourself? Aren’t you important enough for your time? I know it’s easy to focus on their things, but what could be more important than valuing yourself over others? Sure we can give time to others, but we need to prioritize better. And in my case, it was a problem that I did not do this before. On another note, this is one that drives successful people. CEOs, athletes, and other successful people know this, and it is the foundation of their success.
- Your kids are watching, so behave – It mostly means that what you do next to move through this situation will model how to do it to your kids. So be a good role model and learn how you should improve your situation the right way. Hint: A Licensed Professional Counselor or a certified Life Coach, in my opinion, the way to go! You need to find a counselor who helps you understand reality and gives you the tools to work with reality! Kelly has been a Godsend and is critical to my healing and the progress I have made on several fronts! Find your own Kelly!
There are several more that I will put in my next post, but for now, this is a start!