Divorce is a life shaking event equivalent to an earthquake.
I know it sounds cliché, but, at the core of navigating, managing and intentionally facing this massive shake up is the relationship you have with yourself. I should know because it is exactly what I learned as traveled down my own turbulent post-divorce road and as I have coached others in their divorce aftermath.
Instead of preaching about self-love, self-awareness and self-confidence, let’s talk about what this “relationship to self” thing really means because without understanding, it is almost impossible to achieve.
There are hundreds, if not thousands of books, “gurus” and self-help resources that promise to give you what you need to build this relationship to yourself; and no doubt many of them can and will live up to their promises.
At the core of living your life in a way that brings you joy, peace and harmony is the choice you make to create an extraordinary relationship with yourself. And through my own experience, I now know that in reaching the moment of this choice we can we can begin to write the story of what comes next.
Reading books, paying for expensive coaching programs and countless hours of therapy will often offer you nothing but disappointing results and the certainty of a self-fulfilling, sabotaging prophecy, if you have not carefully and confidently made this choice to truly be in a loving relationship with yourself.
It is only when you make this intentional decision that you have given yourself what no expert could ever teach or give to you.
So, what does this decision, this choice, really look and feel like?
It is painful.
There was no more painful time in my own life than the recognition that not only was my marriage struggling, but it was going to end in divorce. I never imagined I would be facing a life transition of this magnitude and frankly, I found myself, for the first time, uneducated in how to move forward. And while having the knowledge that my marriage was over, I was simultaneously choosing to create a new, unfamiliar and yet desperately needed intimacy with myself; I just didn’t realize it yet.
The point at which we all consciously or unconsciously make this decision almost always comes during a time of deep pain in our lives. And loss inevitably goes hand and hand with it. Our greatest adversities and darkest times in our lives present an invitation to reclaim the relationship we have with ourselves; and when the pain is greatest, it is our soul calling out, reminding us that we already have all that we need inside of us.
It is frightening.
After my ex-husband and I decided to divorce, I was quickly overcome by a fear greater than any I had known. Where for 15 years I had a partner to rely on for all that lay ahead of me, I now realized that I was facing a future that was completely within my control, and with that realization came paralyzing fear and underneath it, the power of liberation.
What is most frightening about this decision is the realization that we have no one and nothing to blame for whatever happens next. We are hopelessly and vulnerably reliant on ourselves. It is this raw acceptance to be accountable and responsible for our personal destiny that will unleash all that you will need for the journey ahead.
It is exposing.
As I began to take steps towards creating my new life, what followed was a humbling acknowledgement that I had contributed to the demise of my marriage and that I, alone, was responsible for allowing my life to evolve in the way that it had. Owning my role in my divorce was painful, and humbling; and yet it was the very thing that has allowed me to become the woman that I want and am meant to be.
The moment we make the choice to reclaim and recommit to the relationship we have with ourselves, we accept that the path forward will expose the deepest, truest parts of who we are. At this moment, we grant ourselves permission to expose and embrace the magnificence and the frailty that is a part of each and every one of us.
It is hard.
I have always been a hard worker, a Type A personality, that is disciplined in my work ethic. Working and working hard is something that has always been a part of my life. But I was unprepared for just how hard creating my new life after divorce would be. There have been so many moving pieces and countless, reliably unanticipated challenges along the way. Though comfortable with hard work, I never imagined that I would devote the kind of time, attention and energy to the new relationship I have with me.
This choice is a commitment to the strenuous, challenging and rigorous work that will come with building your new relationship; in addition to the discipline necessary to sustain the journey. You will have moments when you want to give up. You will have moments when the pain of what was will seem less painful than the pain of the present; and you will undoubtedly consider simply giving up. It is in these moments that you will find your greatest strength and you will experience your greatest growth. Believing it is anything less than the most difficult and the most rewarding decision you will ever make will only lead to the certainty of disappointment.
There is no program, no model and no curriculum that I, or anyone else, can provide that will lead you to the life you are meant to live. But there are many of us whose passion and purpose it is to support you while you make this decision.
At the core of it all, having all that you dream, hope and desire is up to one significant choice: Will you love yourself enough?
Laura Campbell is the CEO of the D Spot, blog, an Extraordinary Love Strategist, and Divorce Expert. She works exclusively with extraordinary women to find extraordinary love. The women she serves are passionate about creating the life and love they imagine, during and after divorce. Through the D Spot she is dedicated to helping women regroup, renew and reinvent themselves through the continuum of the divorce process and as they design and move forward in their new lives. Her passion and true life purpose is to educate, inspire and empower women to strategically create the life that they envision and deserve. Through her proprietary “Love Readiness Assessment,” she guides women through a process of both preparing for and setting the foundation for attracting and sustaining effortless and extraordinary love; and integrating it into their real and dynamic lives. She is an author, speaker, blogger, coach and Rockin’ mom of two teenage boys! Follow Laura on twitter!
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Assistant Ed: Lori Lothian
Ed: Kate Bartolotta