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Among everything else going on at the time of separation, you’re suddenly faced with the daunting thought of being alone again.
For some, this may be a breath of fresh and for others a very scary, overwhelming prospect—particularly if you have been someone’s better half for a long time.
So, how do we learn to be single again?
Step one: Embrace the situation.
We are quick to judge, put ourselves down, beat ourselves up mentally. We need to learn to just be. Accept what is. Our fears are designed to keep us safe, but that’s all they really are—fears.
When we find ways to push through them, we soon prove to ourselves that we will be okay.
Step two: Reframe the situation.
I dug deep and asked myself what this experience was providing me with:
A chance to rediscover who I was? An opportunity to make better choices? Reassurance to prove that I was able stand to on own two feet? The freedom to feel empowered rather than controlled? Safety that I never had before? An ability to make my own decisions in life?
By choosing to focus on the positives, rather than being consumed by the negatives, I was helping my brain to change its usual thoughts patterns.
Step three: Get positive support.
“Positive” being the key word, here. It’s okay to sit with self-pity for a while, but not for too long.
Self-pity can very quickly turn into anger, resentment and blame. These are emotions that keep us stuck in life. Having the right cheer squad to help get me through my breakup was imperative—they were the ones who dished out the tough love when needed, the ones who fronted up to my doorstep and said, “Come on let’s get out and do something.”
I knew I couldn’t rely on the company of my kids, because when they grow up and move on, I didn’t want to be left with a great void in my life. Having a solid support network is essential. It’s important to have friends who are going to guide you through the pain rather than sit with you in it.
Step four: Reconnect.
If you’re like me with limited family support, it’s easy to understand that it is time to find new ways to connect with people.
I joined some positive support groups and forums online. There are loads out there—just find what resonates with you. Now’s a great time to think about a new hobby or to join a social group of sorts. Think of places where new connections can be made. Get social and have something other than your own thoughts to entertain you.
Step five: Become your own best friend.
I needed to constantly remind myself of all the things that I once liked about myself. We all have our unique gifts. Our self-worth often takes a hit in a situation like this, so it is time to build myself back up again.
Don’t look for external validation. Invest in some beautiful body lotion or essential oils and each time you get out of the shower rub the oils into your body and tell yourself something positive, like:
“I am an awesome mother!”
“I’m doing the best I can.”
“I am beautiful.”
“I have the best arse, boobs, smile or [insert whatever rocks about you here].”
If it feels uncomfortable, fake it till you make it. There is a psychology behind this positive reassurance.
Step six: Create a vision board.
I developed a positive vision board as a reminder of all the things I enjoy and would like to experience in the future. Now’s the time to bring those dreams alive and front of mind. This is a subtle way of setting goals for yourself and having things to look forward to.
I have a photo frame at home that sits in my bedroom with all the things that helped me get unstuck at the time. It includes things like online groups I was a part of, positive blogs I read, music I loved to listen to that conjured up positive memories for me, positive affirmations and quotes and inspirational events I attended.
Life is full of possibilities, and this is just a moment in time. We get to re-write the remaining chapters of our lives on our own terms. How bloody empowering is that?
Author: Andrea Palermo
Editor: Emma Ruffin
Photo: Minoru Nitta at Flickr/Author’s Own