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If you’re like most professional women going through a divorce or recovering from it, self-doubt is the weight you constantly carry on your shoulders.
Although you’re successful at work, there may be that annoying voice in the back of your head telling you that you’re an imposter and they’ll soon find you out and kick you out of the office.
And even if you’re working with a therapist or have an amazing group of friends who support you as you recover from the divorce, that same voice may nag at you, saying toxic sh*t like:
“You’re going to die alone.”
“It’s your fault the marriage didn’t last.”
“No one will want you.”
“Why don’t you just move on already?”
It’s no wonder you constantly doubt yourself, judge yourself, and kick yourself, saying things like, “If only I was 20 years younger!”
With that type of pressure and self-criticism, it’s impossible to feel better after a divorce.
To move on after your divorce with joy and excitement.
Now is the time for you to cast that divorce garbage aside and replace it with:
Step 1. Give yourself permission to be messy after divorce.
As divorced women, we put so much pressure on ourselves to “have it all figured out.”
That pressure comes from society and culture in general—which loves to fill women with self-doubt. As a result, many women rely on external factors to validate themselves. We think that as long as we “check-box” our way through life, we’ll feel confident and happy.
But many of those check-boxes are related to relationship status and careers, and we still find that we’re judging ourselves when, despite doing what society tells us to do, we still feel stuck, hurt, or confused.
I see this with all of my divorced clients and I bet you deal with the same sh*t.
It’s impossible to “figure it all out,” because ageism, sexism, and patriarchy will continue to move the goalpost on you, changing standards that deliberately make you confused.
You can probably think of a million expectations like this one dealing with work, your marriage, your divorce, how you raised your kids…the list goes on and on.
But the only way to fight the unrealistic expectations?
Give yourself permission to be messy after the divorce.
Relish in “not getting it right,” to not have a box checked, and to go against whatever the messaging in the world or your own head is telling you what to do. Let yourself instead explore and have fun.
When you let yourself be messy, you give yourself permission to make mistakes.
And when you give yourself permission to make mistakes, you are opening the door for giving yourself the grace you deserve, and the self-compassion that you simply cannot live without.
So forget about checking the boxes. And being perfect and put-together.
The self-love you deserve and simply need in order to move on does not exist in the space of perfection.
Nor should you.
Step 2. Embrace that you made the best decision for yourself with what you had at the time.
“I should have recognized the red flags sooner.”
“Things would be sooooo much better now if….”
We divorced women easily fall prey to the “coulda shoulda woulda” game, harshly judging ourselves for making a decision that, years later, we regret.
Instead of moving forward, we stay trapped in the past, kicking a younger version of ourselves for not taking an action or making a decision that only our older self knows.
If you’re ready to show yourself grace and compassion, you need to treat who you were then with kindness and understanding. You must embrace the following:
>> You did the best you could with the knowledge you knew at the time.
>> You made the decisions with the resources you had at the time.
>> You were growing and learning. You still are.
When you frame your past decisions and actions with kindness, you forgive yourself.
The sooner you can forgive yourself, the less self-doubt you’ll have.
And when there is less self-doubt, there is self-compassion and infinite grace.
With self-compassion and infinite grace, you can take on the world.
Step 3. Look inward for that self-love and validation.
When you’re on the journey to radical self-love after a divorce, you need to know that it’s not going to come from any of the following:
>> Finding a new boyfriend
>> Winning the lottery
>> Your ex disappearing on Dead Man’s Curve on a foggy night
We all get caught in this trap where we think, “If only X would happen, then I would feel better.”
But it doesn’t work like that.
We are raised to look outward for the things that will make us feel better. And sure, these external factors may give us temporary relief, but until you do the work of radically loving yourself, those solutions won’t stick.
Why look inward for compassion and grace after divorce?
Because when you do, a few things start to happen:
>> You derive your value from you, and it’s not contingent on external events that you can’t control.
>> You start to realize that you are enough just as you are.
>> The healing begins.
Finding your value from within gives you the grace and compassion that you generously give to friends and family, but that you’ve been stingy with giving yourself—the person who needs it most.
Relying on your internal value for self-worth is the jump-start you need to:
Forgive yourself for all the things you’ve been kicking yourself over.
Get out of your divorce rut.
Build your self-esteem.
Turn the page and start this new chapter of your life.
You owe it to yourself to show yourself the respect, compassion, grace, and radical self-love missing in your life right now.
What are you waiting for?