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After a divorce, you may feel numb.
Like you’re going through the motions of your life, but you still feel stuck, unable to move on.
It’s like you’re doing all the things you’re “supposed” to be doing, like going to therapy, finding new hobbies, socializing with friends, maybe even going on a few dates.
But it still feels like you’re never really going to break out of that mindset.
When I coach my divorced clients, I call the feeling of being stuck “The Matrix.” You’re living in a simulated reality that tells you you should feel ashamed and guilty and bad for being divorced.
But there’s the thing: this false reality is not governed by some evil overlord; it’s governed by the toxic and outdated narratives that you’re operating on.
Keanu Reeves ain’t coming to save you. You’re your own superhero who’s going to break you out of this prison.
And I’m going to show you how.
Step one: identify the excuses you’re using for not moving on after your divorce.
You have permission to be honest, but remember to be kind to yourself.
When it comes to getting unstuck after your divorce, you are usually the biggest obstacle.
Whenever you think of dreaming big, of planning the post-divorce life of your dreams, and starting over, the excuses you use to not make any changes are what is screwing you over.
You may give yourself a reason for not making a change after your divorce. To stay in the old patterns as a way of feeling safe.
But guess what? Those justifications you’re using for not taking a chance on yourself are the toxic narratives that are keeping you stuck in your post-divorce pattern is slowly draining you, causing you to panic that you’ll always be unhappy.
Of the excuses I hear from my divorced clients, here are the most common:
I’m too old.
It’s too late for me.
I’ve made so many mistakes. I don’t deserve a second chance.
You’re not alone in the excuses you use to stay where you are.
But guess what?
These excuses are just toxic narratives that are keeping you down.
But if you’re still clinging to them, go to the next step.
Step two: after each excuse, ask yourself if it’s serving you right now.
Spoiler alert: each one of those excuses you listed no longer serve you. They may have helped protect you in the past. But if they were still serving you, you would not feel stuck.
You would not feel frustrated, wondering if you’re ever going to start the next chapter in your life.
So, be honest here.
Is saying you’re too old to change really serving you?
Is saying that “it’s too late for you” really serving you?
I don’t think so. It’s actually giving you a scarcity mindset that is robbing you of the chance to move on.
Think of those excuses as that wool skirt you had hanging in the back of your closet. It made your skin itch and it never fit right, so one day in frustration, you put it in the donation bag, took it to Goodwill, and felt a huge weight off your shoulders.
The “I’m too old” or “it’s too late for me” is that awful wool skirt. You don’t need it. You never did. And it’s time to get rid of it.
Step three: get curious if you feel resistance to change.
Are you digging your heels in? If you’re trying to justify why you’re clinging to a narrative that no longer serves you, ask yourself why.
Why are you telling yourself that it’s too late?
Why do you keep saying that you’re just too old?
What is the exact reason that you want to hold on to this belief that no longer serves you?
Whenever I work with my clients, we find that the reason they hold on to excuses that don’t serve them is because they’re scared.
They’re scared to make changes. They’re afraid to shake the status quo. Because at least when you’re unhappy, you’re comfortable. You know what’s coming. While it’s okay to be scared, it’s not okay to cling to self-limiting and toxic beliefs that you’ve overgrown.
If you’re feeling scared of change, think of the following instead:
What is this belief really costing me?
What is the true cost of staying stuck and unhappy after my divorce?
What is the cost of taking a chance on myself instead?
You don’t have to hold on to these damaging beliefs just because they are what you’ve known for years.
Consider this your permission to change your beliefs. They should change.
So start questioning those beliefs and why you’re resistant to changing them, but then change them.
Step four: replace them.
It’s really hard to tear down the conditioning you’ve lived with for years if you don’t have something better to replace it with.
But creating a new narrative for yourself right now, post-divorce, is what will actually help you and serve you in this next chapter of your life.
If consciously creating new narratives is overwhelming, try this:
Take the narrative/excuse you’ve been telling yourself.
Identify the opposite of that excuse.
Here are a few examples:
Old toxic narrative: I’m too old to start over.
New healthy narrative: I’m not too old. I have a lifetime of experience and knowledge built up over the years that I can use to create the post-divorce life of my dreams.
Old toxic narrative: It’s too late for me.
New healthy narrative: It’s never too late for me. That’s a scarcity mindset that doesn’t serve me. Right now is the perfect time to start this new chapter of my life.
The lies we tell ourselves to keep us stuck are sabotaging us.
The things society has told you, your own self-doubt has told you, or even what your ex has told you have nothing to do with you.
Don’t believe it.
Question if those narratives of “I’m too old” or “it’s too late to start over” or any other BS is even freakin’ true.
And you deserve the chance to challenge and tear down those excuses.
And you have the responsibility to create narratives that will help you heal faster and create the post-divorce life of your dream.
This is your sacred duty.
You owe it to yourself.