June 5, 2023

How to Get Divorced, Move on & be Happy.

I just turned 40.

This is absolutely astonishing to me because I’ve felt 40 for the last 15 years of my life. Some years back I got divorced and became a single mom with two young daughters. Life felt relentless as I navigated so many systems, people, and feelings.

It does get easier, though. My first goal was simply not to sob in front of my children. As I got stronger, my next goal was to do more advocacy for women like me and tell my story. Once I did that, I started to entertain the possibility that I could meet someone and rebuild my family.

That goal was scarier because I thought that it was mostly out of my control. Luckily for me, I was wrong. There were specific things that pulled me out of the dark, raised my self-esteem, and made space for someone to love me the way I deserved to be loved.

Here’s my advice to you if you’re looking to rebuild.

1. Stop numbing yourself.

Pain is a powerful motivator, though change can be scary. It can be easier to suppress our pain, suspend reality, and stay in place.

I medicated with substances like alcohol, behaviors like shopping, and delusional beliefs that if I just become better, I could control someone else. I didn’t feel that I deserved to be treated well. Luckily, even with all of this numbing, my higher self kept bobbing up to the surface. Unable to be drowned, it told me that I was worthy of a better life.

When I stopped escaping with poisons and habits, I had to fully face the excruciating emotional pain of my choices. Once the paralysis of that wore off, I could move through those feelings, create an action plan, and begin the messy process of living my truth.

2. Fix the part of you that is attracted to this.

There are some breakups that have to happen, and that’s not your fault. It is, however, your responsibility to change so the pattern doesn’t repeat itself. Your partner is your ultimate mirror, so the important question is, “Who were you then?”

In my case, I’ve recognized my nagging insecurities and need for an almost unhealthy level of attention and reassurance to feel secure (think anxious attachment style). It’s pretty dangerous to need that. I recognized how vulnerable this made me to the love bombing and manipulation that many darker personalities use to navigate the world and relationships.

Being insecure is nothing to be ashamed of. I’m actually more shocked that people can become confident despite living in a society that tells them how lacking they are. I have a kind of neurotic, negative background voice that can get out of control if left unchecked. But, in spite of that, I’m not going to punish myself for having it. I’ve simply reframed the voice to be something less personal and more so like fast-food, social media, or alcohol. All are societally normalized, highly addictive, and damaging to our collective health if overindulged.

3. Distinguish between instincts and triggers.

I can only now see how intensely triggered I was years ago when I got into a new relationship. I’m sure I had some level of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a deep distrust in men, and an unconscious fear of making another mistake. The honeymoon phase was perfect, but as things settled into routine, I felt more fearful. Honest feedback felt like criticism, and airing concerns felt like abandonment. Even him dutifully picking up around the house felt like the beginning stages of control. Believe me this—an unregulated nervous system will make all sorts of unrelated connections for you.

In my past, I perpetually ignored my sharp instincts. To compensate, I put myself on a vigilant hunt for red flags in the new relationship. Looking back, I can’t say there was a straightforward solution to any of this. Some of it was time, some of it was therapy, but mostly it was about maintaining a healthy level of honest, open communication. I proudly call myself a talker, yet I find it challenging to voice concerns, ask for help, or articulate the many things that hurt my very sensitive feelings. It can all feel so damn vulnerable, deeply uncool, and daunting. Yet this is the only way to find peace and happiness while building and maintaining an intimate relationship.

4. Take them off the pedestal.

Do you ever look at other people and believe that they have it all figured out? It makes sense as we are societally influenced to be outwardly focused. Also, it’s easy to elevate others when we’re not privy to their own critical inner voices or life challenges.

I spent a good portion of my life clinging to people, seeking their approval, and forming my worldview around their expectations. When we grasp onto others, we completely lose touch with ourselves. In my case, I had to cultivate practices that would help me turn inward and live my life through my own unique perspective.

Once I focused on myself and started to source my own power, a mysterious portal opened up. With emotional regulation, self-reflection, and clarity, I could finally experience the world as I’d hoped. I removed myself from arguments and drama. I shared my concerns when I felt scared. I laughed more. I felt pretty. I let myself be mad. And then most importantly, I finally got happy. You’d be surprised how much space for a relationship opens up when you’re already happy.

I had to accept that I had this capacity the whole time. I had the power to choose, the power to grow, and ultimately the power to completely transform my own life.

It’s only the beginning—and the best is yet to come.


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