The Lessons Learned From Divorce
Divorcing can be a time of awakening and enlightenment while filled with challenges and tribulations. However, once you have made your way through the process and once the dust has settled, there are many lessons that you will have learned along the way. Here are just a few:
- Learning from past experience in partnerships. When you are open to a new relationship, it can be daunting ensuring that you make a better decision than you did last time. Perhaps if you are picking a partner who is exactly the same as your ex, you will know what to look out for and what to avoid. However, no two people are the same and (NEWS FLASH!) a perfect person/partner doesn’t exist. Everyone comes with faults and shortcomings. The big question is whether these faults are tolerable to you in the long run. The best way to navigate this is to take it slowly because people show their true colours and form over time.
- Say ‘no’ and prioritise what is important to you. Basic needs (like work, food, shelter, attire and education) are always going to be the priority for your family, however, once these have been met, you need to prioritise the many other invitations in your life. Don’t be a people pleaser. You and your family need up-time (like play, going out, socialising) as well as down-time (like watching movies, relaxing and unstructured time). Finding this balance can be difficult, especially when you know you will disappoint others. You don’t have to make instantaneous decisions, unless there is a medical emergency. If you need to, take the necessary time to consider what is being enquired about or asked of you and think about how your decision will impact on your remaining time for that day, the next day and the people around you. No one likes a friend that is continually changing dates and times of catch ups, or changing the goal-posts in
- Don’t project your insecurities. Carrying the issues of the past by projecting your issues and being hyper-sensitivity to particular areas is a natural defence mechanism. As they say “make peace with your past” and if you are struggling with particular areas, tell your closest friends or partner so that they can exercise some caution and sensitivity in your areas of concern.
- Keep your keel even. It’s important to be as rational, considered and level headed as you can be at all times. This is done by keeping your stress levels to a minimum and by ‘feeding your soul’ with activities that allow you the space to expel energy or reset your rhythms – like singing, dancing, exercising, painting, walking. When you are feeling like your life is in balance, you will have the clarity to make better decisions.
- Be vulnerable and be open to the help from trusted friends. Time heals all wounds and over time, you will recover from the challenges faced in your marriage/partnership, separation and divorce. Your friends love you and want to support you – emotionally, mentally and physically. In the face of adversity, you will work out who your true friends are and when these people offer to assist you, don’t be quick to push them away. It takes courage to accept the assistance willingly offered by a true friend.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. As the saying goes “pick and choose your battles.” What you think may be a big issue, in the long run isn’t such a big issue. It may be upsetting short term, you may spend hours or days analysing, over thinking or stressing about certain matters when your energy would be better spent elsewhere. When you are upset over something small, channel and re-direct your attention towards something worthwhile for your work, family or community.
- Self-worth is worth more than others’ perceptions. It doesn’t matter what other people think of you, what matters is what you think of yourself. What others think isn’t your concern. As long as you are living a fulfilled and purpose-filled life and this makes you feel engaged with the world, then be content with who you are and what you are doing.
- Just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Don’t address the symptoms alone, find the cause and implement strategy and solutions. Many people experiencing separation and divorce can benefit from some sort of counselling or therapy to help them identify and overcome the root causes of their concerns. Similarly, the same rule applies with others you encounter – you don’t know all of the details that each person is experiencing or why they react in particular ways so reserve your judgement. If you really need to know make enquiries with the person you are concerned about.
- We are stronger than we think. ‘you are never given more than you can handle’ is often sprouted to those going through hard times, yet while you are experiencing the difficult days, it doesn’t feel like you will ever make it through. Hindsight is wonderful. The end does arrive. Maintain your dignity, keep a child-focused perspective and ensure that you always come from a heart-centred place. You’ll be proud of yourself if you do.
Don’t forget, to celebrate the small wins and give yourself a round of applause! Anything is possible as long as you keep pushing forward, trying your best and remain positive.