5 steps to find joy after divorce...
For some, divorce is a desired goal. For others, it is a pointless calamity.
Regardless of how your marriage ended, whose “fault” it was or what “should” have been different, your happiness is up to you.
YES, it would have been nice if he hadn’t done that or she hadn’t said that. But, what happened has happened. So, now what are you going to do?
You do not need a significant relationship in your life to be happy. In fact, it is often the other way around. When you are happier, you are more likely to find a good mate.
But, rather than talk about how to find a new soul mate, let’s talk about how to be truly happy despite your divorce.
Here are 5 vital steps to doing just that:
Yes, I realize this is the “F” word for many when it comes to their ex, but please hear me out: Your bitterness is only hurting YOU.
You ex is just that, your ex, no longer part of your life (or at least less a part of your life). Your raging with resentment is poisoning you 24/7 and may adversely affect him/her the few times that you interact. Then again, your bitterness may not even cause your ex pain anymore, either.
So, let go of the anger, the regret, the “should have, would have could haves” and move on. I realize and respect this is easier said than done. But, it is worth learning how to do and doing it- for your own psychological health, physical health, current and future relationships, even your work.
Find (and love) yourself:
The notion of “finding yourself” may seem more applicable for a teenager backpacking across Europe, but in working with my clients, that this is exactly what people going through a divorce need to do, too.
For however many years you have been “spouse of X.” Your choice of meals, vacations, homes, bedtime, music, clothes, conversations, TV and identity… was influenced by your spouse. Now they are gone. Who do you want to be? How do you want to spend your time? What are your individual values and strengths? How can you apply them in you life?
Another part of this step has to do with self-confidence: believing in yourself, your worth as a person, that you can make positive changes regardless of what has happened in the past or how low you feel. This is an important time to take steps to increase your self-confidence- it will help you be a much happier you.
Get comfortable being uncomfortable:
Sure, it may be easier to come home from work, put on your jammies and start your “Ben & Jerry’s therapy,” but you know deep down that that will not be helpful to you. Look for ways to try new things: a cooking class, a group sport, volunteering with a group about which you are passionate, taking a trip with other singles, learning a new language or how to play an instrument…
Choose whatever sounds interesting to you. It doesn’t matter how good you are at it- just enjoy the process.
Be true to yourself:
At the same time you are trying new things, you also want to make sure you are true to yourself: your values, morals, strengths.
If, for example, you hate going to bars, then don’t. Just because you are divorced does not mean you now have to start drinking. If a relationship feels wrong, then get out or make changes.
Develop close friendships:
While you don’t need to be in a significant relationship to be happy, having good social support is an important part of the happiness prescription. Look for ways to develop friendships you already have as well as make new ones.
Try these five steps to have more joy despite your divorce, and you will be an even happier you!
For more on happiness, check out twodaymag's happiness expert and author, Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo's book: A Happy You: Your Ultimate Prescription for Happiness
Follow Elizabeth on twitter: @DrELombardo
Dr. Lombardo has been quoted by CNN, Newsweek, MSNBC, Redbook, Self, Woman’s Day, Glamour, & Cosmopolitan
See why Shaquille O’Neal says “Dr. Lombardo is my head coach for happiness”