We all have been guilty a time or two of thinking we can control a situation, including how someone else feels about us. We think, "if only I was thinner he'd want to be with me", or "if only I made more money, she'd find me worthy", and sometimes we even try to attain those ideals which we believe will change how our loved one sees us.
The truth is, it just doesn't work. Once someone has reached the point of wanting to end a marriage, they've probably been having thoughts and feelings for a very long time. We think that we can make someone else love us, "if only", which, in reality, out of our control.What is in our control is how we experience ourselves - in other words, how we love ourselves.
Getting to the other side of a divorce is a big deal, period. But getting through it in a way that teaches you to be good to yourself, love yourself, is possible. It is the best, most surprising outcome of divorce.
How does it happen? It's hard to imagine making a shift from feeling the shame and humiliation of a spouse's rejection to a feeling of self love and understanding. I get it.
Here are some things that will get you on the road to self love. Practice them like a religion, and see what happens:
- Start doing what makes you happy, sends you upward. I mean it, don't hold back here. No matter if it's backpacking, making flower arrangements, bowling, or reading spy novels, this is the time to do it. Think about what brought you joy as a kid. Try it now. Notice what makes your mood brighter. Pay attention to yourself. The only caveat to this is to keep it healthy.
- Re-evaluate your career. Have you put yourself into a job or career (or lack of one) that fit with your marriage partner's lifestyle or expectations? Is it really what you want to spend time doing? Is it purposeful in your life? If not, start exploring the dreams that you held dear at other times in your life. Take them out of the heart-box, and start feeling them again. Take tiny steps toward them, and see what happens. Exploration is key here.
- Get healthy, physically and mentally. Stop using things that make you feel "less than", like too much alcohol. Start using the body for what it's meant to do - help you experience life. Your body is the house your soul lives in. It is there to carry you through this whole long life. Take care of it, nurture it. Give it sensual baths, lots of TLC, whatever form that takes for you. Start reading something that stimulates you, for your mind. It needs a break from the divorce drama.
- Refuse to be a drama king/queen. Try seeing the big picture from where you are. Shrug your shoulders instead of reacting with anger. Cut your soon to be former spouse slack when he/she least expects it - to refresh YOUR soul. Say something nice when you don't have to. Try to see that this is not the end of your life, but really a new beginning. Have faith, things do get better. And you will be a stronger, more resilient person.