7 Steps: Find your purpose after divorce
Updated: Oct 16
A divorce doesn’t always feel like an exciting “second chance”. Advice to “find yourself and love yourself” seem like useless and annoying platitudes.
Having experienced divorce, depression, grief, and trauma first hand…I can assure you that there IS a way to live a fulfilled and meaningful life after divorce. It’s very simple…but certainly not easy.
First and foremost, understand that YOU, and only you, have the choice to find purpose in the pain or let it consume you. You won't move forward until you've decided you’ll do whatever it takes to make your future your top priority.
When you know in your hear that it's finally time...and you're really ready:
ACCEPT HOW YOU FEEL and make space in experience all your emotions.
Give yourself this time to be “messy” and not at your best.
Resist the temptation to hide or become over-busy.
Divorce is on the same level of grief as the death of a loved-one. The life that you knew is complete and the person you used to be is no longer. Recognize and honor your grief…you can’t skip this part…no matter how uncomfortable and tumultuous.
COMMIT TO LEARNING HEALTHY COPING STRATEGIES AND CREATING NEW HEALTHY HABITS AND RELATIONSHIPS
Just as you made the choice to start this journey (instead of languish), continue to recognize that you have choices, and make the ones that are right for the person you are becoming.
Take care of yourself as you’d take care of someone you deeply love.
Don’t let yourself get stuck…allow the pain and all the other emotions to have space, but if you find yourself unable to make any steps forward, reach out for help.
Set goals for the future, and take action slowly…one step at a time, not the whole staircase at once.
Don’t be tempted to fill the void with another partner (or your ex) to avoid the feelings of loneliness and desperation.
Stay committed to yourself, your journey, and your future to avoid a hard rebound.
Take the time to make sense of the past (this can be done one your own, through journaling and reflection, or with your coach, counselor, or other expert).
GET COMFORTABLE SPENDING TIME ALONE
Your life has been intertwined with another’s for so long that it’s hard to define where your identity starts and ends.
As you go about your days, ask yourself if you like what you do and think, or if they are leftovers from the “married” version of you? Do you like who you are now? What can you do to be just a little more content? What pieces of past relationships are you holding on to?
Doing things alone is how we learn to be happy again and gain confidence in our new lives.
Go to a movie or out to dinner alone
Take a relaxing bath or read a book
Establish a self care routine that is nourishing for you, personally.
View your time alone as a luxury.
Get out of your comfort zone and give yourself permission to try new things.
Grow…explore who you are now…have fun.
THINK ABOUT HOW YOU THINK
Interrupt negative thought patterns, especially those involving your ex. Disengage from communication and practice “gray rock”
Affirm your “why”: Why do you want to feel better? Why is it worth doing the hard work to heal?
Reframe your divorce…it’s not a punishment and it’s not the end…that this can be a second chance…this is the beginning of the next chapter, and you get to write the story
Remember that infidelity can make you feel like your body and everything about you is not enough…but it’s distorted thinking. It’s not true.
Journaling is way to explore how you think…whether it’s free writing, answering prompts, listing things you are grateful for, or doodling
CONNECT WITH YOUR PASSIONS
Think about what you want and who you want to be and recognize that you have the power to create it. Recognize that you have the power.
What to you love? What do you stand for? What breaks your heart?
Become purposeful – Purpose is fundamental to health, happiness, and healing…it is not a luxury.
RESEARCH YOUR RESOURCES AND BE VERY SELECTIVE ABOUT WHAT THOUGHTS AND IDEAS YOU CONSUME (put your mind on a healthy diet)
Locate resources you can trust and don’t consume the rest.
Focus on the future if you don’t want to stay stuck in that past.
Expect to lose some friends along the way. Not everyone will understand you and the changes that you need to make in your life. It’s OK.
Deepen your compassion for yourself and others. Being vulnerable (in a safe environment) and telling your story allows deeper connection
The journey to healing is a lifelong quest. Identifying your personal purpose and letting it guide you is part of journey. Figuring out your purpose will lead you to discover passion, fulfillment and joy. Be patient with the process and with yourself.
If you're struggling to manage a divorce and don't want to do it ALONE anymore, I invite you to apply for a (free) Divorce Coaching Intro Session..click below for a schedule.
By Rebecca Wolf
Certified Life Coach
Founder of Her Divorce Project