Divorce: The Wake Up Call to Your Inner Self

Divorce is not the end; it is a beginning. freedigitalphotos.net S. MilesI divorced in 2009, after 19 years of marriage. I’m not going to rant about ‘lost years’, point fingers, or blame. Instead, I’m sharing the magnificent, much needed self-discovery that emerged from the emotional turbulence of divorce. Even though I emerged with a new view on life, money, relationships, and growing older, it wasn’t easy and it wasn’t speedy.

The post-divorce process began with a deep self-examination of who I thought I was. Up until 2009, I spent most of my life being the obedient daughter, example-setting older sister, honor roll student, wife, mother, community member, and dedicated employee. With all those ideal citizen duties, there was little time to develop the real me. In the midst of developing those traits, the real Kristen was only known as an introverted writer who loves nature and exercise. By the time I divorced, I was out of touch with who I was. All I knew were labels plus a few more:

Divorced
Displaced
Unemployed

Divorce = Discovery

Although society can be harsh, I was my own worst enemy. During those first 18 months of introspection, I saw myself as a failure. When I realized I was wasting my future, I switched my view forward rather than backward. What I found was a side of me that was bursting with ideas and enthusiasm. All I needed was a kick in the pants to put me in action. The events following 2009 (job loss, caregiving, entrepreneurship, multigenerational household, finances) gave me the nudge I was looking for: these events contributed to the wonderful, mysterious entrepreneurial journey I am now living. In other words, my first 5 decades, INCLUDING DIVORCE, became a contributing factor of who I’m meant to be.

Lessons Learned

Reign in emotions. You WILL encounter a wide range of emotions from divorce, but the faster you can release them, the faster you can return to living. And smiling. There is more power in rebuilding and repurposing your life rather than blame and accusations. It took me four years to release the internal Hell I created for myself, mostly because I grieved the loss of something I couldn’t control.

Divorce isn’t the end of who YOU are. It is only the end of a legally committed relationship. It does not influence who you are as a parent, a citizen, a human being, an entrepreneur or any other descriptor.

Divorce is not a mark of shame. Divorce was once viewed as taboo and failure. To pursue what needed to be done despite societal pressure demonstrates your awareness for you and those around you. It isn’t selfish. It is strength!

Celebrate your strength. Divorce is extremely emotional. Even though we’re raised to commit to our marriage ‘until death do us part’, we must congratulate ourselves for doing our best. To identify, admit, and take action to move beyond something that no longer serves you requires fortitude. It was tough, but you did it.

Your life events build who you are. Just as I learned that everything has led me to where I am, you will find that everything you have experienced has made you who you are today. Instead of wishing you could go back and change things, abandon what is and build up from where you are RIGHT NOW!

Embrace your flaws. Your flaws are unique to you. They contribute to your story. There are hundreds, thousands, maybe more who seek comfort and wisdom from someone like you. You are the one who could make a difference and your flaws are what people will flock to. Everyone needs reminders they are not alone.

Opportunity emerges from the ashes. Divorce. Job loss. Health. It all puts us in a funk, but what we learn and how we build from itA steady yet determined climb upward--from divorce, displacement, disruption leads to unexpected opportunity.

Points to Remember

If you are currently involved in a divorce or still recovering from divorce, take these thoughts with you:

  • Grieve, but not too long.
  • Take time off, but not too long.
  • Get reacquainted with yourself.
  • Abandon the labels, expectations, or limitations.
  • Stride forward with the new you.

How will you rise?

Need help making your climb? I’m here to help!

Kristen Edens
Making Midlife Better

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