3. Engage the benefits of [future] hindsight
Pretend you’re the older, wiser version of yourself from the future.
“Older” takes years.
“Wiser” takes some growth and healing.
You can focus on growth and healing at any point…even right now.
What reflections and insights does You + 10yrs have? How about You + 20? As she reviews her life and sees her strength, wisdom and joy what painful experiences is she thankful for?
Chances are really good that the divorce fits in there somewhere. At least to some degree. What lessons did she learn? Does she appreciate that she can survive (even thrive through) terrifying life transitions? It’s possible that she feels empowered by the fact that she can let someone walk when they don’t respect perfectly healthy boundaries. She may even appreciate the irony that the space her ex made when he left made room for the kinds of relationships with whom she doesn’t need to set healthy boundaries with in the first place!
Now, how does that feel? The emotional state of resolution, peace and even joy will give you an internal reference point for the kind
Deep in your bones, feel the truth of it.
4. Redefine failure.
Think long and hard about your favorite successes. Each and every one of them were built on the backs of a variety of failures. That is exactly how you improve anything in your life. Every single perceived “failure” in your life comes with the opportunity to strengthen something you need: patience, resiliency, forgiveness…YOU.
You have that opportunity now. If you continue to berate yourself for “failing” you miss the opportunity for success. Belaboring the past is only helpful insofar as you’re willing to look for the tools you used to get through it.
“Failure” is having the courage to end one chapter and write the next.
Failure is the opportunity. Courage is the tool.
“Failure” is having the wisdom to let go of what no longer serves your highest good.
Failure is the opportunity. Discernment is the tool.
“Failure” is having being gracious enough to let someone go, even when you don’t understand why.
Failure is the opportunity. Forgiveness (letting go) is the tool.
What opportunity does your “failure” present to you?
5. Look to future possibilities.
Whether you feel better about your past or not is just a matter of practicing the first four things to do when you feel like a failure after divorce. With some practice under your belt you soon understand (and soon accept) that whatever you believe about the end of your marriage (that either it, or you, or both were a failure) that chapter has closed. You’ve got a wide open future ahead of you.
Once you agreed to be married to one person you also agreed to reject infinite other possibilities in your life. That’s the very nature of “opportunity cost,” the idea that saying, “yes,” to one option inherently means saying, “no” to all other options. Understand that, and you quickly realize that, without your spouse, you have once again opened the door to a myriad of non-married options in your life.
There will be times when you’re overwhelmed by the loss. After all, you didn’t just lose your relationship you lost all of the accompanying hopes and dreams. The pain is normal. It’s also not the only available experience.
There will also be times when you see new possibility, feel curious and (dare I say) hopeful! Allow yourself to feel all that good stuff too. A whole new world is available to you now. Like a kid in a candy store you get to peruse, imagine, anticipate and ultimately choose whatever you like.