When you lose everything, you take nothing for granted. With divorce, you lose your past memories, your present marriage, and your future dreams. If you’re like me, you also lost so much more, left with nothing but your clothes and your determination to survive.
And as the dust settles, you will find an increased thankfulness for the friends that stepped up and stood by. You will treasure every day where the smiles outnumber the tears. And you will retain that gratitude even as the pain fades because once you have felt rock bottom, you appreciate everything that lifts you up.
When you have felt pain, you honor, and respect that pain in others. The end of marriage makes you more empathetic towards people facing any kind of loss. As you move towards acceptance and forgiveness of your situation and your ex, you develop your ability to see more than one viewpoint and to consider the feelings of others.
Divorce also wipes away the ego that demands that it’s shameful to ask for help. And once you’ve needed and accepted that help yourself, you’re better equipped to render aid to others.
It’s all too easy to unwittingly put the responsibility for our life in our spouse’s hands. We may look to them to provide our happiness. We may lean on them when we are upset or having difficulty with a decision. It’s good to be interdependent, yet divorce requires that you learn to be independent.
When you walk out of that courtroom, your life is your hands. You no longer have a co-captain, you’re driving alone. One of the first areas you have to assume responsibility for is your own well-being. You can’t outsource healing; you have to do it yourself. It’s scary taking on all of the responsibility yourself. Yet it also empowering. Because what you own, you can change. It’s your life now.
Divorce is a harsh lesson in our limitations. It teaches us that no matter how much we want something to be true, we cannot force it into being. It’s a wake-up call that we all make mistakes and we all make choices whose consequences may be much greater than we ever imagined. You may have been one of the divorce-deniers, now forced to admit that it can happen to anyone.
The reality-slap of the end of marriage helps you embrace acceptance while limiting expectations.
The journey of divorce is an arduous one, taking much longer and with more setbacks than any of us imagined before we took that first step. It has many moments of false-hope when we think the worst is behind us, only to find that we are snapped back yet again to the depths of hopelessness.
Divorce takes grit to survive. You flex your fortitude as you continue on even when you can’t yet see the end.
Many people see divorce as a wake-up call, often realizing that they were living in auto-pilot before they signed their “I Un-dos.” Divorce is a major change in the status quo. It’s a time where everything stands out in stark relief and there is an awareness and clarity that may have been absent before.