Freedom from the Past brings Freedom to build a Future
As we were celebrating Freedom Day in South Africa recently, commemorating the transitions our country and its people have gone through over the past 20 odd years, it made me think about the freedom that the transition of divorce brings. Don’t’ get me wrong, I’m not advocating divorce. I wish every married couple a fairy tale happily ever after and every child a secure and loving family to grow up in. However, there are times when divorce is the only or the better option and it actually offers a lot of transitional value.
Pain & Suffering to Happiness & Health
Going through divorce inevitably meant that the last few years in my marriage were not the best. They were marked by heartache and sadness about what could have been, fear of losing my partner and anxiety about the uncertain future that lay ahead. My health suffered as a result of the continuous trauma of my family falling apart and depression gradually set in.
Working through the trauma healed the heartache and cured the sadness as I learned the power of acceptance. The fear subsided as I regained hope for a new future on my own terms. Getting a grip on my past and embracing the reality of my present, allowed me to start building a healthy future.
Conflict to Peace
Ever-increasing arguments about issues we simply couldn’t agree on anymore, were clouding our daily existence. Shameful screaming matches became the honest substitute for intimate connection and left me disillusioned in a deep, disgusting trench.
The odds for disagreement was greatly diminished when we separated and each owned private space to retreat to for reflection. Feeling less threatened brought new perspective to our problems and enabled me to see mistakes I needed to rectify and offer an apology for.
Stress to Harmony
Living with the constant stress of a failing marriage took its toll on me as tension headaches, muscle spasms and a peptic ulcer became the symptoms of shot nerves, sleepless nights and exhausting days juggling motherhood, work and defending myself in battle after battle of the divorce war.
Although my stress factors initially increased with our separation, the new status quo prompted me to evaluate my lifestyle choices and make adjustments to prevent a complete breakdown. In my search for solutions, I discovered better ways to manage stress and maintain my personal well-being regardless of life’s ups and downs.
Victim to Courageous Leader
The countless times I exclaimed “How did this happen?”, “What did I do to deserve this?”, “Why me?”, “Why my poor innocent children?” was exasperating. With absolutely no idea how to handle the situation and totally misguided by my legal representation, I became trapped in a cycle of self-pity and regarded myself as the innocent victim of this horrible injustice.
Desperate for a fair divorce, I anticipated my day in court as retribution for all the wrongs I suffered. All I got was a lawful bloody nose, forcing me to take a long hard look in the mirror. The truth literally hit me in the face when I realized that I was solely responsible for myself and how my life turned out. I mustered the courage to lead myself out of the darkness into the light.
Sense of Failure to Confidence
None of us get married with the expectation to ever have to go through a divorce, so admitting to myself that I failed to write my own fairy tale, was painful. I battered myself with introspection, searching for what I did wrong, where I could have done better, why I didn’t see it coming and how the hell to go forward.
Searching deep within myself, I succeeded, for the first time ever, to discover my real worth, my purpose, and my greatest values. This enabled me to lift my head up again and choose a new path to write the next chapter of my story with confidence.