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Whether you were the instigator or on the receiving end, facing a divorce can be incredibly scary. Your life is about to change in ways you didn’t even think and the person you have known yourself to be is no longer there. It’s full on, it’s emotional and it is something that will change the trajectory of your life. That’s huge.
But you can survive your divorce without falling apart. You can survive your divorce and come out the other end even better than you thought possible. You can survive your divorce and fall in love with yourself. You can survive your divorce and be the happiest you’ve ever been in your life.
You can survive your divorce.
1 – Rally The Troops
I always find it intriguing that people are quick to ask for help in celebrating their love when they are getting married but fear asking for help from the same people when they are going through a divorce. Like it’s only okay to help celebrate when good things happen but not help support when things aren’t so rosy?
Having a tribe of people around you who love you and support you unconditionally is essential to being able to survive your divorce. You might find you have different people who fulfil different roles, such as one who you go to when you need to have a good ‘what an arse’ conversation where you can vent everything. And you may have someone who you can go to for the ‘you can get through this’ conversations. And just as important, someone you can go to who knows that you just want to talk about everything except your divorce.
Surrounding yourself with love and support will help you to remember and rediscover that you are a person separate to your marriage and you will get through this.
2 – Get a Plan
There’s something about having a plan of action that makes everything seem so much better. One of the things that makes us scared and nervous is the fear of the unknown. What’s going to happen now? What do I do next?
Having a plan means you get to take control and eliminate that fear. YOU are in control of what happens next, and that is incredibly powerful.
Be practical in your plan as well. Talk a financial planner, talk to a lawyer, make appointments with them if needed. Don’t rely on things just happening or your ex to initiate the process – take control and take action.
Also, put a plan into place for YOU. What do you need to do now? Do you need to find financial support in a job or somewhere else to live? Do you need to sell off assets? Buy a new car? Take time off work to sort things out? Arrange new child care? What do you need to do to make your day to day life functional?
3 – Do One Thing Each Day For Yourself
This is so important, more important than anything else. You need to do at least one thing every single day for you.
If you’re a mum you’re probably going into caretaker mode where you do everything to take care of your kids and protect them from the situation. If you don’t have kids yet, you’re probably feeling like somehow being ‘selfish’ led to your divorce and therefore doing anything for yourself is a bad thing. These are both mindset issues that will take time to resolve, but in the meantime, YOU need to focus on YOU.
Your number one priority is YOU.
Even if you’re a mum. It might seem crazy but honestly, if you don’t take care of yourself then you can’t take care of your kids so you absolutely must take care of yourself first.
Do something each day for yourself.
It might be that you take a walk or take 10 minutes out to drink a coffee while it’s still hot. Maybe you take yourself off to the movies or buy yourself a new book you’ve wanted to read. Maybe you join a gym or take a yoga class. Or even go out for ladies night or catch up with some old friends.
Do at least one thing each day that makes you happy and reminds you that it’s okay to smile, it’s okay to be happy and you will get through this.
4 – Journal And Reflect
Self reflection is a huge part of self development, however, during a time of divorce, we tend to be a little bias in our reflective abilities. If we were the one to initiate the divorce we tend to focus mainly on our ex’s wrong doings, and if we were on the receiving end of the divorce we tend to focus on our own wrong doings.
The thing is, no one person and no one event leads to a divorce. There is always a build up, even if you can’t see it.
Effective self reflection is a skill and it takes practice. This is the perfect time to start.
In the beginning, it’s most likely going to be ramblings. Journaling what’s going on in your mind, which is incredibly therapeutic. But as time goes on, start to try and expand your thoughts around your relationship and your divorce. Push the boundaries of your thoughts and try to see things from different perspectives. Look at the positives of your relationship too, because not all relationships are bad. And pay attention to how you have changed since the divorce and the things you now love about yourself.
5 – Forgive
This isn’t going to happen overnight, and it’s unlikely to happen anytime soon. It’s a process you need to work through but one that is so essential in moving on and being truly happy.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you think what happened was okay and it certainly doesn’t excuse any behaviours. It just means that you no longer want to carry around that negative feeling anymore and you let it go.
Practice saying it by yourself. It might start off with ‘even though you are a lying arsehole, I forgive you’ but even starting like this can lead to letting go of negativity. You’ll find as you start listing things you’ll let more emotion go into it.
But forgiving your ex isn’t the only forgiveness task. You need to forgive yourself too. Because whether you’re the instigator or the receiver, I guarantee you feel some guilt for what has happened. Do the same exercise for yourself. ‘Even though you feel like you failed your marriage, I forgive you’.
There are a ton of great resources out there available on forgiveness but my favourite and go to is the Hawaiian Ho’ Oponopono method. Read more about it here.
6 – Seek Professional Help
There’s such a negative stigma around seeking professional help and it really shouldn’t be this way. I know I couldn’t have gotten through my divorce as well as I did without the help I received from an amazing counsellor. It’s so good to have someone to talk to who is impartial and can challenge your thinking.
The key is to find someone you connect with. If you don’t like the counsellor you see then find another one. I had an amazing counsellor who was confident to call bullshit on me and who I knew would be straight down the line – exactly what I needed. But it’s different for everyone.
Sometimes all the self help books and coffee dates with friends just aren’t enough. Invest in yourself and get some extra help. It might just be the thing you need to push you into the zone of feeling amazing about yourself again.