But we are resilient! We lean on friends and family. We find new companionship and financial support, and we learn from what didn’t work. We heal. We move on stronger than we were.
The path, however, can be long and excruciating. We decide when to face the truth, or how long we want to drag out the lessons.
Often what is most difficult to work through is failure or rejection. One coaching client told me, “I can’t believe she doesn’t want me.” When somebody makes an effort to hold on to us, we feel valued. When somebody misses our presence, we feel affirmed.
From a reader:
“Even though I have been divorced three years, it is still very, very hard for me emotionally. I thought that getting the abuse out of the house would be blissful … instead, raising children alone and dealing with all the financial issues is very stressful.
I have friends and family who help. And I have a good job … but still feel alone, sad and worried a lot. I read positive books and try to be around positive events and people. But still I have this heaviness.
It seems divorce has not affected him one bit. Married one day … and the next, oh, well, life goes on.”
When you feel good about yourself and the work you are doing, it’s OK that the task at hand is difficult. When you don’t have self-verification, the same task can seem insurmountable, draining at best — especially with an ex in the picture who offers no reinforcement.
When you seriously doubt your own worth and an ex acts as though you have none, it feels as though your doubts are confirmed. Your worst fear — that somehow you are not good enough — slaps you in the face with a nonchalant, “Oh, well.”
Failure and rejection are tough to work through because they seem to confirm your worst fear. But the fear is invalid.
It is not just your fear. It is everybody’s fear — or has been at some time.
That is why the words from the American Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson in 1776, remain poignant: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator.”
At a core level, we are all the same. You are not — of the six billion people on the planet — the only exception.
But moving through a divorce, you may feel as though you are. It may seem like the semblance of normalcy is all a charade, and all you can do is go through the motions.
Stop measuring yourself based on what somebody else seems to think about you. And stop looking at what you can see. These do not define you.
Look inside. See what you have been endowed with that nobody can ever take away from you. Your essence is an extension of the Creator, whomever you perceive him or her to be.
Align your behavior with your values. Make choices — one at a time — that reflect your inner greatness and strength, and you can’t help but feel good about yourself.
Divorce represents a “failed” marriage … and yes, you played a role in it. It is not your first “failure.” It is not your last. You are intended to learn from falling down.
Let that be your “anesthesia,” your peace and your joy. Let that be your inspiration to learn what you can learn from the fall, and to get up and to fall again for another lesson, and another and another.