Ladies. Let’s face it. After we go through the disappointment and hurt from divorce, it can take quite a long time before we find ourselves healthy and whole. It seems to me, myself included, that we have the ability to languish for a very long time in the pain we experienced because of this broken relationship. If there are kids involved with this person, then the difficulty is even more intense. And, if we are not on our first divorce, well the pain can be overwhelming! Why do we hold onto the sadness, grief and bitterness for so long? Why do we torture ourselves with the loss of this relationship(s)? Even when we come to realize, we picked the wrong guy(s) and know our lives are better off without the dysfunction, abuse, lack of respect, or you are with a total control freak (the possibilities here are endless), personally, I put a lot of the blame on Disney!
It is not insomuch as not being with this person, it is more of the despair of our destroyed dreams that we carried throughout our little girl childhoods, teenage years and adult womanhood. I call this the Cinderella Syndrome. I’ve known this for years, yet I still combated with this syndrome more than once in my life.
What is the Cinderella Syndrome you ask? Oh, I have much to say about this female phenomenon, and will touch on it briefly. There will be more to come about this subject in the future, I promise!
We all know about those innocent days of yesteryear when we sat in front of the television, or even better, saw a Disney movie at the theater. Oh, how we longed to be swept away or brought back to life with just one kiss from the Handsome, Prince Charming. Oh, how we set forth in motion that longing, for our Knight in Shining Armor to find us, the Damsel in Distress. Once and for all, we would be saved from the wickedness of life and have our fairy tale come true. We would surely be treated like Princesses by these magical men. Oh, they would never hurt our feelings and they would fawn all over our beauty and just the sheer pleasure of our company. Our problems would be solved forever!
Somewhere, deep down inside, did we not buy into this story line between men and women? Did we not think our happiness resides in our personal prince charming and that all of our dreams would come true, once we found our “one true love”? I know I did. I had a pattern of believing that my happiness was found outside myself: in my husband or partner, in my children, in my “do gooder” work, in my performance as a homemaker, community member, fundraising chair, neighborhood watch block captain, gourmet cook, entertaining extraordinaire, perfect hostess, housewife and mom of the year. Oh, how I bought into the better I was to my family, the happier I would be in the end. I did however, revel and enjoy tremendously being and doing all of these things. But, alas, after a troubling divorce and shattered dreams, I have learned many new ideals about life, love and the search for internal peace and happiness.
The fact is, most girls are brought up with this fairy tale dream of the handsome prince, saving us from all of our problems and providing us a “happily ever after” life experience. Now, I am not saying that a beautiful, mutual partnership filled with wonderful moments isn’t possible, because it is something we can all aspire to have in our lives. However, the fact is, our happiness comes from within ourselves. We’ve all heard it. It is not a cliché by any means. The truth of this is at the very core of one of the great mysteries of relationships, life purpose and our soul’s destiny. This writing is about much more than the nuts and bolts of getting on with life after divorce. This writing is a brief revelation about our existential experience while on the planet Earth, despite the ugliness of divorce.
See, once we begin to seek the greater meaning of life, as so many of us are called forth to do, only then do we have a deeper understanding of what the heck is going on in this world, in our own lives and in our reltionships.
Mahatma Gandhi once spoke the very wise words we still hear today, “we must be the change we want to see in the world”. This is true, not only on a global scale but in our own private little worlds as well. Let’s go back to the first premise I mentioned above.
- Find peace within. No relationship can fill a void inside of us, causing the feeling of completion or well-being. Nothing and No One can do this for us. We must find that inner peace, source of well-being and fulfillment on our own. The only way to do this is through a deep, soul connection to Self and the Creator. There are no other substances or anything external void. The void is the separation we feel from the beauty of a soul connection to all that is.
- Grieve. We are taught at a very early age, that a girl’s identity is directly attached to being a wife, mother and caregiver. Even though in these modern times, women make up half the work force, we still struggle with these identity issues that are attached to our ability to be a “good wife” and “good mother”. So, when that divorce decree is finalized, a piece of our dream goes with the marriage – down the proverbial drain. We must grieve these ideals and dreams we have kept in our heart of hearts since we were tiny little girls. This part hurts. Do not be afraid to truly face your sadness and disappointment! Feel this to the depths of your being. Feelings buried alive never die, and so, unless and until you get in touch with the sadness, the sadness will be with you wherever you go. There will come a time, when you won’t feel the need to grieve, and then and only then, will you find freedom from the pain.
- When our ideal relationship, that we envision as little girls watching Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and the like, do not hold up to our fantasy expectation, the devastation and disappointment can seem unbearable. Our wounded little girl hearts become hardened to our partners and our “once upon a time” dreams have been permanently crushed. We must open our eyes and realize that No Man is going to be perfect. No one person can fulfill another. There is no “Prince Charming” that will save you from the pain we experience in life at times. We must look for our match in different terms (more on this later). An equal partnership with mutual respect, loyalty and connection are what we need. We do not need to be saved ladies! The point here is to recognize the authentic, powerful, women that we are! We must stop the belief that we are in need of a man or marriage to validate who and what we really are. When we come into our own personal power, and really know the brilliance of our beings, then we can magnetize a partner that suits our evolved selves.
- Unless and until we make the decision to uncover, recover and reveal our own sense of self, inner beauty and soul purpose, we will always have the feeling of something missing. Every relationship will leave us feeling empty, until we find that source of completion within ourselves first. We all have a mission to accomplish. We all have an inner dream that is vital to our own existence. Find out what that is. Do you have an itch that you cannot scratch? A dream you have put on hold? An unfulfilled experience you wish you could have? Get in touch with those unspoken dreams and allow the idea of them to flow into your present moments. Does this exhilarate you on some deep, core level? That is your soul trying to guide you into your “what’s next”. Keep your eyes on the prize and find out where this life journey is longing to take you!
- We must be comfortable in the uncomfortable. It is that simple. To make any necessary changes in our lives, we must be aware that it might not feel welcoming or good at first. It is like going through growing pains. To become independent from relationships and truly get in touch with ourselves, can seem daunting, scary and downright lonely. Stay the course in reconnecting with you! In the end, it will be worth the trouble.
- In order to reconnect with the inner you, I always suggest developing that deep, spiritual life, specially designed for you, by you and with you. By this I mean, whether it is meditation, prayer, movement, journaling, seeking solace in nature, there is a special way that you can connect with the deeper version of yourself. Find that thing that resonates with your being in opening your spirit up, and do it! Make that commitment to yourself!
- Find joy. It is imperative to combat the depression that grief tags along with, to find the things in life that can spark that feeling of joy again. The more joyful you become, the more brilliant the colors of your life. Maybe it is taking that pottery class, or volunteering with children, or throwing a party. It doesn’t matter what it is. Just do things that bring more joy in your present moments.
- Time. It is true that time can heal all wounds. However, that doesn’t mean time will erase the wounds if we just give it enough distance and ignore what we experienced. We must deal with our emotions, our grief, our wounds, our patterns in our lives that pushed us along. We must heal from these hurts if we are to truly find freedom, peace and healthy relationships in the future. Otherwise, there is a great probability we will recreate some of what we already experienced. And, who wants to recreate painful episodes? So, know this is a process and that it will take time to heal.
- Set an appointment with yourself. This is an important aspect of grieving in any area of our life. Sometimes we can get very “stuck” in the cycle of emotional pain during the grieving process. This can take many years to combat if left unchecked. We can miss out on so much joy in life by living in the pain from our divorce, and in other wounds that have occurred in this life. We all have wounds, hurts, sadness, grief. No one gets by unscathed, that’s for sure. What we do with it is the difference here. When you cannot seem to move forward and your days are filled with negative emotion, I challenge you to make an appointment with yourself. By this I mean, set a time for an hour each day that you revisit your pain in a big way. Feel all of the negative emotions around your story and the divorce story in your life. Cry, shout, and scream! Whatever you need to release will have an outlet this way. Set a timer for your appointment. Allow yourself this experience at the allotted time ONLY. When the timer buzzes, you have no choice but to change the subject in your mind. That’s it. That’s all you get. Until your next appointment time.
- Believe. I challenge you to believe, once again, in your wishes being fulfilled. Believe that your heart can and will open to new dreams, wishes and love. Believe that you can have something, even greater, than expected in your life. Do not allow your hope and faith to leave you! It is imperative that you reach for that spark that resides in you that will tell you, “do not fret so much child, better days are coming”. Believe your better days are soon! Believe the work you do now; will invite those better days to come even quicker than you expected. Believe in Miracles, the Miraculous, and an ever-unfolding journey that can lead you to the life of your dreams.
The above are some steps you can take RIGHT NOW to begin your divorce recovery! Life is not meant to be filled with constant heartache and disappointment. You can get through this, I promise. Keep reading these blogs; reach out for help if you are stuck in the cycle of pain.
If you are ready to truly move on and live your life with joy, passion, purpose and fulfillment, please reach out to me. I am available to you, anytime. You can email me at [email protected].