Ever get the feeling you just want to rip out some of the chapters of your life?
Sometimes we can’t bear to look back and own some of the mistakes we’ve made.
For some reason, we seem to think we need to have all the answers to life figured out before we even start the journey. Can you imagine what a crazy notion this is, really?
As someone who taught children for fifteen years, I have learned some of my greatest lessons about failing and learning by seeing young kids struggle to grasp new concepts and then have a breakthrough.
I always told my students that it was ok to get things wrong because that’s how our brains learn and make new connections. And yet, I wasn’t giving myself the same compassion and grace within my classroom.
The classroom of life.
There are times when I reflect on my past and want to tear some pages out. Just erase them, and push the delete button.
It takes so much intention to let go of that desire. To be able to embrace the mistakes made as learning and to appreciate and find gratitude for actions I cringe over today.
My divorce was one of those times. When my mind sneaks back to some of the most painful memories I have of the last year of my marriage, I want to shut it all down. I used to do just that.
In the initial stages, it hurt far too much to acknowledge the shame, guilt and pain that I felt for the way things ended in my marriage.
I staved off these feelings by keeping constantly busy, drinking too much and entering new relationships. I waited for time to make things all better.
It wasn’t until I finally began to feel brave enough to start piecing the puzzle back together and taking the time to intentionally acknowledge, accept, forgive and let go of each individual memory that I began to feel true healing take place.
There were some things I had to forgive my ex for, and others I had to forgive myself for. Neither of us was perfect. Shock, horror!
We’ve all heard the proverb ‘Time heals all wounds’. When it comes to death, divorce and grieving, this is not true.
Time can dull the ache, make memories more hazy, absolutely. But the body keeps the score. Whatever you resist persists.
It may happen in the background, shrouded in the subconscious, and not coming to the forefront often, but it will stay there until it is dealt with properly and intentionally.
I’ve worked with many clients who have been divorced for over five years and are still trying to process aspects of their grief and loss. Even those in new relationships.
My true healing did not come until I had been divorced for six years. During that time, I was in a relationship with someone I thought I would be with for the rest of my life. When it ended, I had to deal with the pain of that relationship ending and the pain of my divorce, which I hadn’t been brave enough to face.
I realised, as I was going through that round of recovery and healing, how important it is not to avoid the pain of loss. As difficult and terrifying as it is to face, it is worth taking the time to properly heal because this is a golden opportunity to find the real lessons we are meant to learn from the end of a relationship.
Our stories are our stories.The happy parts, the sad parts, the traumatic parts. We can’t deny any of what makes us who we are in the present moment. The person who is reading these words right now. All of your experiences, triumphs, failures, and stumbles are part of what makes you who you are today.
Imagine a novel where the main character starts out perfectly, then the story ends perfectly, and nothing happens in between.
A good life story will have moments of adversity, sadness, embarrassment, poor choices, denial, and hopelessness. Then end with that character having pushed through the worst to become something better than they were at the start.
If you are open to it, your divorce can teach you so much.
So don’t rip those chapters out.
Sit down with your life story and reread those chapters. Find the lessons you need to learn so you can grow and become a better version of the person you were back then.
About Carol Madden
Hello, my name is Carol Madden and I am a certified divorce coach working with clients around the world from my online practice in New Zealand.
I aim to help individuals navigate the often overwhelming emotions and practical considerations of separating from a spouse. I understand the unique challenges that divorce can bring, having been through my own divorce ten years ago.
I believe that divorce can be an opportunity for growth and positive change, rather than just a painful ending. Through my coaching, I help clients gain clarity and confidence as they move forward in their lives.
As a writer, I am excited to share my perspectives on divorce with readers seeking solid support during their separations. Whether providing tips for managing the emotional rollercoaster or offering practical advice for effectively co-parenting, I want to help others through this challenging time.