Divorce Recovery with Social-Emotional Learning – Part 1

Your Guide to Divorce Recovery with Social-Emotional Learning
Linda Simpson
Linda Simpson –
Divorce and Parenting Consultant
Writer and Speaker

Has your personal life been upended as the result of a marriage breakup? Are you longing to get beyond the painful dazed and confused feeling that surrounds you? There is a path forward to your divorce recovery.

I know this to be true because I have felt that pain and uncertainty. Decades after a very traumatic divorce, I have survived and thrived. Now I am focused on my work as a social-emotional learning coach helping others find their divorce recovery.

This personal guide will be your helping hand as you put your new life together.

What is Social-Emotional Learning?

Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) includes:

Self-Awareness + Self-Management + Responsible Decision-Making +

Relationship Skills + Social Awareness = a skill set that helps us to better understand our emotional self.

Why SEL?

SEL is a blueprint for living and nowhere is it more useful than in divorce recovery. Why?  Divorce is one of the most intense emotional experiences you will ever have in life. It challenges your self-identity.

With SEL skills you can reclaim the person that might have got lost in the lead up to the divorce.   Social-emotional learning (SEL) skills can be your pathway to divorce recovery.

How does this guide work?

Beginning with self-awareness this series will offer an organized healing path forward.  Through journaling your response to thoughtful questions and observations, the goal will be to gain a greater sense of self. So often, there is a part of us lost in the divorce process. With SEL as the framework, this organized approach will help restore some calm and harmony amidst the chaos and confusion you might have been feeling.

How will self-awareness help you?

In the lead-up to a divorce, you were probably extremely focused on your partner and their behaviour. Most likely you spent enormous amounts of time thinking about them and not taking care of yourself. Chances are you put your own emotional needs behind that of your partner as you tried to hold the marriage together.

As well, your former partner might have been quite free with criticism and judgments of all your perceived character faults. I know mine went to great lengths to dissect my character. Like I was, you are now faced with trying to pick up the pieces of your fragile and battered self.

Investing time in this process will help re-establish and nurture your self-confidence and optimism. These traits have quite possibly been in short supply in your life lately.

Where do you start?

Dedicate a writing space to your recovery. Whenever I have a special personal writing project, I find a journal notebook that has a captivating design that boosts my mood every time I pick it up. My pens are always blue ink. Treat yourself to writing materials that please you and then, with love, dedicate it to your social-emotional learning divorce recovery and jump write into this journey of journaling self-discovery.

First things first.

Let us begin our self-awareness with an act of kindness. Think about your strengths. These might include perseverance, honesty, and integrity.  Are you a very loyal friend to others? The possibilities are many. Maybe there are some you have not even noticed about yourself. Dig deep. It is time to value yourself. You might want to enlist the help of a trusted friend with this personal exploration.

Begin as many sentences as you can with:

My great strength is _________________________________________________

I am proud of it because______________________________________________

As a further personal challenge:

Consider what your spouse said were your weaknesses. Were they strengths? For many years, my perceived flaws were flung at me with impunity.  I later realized some of those flaws were my strengths that intimidated my former spouse.

Every good run at self-awareness does require facing our weaknesses because they are also part of us. With these traits, we need to carefully have a look without harsh self-judgment. Analyzing our weaknesses is not about self-sabotage but it is meant to help us know ourselves better.

Finish these sentences as many times as needed:

A weakness I have __________________________________________________

Answer it whichever way fits.

I accept that weakness because________________________________________


I can change that weakness by_________________________________________


I can begin with _____________________________________________________

Maybe there is not a way to change some of these traits right now.

How do you get to a level of acceptance and patience with yourself?


Next, take some time to write about the responsibilities in your life.


You cannot take care of others if you do not take care of yourself.

Chances are you have responsibilities that might include childcare, your parents needing attention, or a demanding job, or all of that and more.

Consider how these responsibilities affect you. Be honest because journals are nonjudgmental and never tire of listening.

Many responsibilities do not stop for the healing needed after a divorce.

Now take some time to answer these questions.

Begin by listing all the responsibilities in your life.

Do some weigh heavier than others? Why?

Is there any space or place for rebalancing these responsibilities?

You may need to revisit this several times over the coming months.

Next, consider how you can manage these responsibilities.

Look at the demands of each. Are they reasonable?

Are there ways to lessen the burden in some?

Are there some that should require more attention?

Take some time to appreciate all the work you do to fulfil these responsibilities by reflecting in your journal.

The answers to these questions will help you establish a starting point for a way forward with your responsibilities.

Believe that with perseverance and effort you are going to make life whole again. The absolute best investment we can make is the time it takes to heal and reclaim ourselves. You can do it. Contact me through the following address and I will cheer you on.

We are living through difficult times and if your life has been impacted by divorce contact The Divorce Magazine UK for your complimentary divorce coaching session with Linda. She is a divorce coach who is also a traumatic divorce survivor. Her insights and empathy will help you find your path forward to a brighter future. She looks forward to meeting you –email: letterstolinda@thedivorcemagazine.co.uk



“I take strength from your calm, your honesty, and the hope you give me for my future.” Cheryl 

Linda is a fresh voice in the divorce advice world. She offers a pragmatic, common sense approach to life after divorce issues based on over twenty years surviving and thriving following a very traumatic divorce.

As a single parent, her sons are an enormous source of joy in her life. She is a loving mother and grandmother to four delightful grandchildren.

She holds a degree from the University of Waterloo with concentrations in sociology and philosophy and guidance counselling certification from Queen’s University.

She is an accredited trainer for The Peace Education Foundation, a leader in conflict resolution training. The institute is ‘dedicated to educating children and adults in the dynamics of conflict resolution and promoting peacemaking skills in home, schools, and community.’

In a long and successful teaching career, she also served as a counsellor and workshop facilitator for SEL (social emotional learning) programming and The Peace Education Foundation throughout her school and school district and was a frequent conference presenter for SUNY Potsdam Faculty of Education USA.

She writes for The Divorce Magazine UK and her blog is seen regularly on Huffington Post Canada where the focus is life after divorce and parenting issues.

She is a writer and poet and is presently at work on a book based on her divorce experience.

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