Reassess – Reset – Reaffirm
Opportunity is the keyword as you reassess your life. The overwhelming feeling of loss that has been your constant companion needs to be put in the background. Replace that loss with anticipation for the future. You are now in a place to assess. What is working? Reset what is not working and begin to make changes. Reaffirm what thinking fills you with anticipation and excitement. How you think affects what you think. Channel your thinking to positive thoughts in every aspect of your life.
It only takes a moment to shift your thinking. Be mindful of your thoughts. Pause when they drift to the negative. Intentionally choose positive thoughts and feel the energy.
A Word About Pace
It is good to commit to change but pacing our gusto for change is important. Living in this instant world of the 21st Century we can forget that life changes are not like looking at your phone and googling an answer to a question.
Be thoughtful about what is most important for you to change. Most importantly, be patient with yourself. Doing that gives you a much greater chance of success.
Begin to visualize the balance in your life. Draw a circle or square and divide it into parts that represent your evaluation of time spent with family, work, and relationships. What does this tell you about the balance in your life?
Life in Three Parts
Acknowledge what you are doing well in each area -home, work, relationships. Separation and divorce bruise our self -confidence so it is time for a reset by celebrating who we are and what we do well. It is easy to tell ourselves we have failed when a marriage ends. It is also easy to take the blame. Those ‘if only I’d been better at” thoughts need to be filed away permanently.
Looking back should be done sparingly and looking forward done repeatedly. Identify one achievable goal for each part of your life. Give yourself a timeline to meet the goal and identify steps to get there.
As you review these areas of your life and set goals, make balance, change, and growth your focus. Feeling overwhelmed has likely been a constant companion through the separation and divorce. You want and need to feel confident that you can reach your chosen goals. So, give yourself time and space to reflect and determine the path.
Nature has a way of taking us into a meditative place. Take some time in nature and focus your thoughts on those three areas of life. Put a small journal in your backpack and head out. Leave the earbuds at home and, instead, listen to nature’s song. Look up and around. This is your time to let nature work its wonders and for you to begin to build energy for the future with your hopes and dreams.
In this age of the influencer, we can spend too much time thinking and worrying about what other people might think of us, our lives, and our decisions. The truth is that all those people are usually more concerned about their own lives. Do not let that worry impede the personal decision-making process as you build your future.
Part of the post-divorce phase is recognizing opportunities in all aspects of our lives because now we have the autonomy to make changes. We also need to recognize that sometimes opportunity is not completely obvious.
Recall the number of times you have said you were so glad you did something you were less than keen to do because it opened an opportunity. Often these opportunities are a leap of faith because we cannot anticipate the exact outcome.
A work-life example would be considering a professional development opportunity. Like-minded people are at these workshops. You meet someone and it might open a new door.
Family life has been upended by the change. Rather than looking at what has been lost, look at ways this has created opportunities to enable you to do things your way. Going forward accentuate the positive.
Are there family traditions or daily habits that need a refresh? These do not have to be big changes because your children are dealing with lots of changes. It could be a slight tweak, even a special question asked at mealtime that brings you together around the table. Mealtime can be a very healing time for a family.
Think of things you would like to have done as a family and did not because your spouse was not keen. Now do it—whatever it is and enjoy.
It is a fact that some friendships and relationships with extended family do not make it through separation and divorce. The world is filled with billions of people and every day is an opportunity to meet someone new.
One good friend of mine I met in the reference section of a bookstore. There are only a few people who beat a path to the reference section of a bookstore. One day I said hello to the one other person there and it turned out we were both writers. We talked about our love of writing and books. Then we arranged a lunch and today I have this valued friend in my life because I started a conversation with a stranger. Those opportunities exist for us every day.
Old friendships have their lustre, but newer friendships bring with them no connection to the past. Welcome them into your new life.
Reaffirm your capacity to be creative, inventive, independent, and resourceful. Your life has a new perspective. Thinking in original and creative ways will take you down new paths. Feel stronger and more capable with every step you take into your future.
Next Time: Priorities and Maintaining Balance
About Linda Simpson
“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 of 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.