Divorce can be a horrific event to experience or can be the greatest life teacher. While no one I interviewed enjoyed it, many stated that they gained such wisdom from it.
As with other transitions, divorce can be a catalyst for a major life change or new career path. Some felt as if they were merely drifting through life and their divorce came as a big wake up call.
The overwhelming response to my interviews was that people discovered inner strength. Some felt like they would fall apart or have “A nervous breakdown” during divorce proceedings.
Post-divorce they are much stronger people. Hidden skills, talents and positive character traits emerged during this calmer period.
One woman retrained as florist and opened her own shop. Another women did not learn until her divorce that she is a world class mother. She is proud that she nurtures and passes along her newly found strength to her children.
Patience was another life lesson. Several quoted “This too shall pass” and continue saying it post-divorce when irritations and problems crop up with their exes. Instead of exploding or shutting down, as was done in the past, they face complications more calmly with patience. Ironically, when dealing with someone patiently, the situation is less likely to escalate. It takes two to Tango and two to fight.
Resilience. Some echoed my sentiments, “If I can make it through this divorce, I can make it through anything else that life throws at me.”
Instead of feeling like a victim, some are now thriving.
When my finances take a nose dive or my ex decides periodically to stop alimony early, I am confident that I will get through these disasters okay. Some reiterated that learning to manage their finances had an impact of being in control of all areas of their lives.
Annette said that divorce gave her the opportunity to learn how to forgive. She has forgiven her ex in order to move on and was surprised how useful forgiveness is in other situations too. When co-workers are catty or family members inconsiderate, she does not dwell on this. Annette does not agree with these actions, but forgives people so she keeps looking forward and not backwards.
Others contemplated their spirituality and turned to their faith or a Higher Power to get through divorce proceedings. Post-divorce, they get their spiritual “batteries” recharged on a regular basis.
Others felt inclined to learn imperative life skills, such as meditation, yoga, or mindfulness. They have mentioned how invaluable these are to their lives today. Several became yoga instructors, Nia teacher, massage therapist and cosmetologist and in other disciplines that were useful to them in this traumatic situation. Now they help so many others while enjoying the well-being from these new careers.
Independence. Being able to make one’s own decisions is liberating and some expressed that they did not realize how oppressed they were while still married. One woman was told by her spouse that visitors (including family) were severely restricted and had to leave by 7:30 pm. She was exhilarated post-divorce to entertain on her own schedule. A few told me as soon as their spouse moved out during the divorce they redecorated or rearranged their bedrooms. Sometimes when we are trying to hang onto a marriage, our preferences go out the door to keep the peace.
Going through an especially dark period enables one to appreciate relationships on a deeper level. Friendships that were taken for granted can blossom. Family members that were supportive are valuable allies when post-divorce complications arise. Many joined groups and expanded their social networks which upped their happiness on a long term basis. Showing compassion for others, such as through volunteering, lessened the focus from them during divorce and enabled these folks to feel better in this turbulent time. Be open to the wisdom and life lessons learned as a result of divorce.
Author of The Woman’s Holistic Guide to Divorce