Maybe you have been there …
You believe you have failed at life. You feel fluffy and frumpy and are frozen in time with little sense of how to move forward.
The dissolution of your marriage happened slowly with a gradual loss of your true self and your identity to please your spouse. Your self-esteem has never been lower.
Now that you are single, it’s time to get your mojo back so you can build a life that you are excited to get up to everyday.
The question is: How do you go about building self-esteem after divorce?
Supercharge Self Esteem After Divorce
ADDRESS YOUR THOUGHTS
Begin by addressing your thinking.
Divorce is not failure; it is transition.
When you chose your spouse, you were a different person.
You have since learned a lot about yourself and life and these new lessons are a gift from the past. You have outgrown the person you were when you are married, and likely your spouse in the process.
Changing the internal dialogue is an important part of building your self-confidence. Instead of thinking of yourself as a:
“Pushover or doormat”
How about change it to:
“I made a choice to sacrifice what I wanted to make someone else happy”?
Or instead of :
“I’m too fat”
The new dialogue is:
“I worked out three times this week”?
ACCEPT YOUR PATH
You must allow yourself to grieve your relationship and what you have lost in order to move on.
There were positive parts to the marriage and they deserve acknowledgment and gratitude.
You might miss the comfort of a companion at social events. You may miss shared social events with other couples. Your children would not be here today if you had not chosen your spouse. You have learned hard won lessons about life and love that will impact your future choices.
Give yourself the gift of compassion. Feel it, accept the hurt, nurture yourself. Then get busy and look for the lesson or gift. Here are some ideas on how to do this:
- Notice small acts of love and kindness around you and tell yourself that you deserve them.
- Find a nurturing support group or a therapist. My support group was a lifesaving part of my recovery. They reached out regularly, reminded me of who I was and held me in warm regard when I was hurting.
- Take small risks to build your self-esteem like reaching out to make new friends, trying a new hobby or get a new hairstyle.
- Take notes about the good things people say about you and get them out when you are having hard days and need a boost.
LET YOURSELF HEAL
This is a big phase of building self-esteem after divorce.
“Do not distract yourself with dating until you have healed.”
Take time to examine your wounds and let them breathe.
It’s okay to have days where you miss your ex or your past life but recognise that feeling those things and doing something to show your feelings are two different things. Texting him because you are lonely might create havoc in your relationship as co-parents. Badmouthing him when you are angry to his friends or family may create drama for your children or rifts in the relationships you have.
Pause, breathe, and allow yourself to heal.
- Work out regularly. This helps you feel more in control of your situation and feel better about your body. The endorphins released with exercise help improve your mood and a side benefit is better sleep.
- Get support for building self esteem after divorce Ask for help with your kids, take time for yourself, lean on your friends. I have never felt more loved than I did during my divorce. My friends came out of the woodwork.
- Address your baggage. What did you bring to the marriage that needs to be owned? What did you learn that needs to be unpacked? Delay dating again until you have finished this step. This will help you feel more empowered and have clarity about your future choices.
- Reclaim the parts of your identity that you gave up for your spouse. In relationship it is easy to give up on your own personal interests or ignore important whisperings about growth to keep peace.
- Think of three things you did each day to make yourself proud and write them in a journal. Revisit this when you are feeling low.
- Try something new each week that you did not think you could do. I installed a smart thermostat in my home and was so proud of myself. It is amazing what you can learn from YouTube.
- Do something for someone else in need. You become grateful for your own situation and feel good about giving back.
FINAL WORD ABOUT BUILDING SELF ESTEEM AFTER DIVORCE
The benefits of taking the time to heal your self esteem are enormous.
You model confidence and healthy decision making for your children. You create a future for yourself that is in alignment with your true self. You begin to feel a sense of purpose about your life that allows you to move into gratitude and growth instead of living in angry victimhood.
Best of all, you wake up with excitement to start each day and live it to the fullest.