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Becoming The Person You Want To Be

“In any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or step back into safety.”

- Abraham Maslow

This is a unique opportunity. Divorce is often a major catalyst for change in a person’s life. While it’s undoubtedly a painful experience to go through, it can bring with it a great deal of personal growth. No, you didn’t get married with divorce in mind, but as you move through waves of coping and healing, divorce can also be a bridge to becoming the person you want to be. 

If you now find yourself asking what went wrong, take this opportunity to rediscover what you value and what is important to you. It’s time to make some changes and adapt to your new reality. How you do it is up to you.

Story

“For me, getting divorced was something I knew I had to do. I didn’t even totally understand why at the time I made the decision; it was a profound feeling and I just knew I couldn’t continue in my life the way I had been going. I needed to move forward in a new way like I never had before. It was scary to leave my marriage of 14 years, but I did it, and lo and behold, I landed. The earth didn’t explode and I didn’t find myself in a pit of misery and despair forever and ever! It was painful and hard to go through a process even though I knew, on some intuitive level, I needed to do it. And now I feel free, creative, loving, giving, thriving in new ways. I have lost friends, but also made new ones. My ex and I are transitioning to a new relationship with each other that is based on respectfully co-parenting. I’ve realized that life has many chapters and I’m grateful, in many ways, for the chapters that included my marriage. And now I’m excited to see what my future life chapters will hold.”

Laura

Take this opportunity

A significant step to becoming the person you want to be is gaining awareness of who you really are when you are living as your best version of *you*. Self-reflection is the process of stepping back and analyzing what you’ve experienced. Even if you didn’t instigate the divorce, don’t regard yourself as a victim; this mentality doesn’t serve you. And if you did instigate the divorce, step up and take responsibility. This doesn’t mean vilifying yourself. It means taking time to acknowledge your actions and understand why you chose to leave. Divorce is a chance to begin to understand yourself – your needs, habits, patterns – in new ways and change some of the things you didn’t like about how you showed up in your previous relationship.

Move forward with purpose

Self-reflection can help you realize which things you need to change to avoid suffering the same grief in the future. Sitting down and reflecting on the past also allows you to notice negative patterns. When you start to introspect on what went wrong, you become more self-aware, which gives you insight and a better understanding of the situation and why it happened. This knowledge usually brings with it the desire to make changes, whether big or small, for the better. 

Turn and face the change

Change is terrifying, particularly if you were mostly comfortable in your relationship. It’s uncomfortable and unnerving because as humans we seek safety, and change can make us feel vulnerable. Making the time to dig deeper and practice resiliency in the face of change helps you to adapt more successfully. Self-reflection can open your eyes to why these changes need to happen. You’ll gain a better understanding of your emotions, strengths, weaknesses, and personal beliefs.

Take action

Although change starts with self-reflection, it takes action to bring it about. Once you’ve identified the areas you want to work on, start to build a path for how you’ll get there. 

  • Gain confidence
    Walk the walk, and push your comfort zones. Work on changing your body language using a mirror, and then practice what you’ve learned in your next presentation at work or night out with friends.

  • Set boundaries
    Practice saying no to friends or family members who don’t respect your boundaries. Rehearse how you communicate your limits to that person so you’re comfortable having the conversation.

  • Be less critical
    Often we’re critical of others when we’re not content with ourselves. Pursue your passions. Take a class doing something you love. Start a gratitude journal to write down the things you’re thankful for.

Remember that change doesn’t happen overnight. The process can be messy and imperfect. Allow yourself to feel whatever it is you need to feel. Don’t look away. It’s okay to take it head-on.

Surround yourself with positivity

You become like the people you spend time with. If you’re actively making changes in your life, curtailing unhealthy behaviors, setting boundaries, or improving your relationships, the people around you matter. If you have friends who encourage bad habits, don’t respect your boundaries, or interact in unhealthy ways, now is the time to limit those relationships. Instead, surround yourself with people who make you feel happy and relaxed, people whose positive qualities you admire, who model healthy relationships, and encourage you in your self-improvement efforts.

Take the next step

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