Aiming your focus on the positive side of divorce can be a very difficult thing to do.
I know, because I’ve been there.
Even though I was the one who filed the papers after my ex-husband had left to pursue his new life with his new partner — it took me more than two years to do it. Even though I knew he wouldn’t be coming back — nor did I want him back (it was a severely toxic relationship).
Still, going through the process made me feel as if I was a failure. As if it was completely my fault that the relationship didn’t work out. As if no-one would ever be interested in me again (I was 40, after all). As if I had to carry the burden of shame I felt I gave my parents because they had such a loser of a child (seriously).
These were just added confirmations as to why I shouldn’t even like myself.
But there are always good things that can come out of darkness.
The depth of despair I felt at my lowest point ended up giving me the courage to let go of what I couldn’t change and it was one of the most rewarding things that moved me forward into self love.
Care vs Love
During and after my divorce, I had to learn how to take care of me, because the focus was no longer on my ex. And that was very hard work, because I didn’t like me at that time.
And, like many, I used to confuse self care with self love. Self care is taking the time to go and have a massage, a long hot bath, read a book, go to the spa. Self love is a feeling, a state of being that most of us don’t feel.
If you look in the mirror and more often than not see flaws, if you put the needs and wants of others before your own, if you’re a perfectionist or if you don’t consistently feel joyful about life, then you don’t consistently feel self love — yet!
Below are 7 easy self love tips to help you on the journey of rediscovering your joy after divorce.
You need to move your body. Our bodies are made to move and the more you do so, the easier it is to feel better about yourself. And I don’t mean spending hours pumping iron or on the cross trainer at the gym. This can be as simple as a 30-minute walk in the park or dancing in your bedroom to your favourite songs. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you move. Just as you move through the process of divorce, you have to move your body to get through it.
If you had a car that ran with a diesel engine, you wouldn’t think about filling it with unleaded petrol (gas) or vice versa. It’s the same with your body — it only understands nutrients that come from Mother Earth herself, not processed junk that comes in plastic, tins or boxes. If you eat like crap, you’ll feel like crap, which is exactly what you don’t need when you’re learning to live life again on your own.
#3: Turn off the TV
Stop watching the news. And reality TV shows. They only cause you feel fear or judge other humans. It’s a complete waste of energy for things you can’t control.
#4: Alone time
Learn to enjoy spending time on your own. You’re going to be spending a lot more time with yourself, so the more you act like your own best friend, the easier it will be to move on with your life.
#5: Have fun
As much as possible. It creates joyful feelings. The last time I was depressed, I used to go for a walk in the park on sunny days and watch the children and dogs playing… they live with complete abandon, just enjoying the moment. If you’ve forgotten how to have fun, watching children and dogs is a good place to start.
#6: Be (in) nature
Take your shoes off in the park and feel the grass beneath your feet. If you’re lucky enough to live by a lake or on the coast, sit at the water’s edge and just breath. Or even if you’re in a concrete jungle, find a quiet spot and feel the sun on your face or sit underneath the shade of a tree. Nature offers us a sense of calm and peace because we are also nature.
I’m also a reflexologist and 98% of the people I’ve treated over the course of almost 10 years have not been aware of how to breathe properly. Breathing from the top of our chests has become normal in a world where we are constantly on high alert and living with more stress by the day. Learning how to breathe from deep in the belly (where your diaphragm resides) will help you to feel more calm, relaxed and connected with your true self. This is a feeling that, if done on a daily basis, will keep you embodied in the knowing that everything has its purpose and that you will be more than alright in the end.
In peace, health and love,