Divorce can feel like a nuclear fall-out. Everything that you knew blows up in your face, and you’re left to deal with shattered self-esteem, financial insecurity, and an unknown future.

So, when you mix those life events with the heartbreak, stress, and loss of confidence that many experience during divorce, it can all seem like a terrible nightmare, wondering if you’ll be stable or happy again.

That’s a lot of baggage to handle for even the strongest of us. Even when hard feelings linger, remember that not all of divorce’s after-effects are negative. For many, divorce can actually be a blessing in disguise.

Divorce gave you the gift to really learn about yourself.

Many of us tend to view divorce as a loss. The years we spent throwing ourselves into the roles of spouses and making sacrifices seem to be for nothing when the marriage ends. We may struggle with finding a new identify and purpose in our lives.

While this loss seems devastating at first, divorce can actually be the gift you never though you needed. You now have the chance to really discover the true you.

As you depart from the chapter in your life where you were somebody’s spouse, you now have chance to look within. Being on your own will gives you the opportunity to examine yourself in a way that is difficult if not impossible when coupled. Being alone nudges you to ask the hard questions:

What do I want my new life to be like?

What current obstacles keep me from achieving that life?

What changes must I make to have the future and healthy relationships I want?

Now that you have the ability to look at your life through a different lenses, you have the gift of better understanding yourself—knowing what you want, understanding your triggers and obstacles, and clearly identifying deal-breakers so that you can prevent any unhealthy patterns and dynamics that occurred previously.

Divorce made you a survivor. And survivors can do anything.

Divorce is considered one of the most stressful and traumatic events in life—ranking with death of a loved one, sickness, and unemployment.  While most of us wouldn’t wish these events on anyone, consider this: because you made it through this trauma, you are a survivor.

We don’t give ourselves enough credit for manage divorce. Think of all the incredible things you accomplished during that time. You navigated the legal labyrinth. You held your head up high even during your most painful, heart-breaking moments.  You continued to live and work and carried on with grace despite the fact you were going through a mess.

If that isn’t facing your fears and proving you can do anything, I don’t know what is. You demonstrated to yourself that nothing is insurmountable for you as you continue to move on with your life. Remember these things the next time you are hard on yourself.

Second chances in life are rare. Take the one that divorce gives you.

When we feel devastated, wondering if we’ll ever be able to move on after divorce, it is easy to forget that we are actually given a second chance. It can be difficult to regard divorce as a second chance when we are overwhelmed and hurt,  but remember the opportunities that divorce has given you.

Whether you had wanted it or not, divorce allows you a “do-over” with your life. It gives you opportunities you never thought possible: being happy again, being independent and answering only to yourself, growing and challenging yourself unlike ever before, understanding yourself, and defining life and happiness on your own terms.

It’s not to say that accomplishing these things within a marriage is impossible, but life after divorce accelerates this opportunity, pulling you out of your comfort zone.

So, even if the divorce grief and anger are still there, remember that a gift hides within them. You are a survivor who can do anything. You now have this incredible power of introspection that can serve as a guide if you let it. And the end of your marriage has given you second chance at life that many others long for but may never receive. Embrace these divorce blessings and gifts. Your new life is waiting.