Divorce is one of the most stressful things in life. It is like a death. Death of your marriage, your hopes, your dreams, your goals and the life you thought you were building. From making the decision to divorce, to signing the paperwork, it can be very taxing on the mind and the spirit.
At the end of Divorce, some people easily pick up where they left off and move on as if nothing ever happened. I admire those people. Unfortunately, I was not one of those people. While I felt a sense of relief that the process was over and finally finished, I felt like I had the worst hangover I’d ever had. One that lasted for months and no amount of Advil would cure.
I was sad. I was tired. I was grieving. I was overwhelmed with thoughts of how I was going to put my life back together. I was unsure of what it would look like even though I knew exactly what I wanted it to look like. No matter how hard I tried, things just didn’t seem to fall into place. I would take two steps forward only to fall back one.
This went on for a while. I was moving forward but at the end of the day the usual worries would creep back in. I am a type A personality. I want what I want when I want it. I wanted to be done with all of this and back on track. I wanted it so badly it was all I could think about.
Truth be told, my confidence had been demolished. My self-worth was in the toilet. I was embarrassed that I wasn’t where I thought I should be. I kept worrying, unable to see the strides I was making. Friends and family tried to prop me up with encouragement, but I didn’t really hear them. I preferred to listen to myself. The negative voice inside my head. I had made too much room for that voice it had taken over. I was failing to launch, which is a very hard pill for a type A to swallow.
I was going in circles. I didn’t share how I was feeling with many people. I felt like if I talked it about it, it would only make it worse and give it life not realizing I was breathing life into it every single night. During the day I’d put on a brave face. I’d smile even though the smile wasn’t real. I’d try to stay positive, but it became harder and harder. It was wearing on me.
One day one of my dear friends sat me down and said “You can only look at a problem for so long. If you keep looking at it, eventually you will have more problems instead of the things you want and deserve in life. It’s time to move on. We love you and cannot continue to watch you do this to yourself.”
For whatever reason, I heard him that day. I remember asking, “When did I become Charlie Brown?” I was picturing poor Charlie. Every time he went to kick the football and his sister would grab it at the last minute, he’d miss it and fall down. Every. Single. Time.
I went home and really thought about what my friend had said, as well as poor Charlie Brown. Soon it came to me. I realized it didn’t matter that the ball was being taken away. What mattered was Charlie continued to try and believed that one day, the ball wouldn’t be taken away and he’d actually get to kick it. He wasn’t angry with his sister. He did not quit. He kept trying.
I know it sounds simple but guess what, life is actually pretty simple. It’s not as complicated as we often make it. We do it to ourselves by over thinking various things in our life. We create our own roadblocks. When you start over thinking things, it creates worry and doubt. Soon, worry and doubt take up too much space in your head, holding you back. Worry and doubt can take up so much space that there is no room for the good thoughts.
We aren’t meant to spend our time looking back. It’s important to a certain extent so that we can learn from our mistakes but more of our time needs to be spent looking forward. Looking forward to the things in life that make us happy. That excite us. That propel us towards the life we want. You just have to keep trying. Own your own happiness as it is your responsibility and no one else’s. Happiness is an inside job. It comes from within.
When you have that “aha moment”, you begin to let go of the past and move towards the future. You start clearing out the negative thoughts so that the good thoughts have room to grow. It’s been about a year and a half since I had that conversation with my friend and now when I look back, I see how far I have come. I don’t worry about my future anymore because I am creating it. I don’t feel the pain of the loss anymore, I feel the hope of the future and what it will bring. When I smile, it is genuine and comes from within.
When working with clients, I lay the groundwork that we will not focus on the past. We will dip into the past to acknowledge what has brought you to this point, but that’s it. In doing so, this allows us to focus on the future. Envisioning what your future life looks like and how we’re going to get there. Creating the steps together to move forward. Together, we design your new life the way you want it to be, forgiving ourselves for our mistakes and learning so that history does not repeat itself.
The past is not a good place to live. The past provides lessons but does not dictate your future. The future is where it’s at. It’s where your happiness lives. Take steps forward and go get it!