5 Ways Divorce Transforms Us for the Better

I recently read this article by Via Rachel Hansen. As a divorce attorney, I often see angry people, hurt people, and sometimes happy people.  So I read this article with interest.
Regardless of how destructive the marriage was or how hurtful the divorce, there is a mixture of pain and relief, fear and excitement, sadness and joy. We can’t help but to be shaped by the experience—but we also have the power to determine how it shapes us.
We have the opportunity to break down old, calcified habits and identities. It is a time to re-evaluate who we are, what we value and what has been holding us back. It is a time to look with detached curiosity at the person we became during our marriage and who we intend to become.
These five actions have kept people clear and at peace while embracing the transformative process:
1.      Cast aside blame.
This is easier said than done. Wrongs have surely been committed. Feelings have been hurt and confidences betrayed. However, one thing is certain: Transformative growth and forward momentum can only occur while looking ahead—not behind. Energy expended on blame cannot bring about a different outcome than has already occurred and only serves to fuel anger.
2.      Forgive yourself.
This has become so commonly spouted that it’s cliché, but truly so powerful. For mistakes made, for being foolish, for children affected and other guilt triggered beliefs—forgive yourself. Guilt and self-deprecation are forms of self-indulgence that allows us to focus on the past and on things that we can no longer control rather than facing what we do have power over and paving the way for the future.
3.      Watching our anger.
Yes, watch it! Trying to extinguish it is fruitless. But, it will halt our growth if we allow it to fester deep within. As we begin to be aware of the seedlings of anger we can watch it with curiosity and consciously decide if it is worth our time.
4.      Gut wrenching self-assessment.
Chances are high that friends and family will lift us up as if we are heroines in a tragedy where our evil ex plays the villain who attempted to slay us. This is helpful during the process of divorce, but during the following time of transformation it is helpful to take honest stock of our own weaknesses.
After all, we are trying to transform into better people, right?
5.       Start living.
Regardless of financial constraints, increased household chores or other limitations, we can all choose to live more fully every day. Notice the smell of an orange peel, the sound of laughter, the warmth of hot shower all upon the background of a new life full of possibilities.
Nothing we read, nothing we do will erase all of the pain. It will surprise us at the most unlikely of moments like a knock on the door in the middle of the night. Accept it without judgment, but don’t clutch it. It is the pain from our experiences that will help fuel the fire of transformation within us. When the pain subsides, then take a deep breath and revel in the experience of being alive.
Feel the exhilaration as a new chapter in life lies open, not yet written. We are free.

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