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Recovering Your Self-Esteem

Divorce is most painful for the one who is left, but the decision to leave is no easy one to make, either. Whether it was your decision or not, divorce can leave your self esteem in a puddle. Are you doomed to always choose the wrong partner in life? Is there no one youíre meant to be with? Are you really that difficult to live with? Will you ever fall in love again?

The question of your future relationships should be placed on the shelf next to the lamentations over your failed relationship. At the moment, the only person in the world who matters is you. After a divorce, the first thing that many people must do is recover their self-esteem; therefore, it comes time to think of yourself first.

Take Your Time

The wounds of divorce will not be rushed into healing. Brush off well meaning friends and family who want to set you up on blind dates or drag you out to the pub. No amount of pretending is going to make the pain diminish any faster, and too much drink will only send you further into the depths of depression.

If you feel like staying in bed for a few days, do it. If you want to watch the telly and not be bothered by the phone, itís your prerogative. If you spend an hour or two re-playing old records, looking through photographs, or watching bad movies, take all the time in the world. Divorce is a traumatic event. It deserves a grieving period just as the death of any family member would be given. Your entire way of life is changing in ways you may not be prepared for, and the implications are becoming more obvious to you every day. Itís okay to be sad about it and to express that sadness.

Donít Wallow

Having validated your right to feel sorry for yourself for a few days, it should be said that to do this for weeks or months is not healthy. Human beings need down time but they also need sunshine, fresh air and companionship, as human beings are social in nature. Rejoin the world as slowly as is necessary to maintain comfort, but do rejoin.

Baby Steps

Donít push yourself to rejoin the human race all at once. Find some blank pages and write down everything youíre feeling: the rage, the sadness, or the listlessness, or write down the questions that plague your thoughts. If you write for so long that your hand hurts, take a break and come back to it the next day. But do keep going until youíve loosed everything in you onto the page.

When you are done with your journaling, have a good phone conversation with a good friend or close family member: a long one, an hour or more if you both have the time and just express your sadness.

The next step is a big one: take the steps to get up, bathe, dress, and make yourself presentable. Take a short trip, to the grocery store, for example, or even to the dry cleaners. Do something simple and something you can do by yourself. If you feel more comfortable bringing along a companion, do so. You can work up to going it alone.

Take Care of Yourself

During a divorce, you find yourself suddenly responsible for what once was a 2 person job-single parenting and running a household. These stresses wind you so tightly that the next thing to go awry, be it a broken rubbish sack or a clerk, will cause you to snap. The only way to avoid this is to make a point of taking care of yourself. Get a massage, go to sauna, turn off the phone for the evening, lock your door and read a nonsense book. Enjoy your time by yourself and if you have children, enjoy your extra one on one time with them. This is a turning point and if you take some time out to let yourself heal, it will be a turn for the better.

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