Avoid getting stuck as you heal from divorce.
Many people naively assume that moving on after divorce happens naturally. They believe that somehow after either the decision to divorce is reached or the divorce agreement has been signed you are suddenly free from the past and should be over your divorce.
The truth is the people who think like this have rarely been through a divorce themselves. They don’t know the agony of a failed marriage. They also don’t know how difficult it is to be able to honestly say that your divorce is just part of your past and not a constant presence in your life.
Despite the difficulty, you can truly get over and move on from your divorce and enjoy your new, unmarried life. But it will take more than just time passing or ink drying on some legal documents.
To put your divorce behind you, you’ll need to regularly use these 4 secrets:
1. Have a vision for your life.
Once you know what you want, it’s a whole lot easier to start doing what you must to have that life.
But this isn’t quite as simple or easy as it seems at first. That’s because people who are struggling with getting over their divorce often make two mistakes when they create their vision.
First, they want things the way they were when they were married. This doesn’t necessarily that they want everything like it was, but they want their finances or their time with their children or the help around the house like it was before their divorce.
The second mistake they make is that they focus more on what they don’t want instead of what they do. Now, there is some value in being clear about what won’t work for your life. But, if that’s what you focus on that’s all you’re going to see.
You can avoid both errors. All it takes is a willingness to try out new ideas so you can decide what you do want. Doing so will be incredibly helpful to you putting your divorce behind you.
2. Be honest.
What this means is that you can see past the hurt of your divorce, set aside the blaming and fault-finding and know your part in the end of your marriage. Spending the time to understand your part will make your life easier.
With this knowledge, you’ll know what you need to modify to make your next relationship better. (This knowledge will also help you be a better co-parent.)
Another benefit of being honest with yourself is that you’ll be able to let go of your emotions baggage.
3. Show gratitude.
It’s amazing how your view of the world can shift dramatically when you start to view the world through the lens of thankfulness instead of lack, criticism, and judgment.
Showing gratitude doesn’t mean that you should be thankful for struggling financially or for missing out on being able to kiss your children goodnight every night or your ex’s poor behavior.
What it does mean is that you focus on the positives — your children are healthy and you have a place to call home.
Wayne Dyer put it best when he said, "When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change."
And by showing gratitude, you’ll start seeing the good that’s all around you which will help you put your divorce into your past.
4. Be adaptive.
Divorce introduces HUGE changes that impact nearly every facet of your life. The only way to survive the changes and thrive after your divorce is by being willing to adapt to them.
Adapting to your new situation will require you to accept what has happened and may still be happening, but not to let any of that define you.
Being adaptive means that you’re willing to look for alternative ways to achieve your vision for your future instead of getting (or staying) stuck.
Although using these four secrets will help you put your divorce behind you, you’ll probably discover that you have a difficult time consistently embracing them.
That’s because these are new ways of thinking and behaving when you compare them to what you’ve been doing to simply get through your divorce.
And because they’re new you may need some practice to master them. So be easy with yourself as you’re learning how to move on from your divorce.
You’ll find that as you master these secrets that you’ll naturally be more engaged with your life now and your divorce will become just a part of your past.
Dr. Karen Finn is a divorce coach and divorce survivor herself. You can join her newsletter group for free advice or schedule a FREE 30-minute conversation with Karen directly in her Time Trade calendar.
This article was originally published at The Good Men Project. Reprinted with permission from the author.