I've been interviewing people about their post-divorce experiences for a project I'm working on. These are some of the principles I've learned through these interviews. In my mind they combine two excellent overarching themes that emerge post-divorce: "How I want to live now," and "How I can avoid future mistakes." Most of the principles apply to both.
1. Figure out who you really are and be yourself. Who you are in a relationship is not always the same as who you are solo. Take time to identify your likes, dislikes preferences, wants and needs. Then be the person you really want to be.
2. Be honest with yourself and others. Sometimes you really have to dig deep to know your truth. Often you know what you honestly think or want, but telling someone else is another matter. Being true to yourself is the best way to live.
3. You cannot live to make someone else happy. No one can make you happy and you cannot make someone else happy. Happiness comes from within when you're living the life that's right for you, not for someone else.
4. A relationship should not feel like it’s killing you. While relationships do require work and effort, if you're the one trying to do it all, you're going to be miserable. If you think your partner is up to no good, he probably is.
5. Trying to fool yourself always backfires. Whether it's about money, security or passion, telling yourself a relationship is right when it's not is doomed to failure.
6. Trust your instincts. Sure it's hard to know what to do when you're suddenly thrust in singledom. Take your time and let your creativity emerge. Whether it's starting a new project or meeting new people, go with your gut.
7. Life is short. Be sure to enjoy it to the max and get the most out of every single day. Figure out how to approach each day with a positive mindset. That's the, "I got this" mindset.
8. You deserve the best. Whether it's your career, your friends or your favorite shoes, if it's not hurting anyone, why shouldn't you have what you want?
9. You can be more independent than you think. Almost every woman I know who's been divorced says this. Set your goals, find your strengths and forge ahead. In other words: "You can do it!"
10. Take care of yourself. No one knows what you need the way you do. Whether it's the amount of sleep you need, your morning run or your favorite coffee, you must make sure you get the things you need. It's how we de-stress.
If you follow each of these principles, you'll be happier now and you'll be well on your way to avoiding future relationship mistakes.