When we become afraid, it is our body telling us something bad is about to happen. Our brain releases a stress hormone called Serotonin that actually prevents injury to our vital organs in case we experience physical trauma. This hormone is what gives us that physical reaction of feeling sick to our stomach, not wanting to move, and not being able to think clearly. If you think about it, fear is an amazing gift that can actually keep us alive.
But what about the fear we experience during a life-altering event like divorce? Is our life really threatened? Do our vital organs really need protecting from trauma? Of course not! The fear you are feeling is because you don’t know what is coming next, you are afraid of the unknown, and more importantly, you don’t know if you can do it all by yourself.
But let me tell you something, my friends:
Fear = Change!
And change is always good. Change means your life is about to get really awesome. That fear is putting you in an uncomfortable place for a reason. (Being uncomfortable sucks, doesn’t it?) So whenever I feel afraid, I like to tackle it head-on. I will take out my journal and write down everything I’m afraid of, and then I will talk back at those fears and give them a smack-down. Finally, I make a weekly action plan as to how I promise to make changes – no matter how small that change might be.
I’m gonna give you an example of what that might look like, using my own personal divorce fears that I had. And then I will share with you what really happened, to prove to you that none of my fears actually came true.
1) I am afraid that my children are going to be traumatized
Smack-down: I have so much love to give to these kids, and their dad loves them too. While it hurts them now, one day they will understand why the marriage had to end. They will no longer see us fight and witness an unloving marriage. I am the adult and I know what’s better for them in the long run.
Action plan: This week I will find a book to read about the positive effects of divorce on children.
What really happened: To this day, my kids are thriving, happy people. Not too long ago my oldest son said to me, “Mom, I’m really happy that you’re happy and that Dad is happy. You guys are SO different, I really get it now.” (He’s only 11, by the way).
2) I am afraid that I will never find a place to live or much less afford a place on my own
Smack-down: There are so many housing options and I just need to be patient. I have some savings money tucked away, and I have a great job that will allow me to afford it.
Action plan: This week I will make a 6 month budget for everything I need. I will also visualize what my place looks like, and I trust it will come to me.
What really happened: I found a great house that my kids loved. While it was small and they had to share a room, I met amazing neighbors AND my future husband who lived around the corner. Money was definitely tight, but for the first time in my life, I learned how to save money and spend it wisely. It was the greatest lesson I could have learned.
(I had a ton more fears, but you get the point…)