When we separate or divorce, there is a huge change not only in legal status but in our own self-definition. We define ourselves by our gender, race, religion, marital status, career, parent/child status, even the community in which we live. While we are hopefully always evolving, who we are goes through a big transformation upon a divorce.
In my book, Transcending Divorce: A Guide for Personal Growth and Transformation, I share the story of standing in the vegetable aisle at the supermarket dumbfounded that I just did not know what I liked. I was, as a wife and mother, always buying what my family liked. I was shopping the first weekend for me alone. The beginning stages of divorce is like a kind of purgatory where we are neither married nor divorced, we are lost and now is the opportunity to find ourselves.
Divorce Secret number 4. Divorce is an opportunity to learn Forgiveness and to and get reconnected with spirit.
I remember being in a place during my marriage, where I felt that successful, intellectual, and together people did not need the crutch of religion or God. I was in my late 20’s. I have that naïve superiority feeling that I was in charge of my own life and that other people who needed God were weak.
Sometimes take a “tragedy” for us to ask for help from God? We start seeking a “reason” or “understanding” as to why this all happened. We start begging with God to make things go back to when we were safe, comfortable, naïve, and in love.
It is this period of time when people learn what they are made of. We start asking the bigger questions, like why am I here; what’s my purpose in life; who do I want to be now? We even begin to attract other people who are also asking the same questions, enabling us to find those answers.
While your comfort zone may be gone, but your growth zone has just begun!
The bottom line here is once you were lost and now you are found. If I had to sum up the gift of divorce, I would say this is it in so many ways. The Zen theory of change is that I change not be trying to be something other than I am, I change by being fully aware of how I am. Divorce may be the impetus to change, personal and spiritual growth. Look for those changes and growth opportunities. They are everywhere.
Within the growth spurt of divorce comes something called “forgiveness.” Forgiveness is a spiritual path. It is a release from the prison of your past; a release of resentment and anger. It leaves room for gratitude. Forgiveness must be practiced, because we will continue to have judgments and expectations of our ex, their family, our family, and as a result, there could be disappointments.
How much you can forgive, step into gratitude, accept the reality of your situation, and take personal responsibility for your part in the breakup of the marriage, equates to how much happiness and satisfaction you will feel in your life. Learning to forgive yourself, your ex, even your children and parents is truly a gift of divorce!