31 Teeny-Tiny Bits Of Wisdom I Wish I'd Known Before Getting Divorced

The actual advice to get help you get through a divorce.

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While getting divorced is a universally heartbreaking experience even for people in deeply unhappy marriages, the transition from married life to the new and exciting, if often scary, journey that awaits you doesn't have to be paved only with tears. I know, because I learned the hard way that finding hand-picked words of wisdom from someone who's been there and lived to tell about it can make the process of divorcing and healing your old wounds far easier than it might be otherwise.


Here's how the end of my relationship with my now ex-husband went down for me. A little over five years ago, I was sitting on the terrace of my favorite coffee shop, enjoying the sun. I felt simply ... happy. Then my husband of twenty years told me he was leaving out of the blue, and suddenly, I felt like my heart would explode into a million pieces. My life changed at that moment. My dreams vanished, my sense of safety was gone, my mind entered the panic zone, and a terrible dread filled my entire being. Over the weeks that followed, I felt as though I was dying, and everyone around me had their own particular opinion to share about what would happen to me next.


Some of their advice was good, some was bad, and some was simply hurtful. “It usually takes half of the time you were together to get over it." "Usually you need five years to rebuild your life." “Two years in therapy, anti-depressants, and weekly visits,” declared a psychologist. “One man lost; Ten men found,” said one woman as I cried my eyes out. (I wanted to slap her at the time.) Instead of listening to those less-than-helpful tidbits of people who truly had no idea what they were talking about, I compiled a list of those that made a whole lot of good sense.

RELATED: The 4 Behaviors That Cause 90% Of All Divorces

Here are 31 teeny-tiny bits of wisdom I wish I'd known before getting divorced:

1. "Different isn't necessarily bad."

You are going to be fine. Things will never be the same again, and that’s terrifying, but different doesn't mean bad. Different means different, and even though it’s scary right now, different can be amazing.


2. "You are alive, so breathe."

You will be able to breathe again. This pain you feel in your chest, your heart that seems to be shattered in pieces, those are signs that you're alive. You can feel and you have the right to feel, but those feelings don’t have to destroy you.

Photo: Darina Belonogova/Pexels

3. "It won’t be like this forever."

It will take the time it will take for you to feel better. Ten, five, two years ... I can't tell you how long it will take for you, and neither can anyone else. It will take you the time it takes you. There are no rules. But one thing is certain — it doesn't have to ruin your life or feel this way forever.


4. "You will have good days and bad days — and it’s okay."

I imagined feeling miserable until I felt better, but in fact, recovery isn't linear. I'd feel better quickly, then hit a plateau and slowly start to feel better again a few weeks later. The thing about the bad days is that just like the good ones, they don’t last forever. Allow them to come and go.

5. "Your sense of time may feel distorted."

The first few weeks felt like years to me. Surviving for even another minute felt like a challenge. Then things accelerated for no apparent reason, and then they would slow again. Enjoy each moment. The hard ones will pass. The good ones will come more and more. So cherish them.

6. "You don’t have to do this alone."

Reach out to your friends and family. Post on Facebook and get help from perfect strangers. So many people who are willing to help. Accept their offers.

7. "Get professional help."

I understand spending money in these uncertain times is an extra stress factor, but right now is the time to invest in your well-being. You will need emotional, financial, and legal support. You don’t know what you don’t know, you might save money in the long run by getting the appropriate support you need right now.


8. "Your kids will be fine."

As long as you’re okay, your kids will be okay. So many women focus on their kids and their well-being but never take care of themselves. Cliche as it may be, it's simply true that you need to put your oxygen mask on first to be there for your kids.

9. "You're likely to either lose or gain a significant amount of weight."

Somehow your stomach will mess with you. You either won't be able to eat at all, or you'll eat all day and night. That's why it's known as "the divorce diet." Don’t worry, your system will adjust in time.

10. "You are beautiful."

Right now, you feel miserable and ugly but it’s not the truth. You are beautiful, you are amazing, you are worthy, and you are capable of climbing this mountain.

11. "You will find love again."

Maybe not right now. It will come when you want it and when you’re ready. One lost; ten found? It was one lost and so many more than ten found. It was good for my self-esteem to know that I could be desired again. And then, one day, I discovered that I loved myself and that’s when the real magic happens.


12. "Fear is normal."

You may have sleepless nights during which you can practically smell the scent of fear on yourself, but those moments of pure terror about the future are normal. Fear is like a wave that comes and engulfs your whole universe, but then it recedes. When you have to swim in the ocean in the middle of a storm, fighting the waves is exhausting. Sometimes you just have to let the water carry you.

RELATED: 10 Harsh Things I Wish I Had Known Before Getting Divorced

13. "There are no bad emotions."

One moment you will be sad, the next angry, the next hopeful, and so on. Every emotion is short-lived unless you resist it. Don’t punish yourself for feeling the way you feel. You have the right to every single one of your feelings.

14. "Don’t hide from yourself."

It's normal to try calming yourself down by ignoring your emotions. You may want to hyper-focus on something else like work or your kids. You may find yourself wanting to numb the pain with alcohol, but you'll be better off having a good cry and moving on. I remember screaming at the top of my lungs in my car. After that, I was feeling way better and ready to go.


15. "Find nuggets of joy."

Focus on anything that makes you happy. Notice a flower in a beautiful garden or the middle of a concrete pathway. Go dancing even when you don’t feel like it.

16. "Be gentle with yourself."

You are hurting, emotionally and physically. Your body doesn't know the difference between the two, so please, be gentle and don’t blame yourself.

17. "Celebrate the little victories."

At this point, every little victory should be enjoyed and celebrated. I remember carrying a tiny notebook around and every time I did something that made me smile or feel proud, I wrote it down. I've even written things like, "I was able to carry a heavy box on my own" and "I ate at a restaurant by myself."

18. "Things that were easy may be more difficult."

I have been traveling by myself forever. Surprisingly, it was more challenging after the breakup. This will pass. You’re extra sensitive right now, that’s all.


19. "Achieve one thing every day."

It can be quite tempting to stay in bed and do nothing, so choose at least one and a maximum of five things to put on your to-do list every day — and do them. You can even choose tasks as simple as showering and getting dressed.

20. "Stick to the facts."

This was a tip shared with me by one of my best friends as I was trying to understand the "why" of my divorce. Trying to read between the lines won’t help you. The only things you can know are the facts. So stick to those, because the facts are confusing enough as it is without creating more scenarios in your head.

21. "Take care of your body."

Exercise, eat healthy foods, drink water, avoid alcohol and coffee, and get massages when and if you can, as your body is under a lot of stress during this time. Respect the fact that you may need some extra self-care. But even though you might be craving comfort food, this is the time you want to stay away from sweets and processed foods.

22. "Every song is a time bomb waiting to explode."

There is a chance you will cry listening to music anywhere. Somehow, music speaks directly to the heart and makes you feel things you thought were over and done. Just remember to stop your car before bawling full out, or be extra careful about what you listen to while driving for a while.


23. "Don’t be scared of feeling better."

I felt a lot better by the end of the first nine weeks. Everyone was astonished. Some of my "friends" told me to expect a relapse into sadness, but it NEVER happened. Of course, there were ups and downs, but it was never as bad as it was in those first weeks. I did what I had to do to feel better. People were telling me to be cautious because of their fear. It will take you the time you need to recover, and if you feel better sooner than you expected to, celebrate that instead of worrying about it.

24. "Get rid of those who don’t support you."

You don’t have time or energy for negative people. If someone isn't bringing joy or support into your life, you don’t need them there. My mom was, unfortunately, one of those people for me, and I had to ask her to be more positive or at least give me some space until I felt better. She did, and we still love each other today.

RELATED: Top 10 Reasons Why Divorce Is So Common These Days

25. "Some of your friends might disappoint you."

Unfortunately, people react to divorce through the lens of their perceptions, and some old friends were either unsupportive or even turned their backs on me entirely. It hurts, but it’s also fine. For each of those people, an amazing new person popped into my life. You will manifest your fabulous new tribe.


26. "It’s not only in your mind."

No matter what others say, it’s not all in your brain. The anxiety, the heartbreak, and the gut-wrenching fear run throughout your body. You can’t use only logic to change those. You need to work on them on the somatic level and move the stress energy away to be able to move on.

27. "Talk to yourself."

Have conversations with yourself. Acknowledge your feelings, journal what you’re experiencing, or talk to your reflection in the mirror. For the next few months, be your own best friend. Be there for you.

Photo: Arina Krasnikova/Pexels


28. "Track your progress."

Healing is not linear. It’s easy to lose track of the ups and downs, so it’s important to recognize that even though you'll experience some setbacks, you are going forward in the right direction.

29. "Let go of what you cannot change."

If you can’t change the situation, let it go. The faster you let go, the faster you can rebuild.

30. "This is the time to reinvent yourself."

You may have held onto this relationship for dear life for quite a while. If so, it requires a lot of energy from you. Now that there's nothing to lose, it's time to rebuild yourself, and since you’re rebuilding from the ground up, you may as well become the best you possible.

31. "Smile."

You may want to cry, but smile sometimes anyway. It’s hard, I know, but every single smile will bring you closer to happiness again. The truth of the matter is that didn't take me years to get over my divorce. It only took me:

  • 31 days to breathe again.
  • 9 weeks to be fully back on my feet.
  • 24 months to rebuild my life and move on.

So take these words of wisdom and let them empower you to create a post-divorce life that's filled with an unlimited amount of joy and happiness.

RELATED: The Month Most People Get Divorced — And Why

Fabienne Slama is a Certified Core Energy Coach and Hypnotherapist who has been featured on the Huffington Post, MSN, Medium, and more.