Life as a newly single woman can be painful, unfamiliar, and disorienting – it’s full of unknowns, emotional turmoil, and confusion. But divorce doesn’t have to happen to you. It can happen for you.
Just six weeks after delivering our second child, I looked into my husband’s eyes and knew that my marriage was over. I wouldn’t accept it for many more months, but in that moment I knew.
The thing is, the moment that changes a life is never about that one moment. It’s about 1 million past moments and 1 million future moments.
As a sensitive optimist, hopeless romantic, and fantastical dreamer, I believed in fairytales and happy endings. I approached my life with a sense of naïveté, blissfully overlooking the telltale signs that warned me to make changes. Stuck in a never-ending cycle of cliches that justified what was happening — because marriage is until death do us part — right?
F*ck “forever.” That shit is for fairytales. Your story is just beginning and you’re the one holding the pen! You have the power to change the narrative, claim your freedom, and embrace your new role as a strong, kick-ass woman, living life on your terms. In order to do this you need the right mindset, a plan, information and support!
When you’re starting the process of getting divorced, you may be feeling like your whole world has been flipped upside down. Maybe you feel as if you’ve failed yourself and your family, and that making it through to the other side of this mess is impossible.
But here’s a secret you need to know: you have complete control over how you think and behave during this time. Whether it feels like it right now or not, absolutely everything you need to navigate your divorce with grit and grace is already within you. You just need to learn how to channel and harness these superpowers the right way.
6 steps to focus on that will help guide you towards a successful divorce:
Have a growth mindset.
Reframing how you view your divorce is an essential starting point. Divorce really is an opportunity to have an epic do-over on your life – that is, if you’re willing and wanting to learn how to make a difference for yourself during this challenging time. If you’re able to show up for yourself and work to improve yourself for the future, rather than retreading through the past, you’ll be setting yourself up properly for success. This experience is not happening ‘to’ you – it is happening ‘for’ you! This is about uncoupling, personal success, financial independence and family planning. It is time to heal, learn and evolve because you are powerful, brilliant, beautiful and brave.
Take ownership of your divorce.
It doesn’t really matter how you got here – whether he cheated, you cheated, or the relationship just slipped away slowly. Either way, you’re getting a divorce, and it’s time for you to take ownership for your part in it. By owning up to our own actions, we allow ourselves to move forward, rather than getting stuck in a negative narrative where we envision ourselves as the victim, martyr, or scorned ex-wife. You are none of these things. The shoulda, woulda, coulda, no longer matter. Moving through this experience with integrity and honour respecting yourself and your family means dropping the shame and blame game so that you can stand safely in your truth. You are uncoupling your partnership and committed to your new family dynamic as co-parents.
Whether you like it or not, your divorce is happening. In order to move forward, you need to accept that change is necessary to grow, evolve, and flourish, and it truly can be an opportunity for greatness in your life. You may not feel ready for this, but really, who’s ever ready for massive, life-altering change? It’s okay that you don’t feel ready, but it’s time to accept that it’s happening and get on board. This is your time to become informed, find resources, community and build skills. Claim your value and leverage the results you desire.
Embrace the power of positivity.
Even if you’re far from feeling happy right now, you can still choose to be positive. By viewing this experience in a positive mind frame, you’ll begin to manifest a more positive experience by feeling more confident in your ability to control your own choices, and your ability to reframe the narrative. In most situations, we can usually find a positive outlook, even amidst the worst of scenarios – you just have to work at it. Remember this: True happiness is not the absence of struggle, but rather finding a way through it. Life, like divorce does not get easier – you get stronger.
Turn to mindfulness as a mental resilience.
Without a doubt, the experience of going through your divorce will challenge you constantly. Practicing mindfulness (or, if you prefer, something more spiritual or faith-based) will teach you how to be more aware, focused, and in control of your thoughts and actions. When certain events throughout the divorce process feel triggering or uncomfortable, you’ll know how to return to yourself in the moment and access calming techniques to help you cope. Heal through what you go through. Whatever is coming up for you is meant for you so that you can heal and grow. This in turn becomes a beautiful opportunity to nurture yourself. Reconnect to who you are and what you want so that you can have the courage to live in your authenticity with intention in every moment. This experience shakes up everything and using it as a catalyst for personal discovery allows you to start prioritizing yourself, elevating your energy and confidence so that you start attracting the life you desire according to your inner knowing – all those dreams placed on hold for this or that are no longer an option. Dropping burnout to reclaim your purpose!
And, yes, if you are a mom, your children are going to be just fine.
If you are good they are good. What matters to them is stability, safety and security. What matters to them is that you are a responsive nurturing parent. You don’t have a crystal ball or all the answers and you don’t need to. Be in the moment, be available and do your best. Your children have an opportunity to see a role model who values integrity, self-respect and who has the courage to live a life of happiness. You are still a family, just figuring out a new dynamic as co-parents. The legacy of your family is forever so honour and celebrate everything fabulous about the first chapter so that you can carve out your next family chapter together!
Ready to take the next steps towards a successful divorce? No matter how overwhelmed you might feel right now, it’s absolutely possible to learn to divorce well, and set a positive trajectory for the rest of your life and your family’s future.
Alicia Robertson is the founder and CEO of Lemonade Life, a coaching business that helps women navigate overwhelming life changes such as divorce, loss and career pivots. In the past three years, Alicia has coached over 1,000 women and built a community of over 30,000 people. She has made it her personal mission to crush the stigma of divorce.
Alicia is the author of the Amazon Bestselling book Make Lemonade: Thrive Through Divorce By Transforming Your Life. You can connect with Alicia on Instagram and email@example.com and check out her website for a chance to work with her.
You can also get her free guide on ‘How to Thrive Through Divorce: 5 Game-Changing Tools to ‘Unwife’ with Confidence’ here.