Your misery is the result of 4 separate emotions. Deal with them separately to get yourself unstuck.
Divorce is an upheaval of all that was – all that made your life make sense. The misery that comes with all the change is profound, but there is hope.
Staying stuck feeling miserable is optional.
You can choose to emerge from your misery by understanding what misery is and then doing something about it.
Misery is “a SOS” from your soul. It’s a result of feeling Alone, Stifled, Overwhelmed and Scared. Taken on their own, each of these emotions is challenging. When you experience them all at once, the result is soul-crushing despair.
However, your situation isn’t hopeless. The secret to getting out of the muck of misery is to deal with each of these four emotions separately.
The following simple tips will help you work through your feelings of being alone, stifled, overwhelmed and scared so you can get unstuck and feel better:
You may have been alone during your marriage, but being alone is entirely different when you’re divorced. This alone is the result of you coming to terms with the new order of things in your life. Alone means more than being without your ex. Alone can also mean freedom – freedom to do things your way, to make your own decisions, even to parent as you see fit. By focusing on your independence and how it allows you to create your new life, you’ll discover that you start to feel self-confident. You’ll even begin to enjoy being by yourself so you can do things that nourish your mind, body and soul.
Divorce brings all kinds of changes in how you live. Now you’ve got less money available, rules about when you parent, and maybe even a change of residence. These are big changes you’re facing. On the surface you might see your life as less than it was. But this superficial view is keeping you trapped. Look deeper and you’ll realize you’ve still got some choices – even if they’re decisions between alternatives you don’t like. When you have the freedom of choice, you can never be truly trapped. (Don’t believe me? Check out Viktor Frankl’s classic Man’s Search For Meaning.)
During your marriage, you and your ex chose the divide-and-conquer tactic for getting chores done, taking care of your family, and earning enough income. Now you get to do it all. That’s a lot of responsibility. Then, you have things you must do to complete the legal process of divorce. This is probably unfamiliar territory and figuring out how to meet the demands of the legal process on top of trying to keep your life together is understandably overwhelming. However, it just takes a bit of self-care, organization and a willingness to ask for help to feel more in control.
Change is scary. You might be feeling anxious because of all the losses you’ve suffered, or because of what you’re having to do to get your life back on track or even because you don’t know what the future holds for you. And you might simply be terrified by all of it! At the root of all these fears is negative thinking that changes your situation into a terrifying horror story. When you’re scared, the best thing for you to do is take 10 deep breaths and ask yourself some positive “what if” questions. These questions will redirect your thoughts to the positive possibilities and aim you toward taking the necessary actions to make your life better and get you unstuck.
By putting these simple tips into daily practice, you’ll soon find yourself moving toward what you want in your life instead of feeling miserable about what isn’t there anymore. You’ll recognize that although you still feel some pain and grief about your divorce, you aren’t consumed by it.
And, don’t worry if you do feel miserable from time to time after you start feeling better. It’s normal to feel like you’re going backwards every now and again.
Although it will be a bit unfamiliar at first to shift your thinking and actions to one of responding positively to “a SOS” from your soul, the more you practice taking care of yourself, looking for solutions and changing your thoughts to positive “what if’s” the less miserable you’ll feel.