3 Things I Would Do Differently After Divorce
Live and learn. It is the only way we can do better is when we know better. Isn't that the truth! I can't say that I regret much in my life; instead, I choose to see the silver linings, I decide to get curious, I ask myself, "what is this teaching me?" But there are things I would do differently now that I do know better. Here is my top 3 list.
I WOULD STOP LOOKING FOR LOVE.
Oh, this is a biggie. I would stop looking for love in general, but I would stop looking for love in all the wrong places. It wasn't long after my ex-husband, and I separated that I sought out love, in friends, in toxic situations, on dating websites; the bottom line was that I was lonely and scared and longed to feel better. I hadn't allowed myself to be alone ever in my life, so this unfamiliar road was unbearable at times. I accepted mediocre company because having someone around was better than having no one in my mind. The problem was; I looked everywhere outside of myself for love and, as I continued this pattern, I was experienced so many disappointments throughout the years, not understanding why these people weren't filling me up with love but rather leaving me feeling drained, insignificant, and hurt. I knew I needed to make a massive shift if I wanted to feel better.
I realized I was giving my power away every day by accepting less than what I truly deserved. I gave my power away when I said yes to dates that I didn't want to go on, but it meant that I didn't need to spend another dinner alone. I gave my power away when I put myself in situations that didn't feel good, yet I silenced my voice because I didn't want to make others uncomfortable.
The enormous shift that occurred was within me! I began surrounding myself with people who inspire me to be a better version of myself. I began to cultivate a loving relationship with MYSELF. When I stopped searching externally for love and shifted my focus on the things I could do to love myself more, my entire world and experiences changed overnight. I cultivated a daily practise of self-care and self-love, alleviating my need for external validation, love, answers; I became aware that I am all of those things independent of anyone else. When I realized that I could create my feelings of love from within, the game changed; I became unstoppable! I invite you to stop looking for love anywhere outside yourself. The most important relationship you will ever cultivate and grow is the one with YOU, and you have everything you need within you to ensure that it is a kind, loving, and compassionate one.
I WOULD FOCUS ON WHAT IS WITHIN MY CONTROL.
Focusing on what we cannot control is detrimental to our overall health, wellbeing, and happiness. Again, we give our power away when consumed by what others say, do, think, and feel; this leaves us in an incredibly disempowered state.
For the longest time after my divorce, all I could think about was the choices my ex-husband was making, and if I didn't agree with those choices, and they weren't in alignment with my values, I would allow myself to feel enraged. I would permit my mind to wander into dark territory, enveloped with anger, rage, disappointment, fear, and hurt. I began to try to control things externally rather than take a deep look within and address the heaviness of my emotions and become aware of their root cause so I could begin to shift internally.
Here's the thing, the only thing we are ever in control of is ourselves; our thoughts, feelings, behaviours, choices, and values, NOTHING ELSE. Bring the focus back to yourself; everything will feel so much better when you are empowered, knowing that you can create a powerful and meaningful life. - We can't do that when we are focused on others.
One of the tools that help me stay the course and focus on what I can control is the Serenity Prayer. Now, I am not a religious person; if you are, that's great. I do, however, have strong faith and belief in a higher source of power greater than myself. I also believe in asking for help when it is needed. Whenever I found myself focused on others rather than myself, I would recite the Serenity Prayer. Feel free to make adjustments to suit what you need at this moment.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
WORK ON MY MINDSET
I believe that our mindset is everything! In my opinion, everything starts with a thought; this thought leads to an emotion, the emotion causes us to behave a certain way, and there are most certainly always consequences to our actions. After divorce, I let my mind run wild and was entertained daily with favourite reruns of my past. I use the term favourite here quite loosely; in reality, I was stuck. I played the most traumatic and hurtful moments on repeat like a broken record. It was almost as if permitting myself to let these go would mean that all of the hurt was for nothing, meaningless. My mindset was something that needed some serious work. As a yoga student for over ten years and now yoga teacher, I wholeheartedly believe that everything is energy, everything is connected; mind, body, and soul. I knew that if I made some changes to my mindset and how I was choosing to perceive things, it would have a ripple effect across the scope of my life.
One of the most enlightening books that I read that had a profound impact on how I perceived things is, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. He gifts us a practical guide to personal freedom; if you haven't read this book, I highly recommend it. Don writes about the four agreements: be impeccable with your word, don't take anything personally, don't make assumptions, and always do your best. These became promises that I made to myself and became a part of my daily self-care practice in shifting my mindset.
I want to invite you to get curious about your thoughts. Are they serving you? Are they helping or harming? Can you explore a way to find a better-feeling idea? Curiosity helped me change my mindset; curiosity without judgment, without attachment to what came up at the moment—just pure witnessing of thoughts and deciding if they were beneficial or not. So when I found myself thinking about something from the past, or something my ex-husband emailed me, I got comfortable sitting with my thoughts and CHOOSING better if it wasn't serving me. I realized I didn't have to take things so darn personally; what others say and do is a reflection of them, not me and, I found so much freedom in that itself. Free your mind and, you will free yourself.