Confidence Shattered After Divorce? Reclaim Your Identity and Self-Esteem Now!
There is a heaviness that comes with divorce. Stress. A trauma even. There is a pain that can, for a long time, feel defeating, even in the wake of recovery. It is not uncommon to experience an overwhelming sense of disappointment at oneself and at life. There is also the sadness and grief from the loss of years of companionship. Also, there is the guilt from that nagging thought that you could have done more, or better. Let’s not forget the anger at your spouse, and then at yourself, and then at your spouse again.
All of these often intense and overwhelming emotions (and thoughts) are normal. Every. Single. One.
However, these feelings do not have to define your story or your life in the aftermath of divorce. As you move forward in your recovery, I guarantee you that your grief will not last forever. When it is over, you will be able to find the strength to reclaim your identity, walk in confidence, and boost your self-esteem.
Loss of Identity
Often times in an unhealthy marriage (and throughout the divorce process), it can be easy to lose sight of the person you are. In the marriage, you may have found yourself neglecting (or giving up altogether) certain interests you had prior to marrying. Things like hobbies, career pursuits, even friends may have been pushed aside in an attempt to make room for new hobbies, ambitions, and friends. All these things are those that you shared together with your spouse. All this is in an effort to form a complete, symbiotic relationship with your partner.
Lack of Confidence
There may be a lack of confidence for various reasons. It may be the poor communication boundaries that were all too common during the marriage. It may have been a type of neglect from your spouse that tore your confidence into pieces. The divorce process alone can often break a person’s confidence.
Brutality and bullying tactics are commonly used against one another. However, it happens (and it is uniquely different for each individual), it is not unusual to find yourself lacking confidence. By the end of the process you are questioning every little decision that you once were so sure about.
Similar to the loss of confidence, a loss of self-esteem is likely to happen in an unhealthy marriage. When you lose sight of who you are, and confidence is broken down, self-esteem will also, inevitably take a hit.
In a healthy marriage, each individual is given regular opportunities to pursue personal interests apart from one another. Additionally, those personal interests are shared and enjoyed by both individuals in the marriage. Often what happens in less than healthy marriages is that self-esteem is sacrificed. You abandon your personal interests in order to accommodate the interests of the your spouse.
The Consequences in the Aftermath of Divorce
These conditions - Loss of identity, lack of confidence, and low self-esteem - can each, on their own, have damaging mental and emotional consequences. These affect how others treat you, including your children and any potential, future love interests. They can cause fear – fear of messing up or making mistakes (both socially and professionally), fear of never being able to receive and/or give love again.
Perhaps the largest consequence is that these conditions can inhibit personal and spiritual growth and development. They can hold you back in your divorce recovery.
Strength to Recover from Divorce
So throughout your divorce, the subsequent grief process, and your recovery, how do you arrive at a point where your strength to reclaim identity, walk in confidence, and boost self-esteem is discovered?
As a life coach, specialising in divorce coaching, I am here to assure you that it is possible to reclaim your identity, walk in confidence again, and boost your self-esteem.
First, you must become aware of the truth that divorce is not a punishment. It is, however, a process.
Along with that process comes the ability to establish new habits and practices. These new habits will guide you on the path of reclaiming your identity, walking in confidence, and boosting your self-esteem.
Divorce Grief and Recovery is NOT a Linear Process
Realise that neither divorce nor divorce recovery is a linear process. Although the process does begin with the loss (or death) of someone once loved and admired, the grief, the adjustment, the rebuilding, and the rebirth can happen in intervals. Or they can bounce around several times throughout the process. It is not uncommon to find that with every step forward in gaining ground, there may very well be two steps backward. To learn more about the five stages of the grief cycle, I recommend reading this article by Cruse Bereavement Support. They also have a variety of resources on the effects of grief.
Reclaiming Your Identity, Walking in Confidence, Boosting Your Self-Esteem
Because divorce recovery is not a linear process, I have outlined below ten ideas to get you started on your journey to reclaim your identity, walk in confidence again, and boost your self-esteem. Being a divorce coach, I will be honest with you - some of these are big and challenging. Others are simple. The goal is to choose the ones you can find strength in each day and make the effort.
Ten Ways to Get Started Today
Prioritise things that truly bring you joy. Use a journal to write daily thoughts on what things make you happy. Consider both your past, and your present to do this.
Go back to school. Get that degree you’ve been wanting to get. Or just go back to school for the fun of learning and exploring new fields.
Nurture your creativity. Whether it’s painting, photography or drawing. It may be music, dance, sewing, or acting. Or DIY and crafting, or anything else in the world of fine arts, go and make something beautiful.
Reconnect with friends. I’m sure there is at least one (more than likely a handful) of friends you haven’t seen for a long time. Maybe life just got busy. Maybe they were unintentionally abandoned in your effort to adopt new friends through your ex. Whatever the reason though, now might be a great time to reconnect.
Get into a group. As you pursue old and new hobbies, possibly go back to school, and maybe even tap into your creative powers, is there a group that corresponds with any of these pursuits? A book club. A hiking group. A gym class. Any small group of people with similar interests will provide a platform for you to connect with new people.
Start a Positive Affirmation journal. Write down positive things others say about you each day. This means you will have to take notice of compliments you receive. Take them to heart and write them down. Then read them as often as you need.
Or start a Proud Moments journal. Write 1-3 things you did each day that you are proud about having done.
Share. The process of divorce, grief, and regaining control of your life is long and hard. It helps to have someone you can trust to talk and share the good and the bad, the grief, the turmoil. Even sharing the joy that comes with the victories you experience as you begin to regain your confidence. A trusted friend is helpful and will certainly be a source of encouragement. A trusted professional such as a divorce coach or life coach will encourage, support, and empower you as you move forward in your journey. A professional divorce coach can also serve as a person you can share with in confidence. If this something you beleive you can benefit from, please don't hesitate to book a free call with me.
No hard rebounds. Remain grounded in your healing journey (however long it takes) before pursuing any new love interests. Doing this will give you time to fully recover and regain your confidence. It will establish you as an individual again. Allowing yourself time with give your clarity as to what your boundaries should be. Then, when you do step out into the dating world, you can go out walking in confidence.
Seek out resources. Regarding divorce, divorce grief, and divorce recovery, there are plenty of resources out there on the web. There are also plenty of resources on this site (you can download my free divorce/separation journal here). Additionally, a divorce coach will have several resources to share, and can point you in the write direction in your search. Please don't hesitate to reach out to me if there are any resources you are looking for. I am happy to help.
I am excited about your healing and divorce recovery journey. My goal, among other things, is to
encourage, support, and empower you as you create new habits around the ten suggestions above.
Remember that the person you were before – when you were a wife – was not the only person you were then, and certainly not now. You were also a… (fill in the blank: mother, friend, graduate, professional, teacher, dancer, artist, chef, nature enthusiast, health nut, foodie, traveller, etc.). So as you begin to reclaim your identity, walk in confidence, and boost your self-esteem, identify and stay focused on all those other wonderful qualities you hold.