How to get your self-worth back after a divorce?

Updated: Dec 1

When your "happily ever after" suddenly threatens to turn into a divorce, you feel dejected. The very ground upon which you built your personal world seems to shake.

How could this happen?

How did the transition from "It's only you, forever" to filing the divorce papers happen so swiftly?

What did I do to deserve this?

Did I MAKE it happen?

These are the questions that go through your mind as you rummage to find the answer, forgetting that your self-worth is taking a hit in the process.

Most people, especially Indian women, are taught to believe that if anything goes wrong in their marriage, they must do whatever they can to fix it, even if it means degrading their self-esteem to do so. They also believe the aftermath of a divorce is much more painful and harder to cope with under such circumstances.

Low self-esteem and a warped sense of self-worth aren't uncommon in women after they suffer a divorce. Depending largely on the relationship to feed their inner self, they forget that they are a separate individual and aren't only defined by the labels like "wife" that society gave them.

So let's dive into this extremely important topic to see how you, as a recently or about-to-be divorced woman, can get your confidence and self-esteem back.

1. Remember who you are.

And we don't just mean your name or your profession. It's very easy to let yourself go and lose yourself in marriage. You begin deriving so much satisfaction and self-worth from your spouse that it seems impossible to think of yourself as a separate being from him.

But you are. Remember you are your OWN person, first and foremost. Before being a wife, a mother, and even a daughter, you are an individual soul on an independent journey and you have specific needs. That's what makes you unique. And nobody can take that away. And if you are to successfully emerge from your divorce as unscathed as possible, you MUST believe and know that.

2. Divorce is not the end of the line.

Don't see your divorce in an overtly nasty light. Sure, it was a shock when it happens. Yes, you didn't want it to happen. We understand and sympathize. But there is a different way to look at this scenario.

Why don't you look at it as an opportunity?

You see, anything that comes to an end usually does so because it has run its course. Maybe your relationship was a happy one for a time and you grieve that and it's okay to remember the good times. That's how our mind works - we crave the good always and forget the bad. But it ended because it needed to. That's not necessarily a bad thing. It doesn't need to be negative at all. Divorce is a diversion, not necessarily the end of the road. Agree?

You can decide to view it as a new beginning instead of an old ending. That'd help more than you know.

3. Don't bottle it up.

Bottling your emotions is a sworn enemy of your self-esteem. Because anything that you keep pushing down eventually pushes back. And it's not a pretty sight when that happens.

So instead of avoiding the situation, meet it head-on. Our fears grow in the dark when we hide them and evaporate when we bring them to light. Face them and you will realise, it's just a thought that was holding you back. Look into your relationship with as unscrutinising a lens as possible. And grieve what you need to. All the happy moments, the beautiful declarations, the peaceful times that you spent together - allow yourself to feel the pain of those memories. We as humans are meant to experience a variety of emotions. So feels your pains. Allow them to surface and release them. Holding it inside only makes it grow.

A relationship can end in a matter of a few minutes. But just because someone says "it's over" doesn't make it so. And to completely heal from the trauma that your heart faced, you must allow it to feel the emotions keenly.

4. Head over Heart

Now, just because you've allowed yourself the opportunity to grieve, for your self-worth's sake, doesn't mean you let emotions drive you. Divorce is painful. The memories are even more so. Going through this path of divorce and separation is not for faint-hearted. But holding resentment or going back into a relationship that wasn't serving you just because you miss the good times, will set you back. Stop checking their profile and statuses immediately. Find a life for yourself.

Keep your calm. Keep your cool. It's difficult but this is not only a transition but also a learning curve. It's here to teach you self-control and self-worth. And it'd be good for you long term if you allow this moment to teach you what it needs to. And then go about your new path.

5. Seek help.

Divorces are heartbreaking. And even more so if you are facing it alone. Because you don't need to, you know? There are people out there who want to help you through this difficult time. Let them. Allow them.

Talk to someone you trust. Pour it all out and empty your heart of all the things you've been holding back. And if you don't want to talk to anyone in your family for the fear of being judged, talk to a professional.

A divorce therapist and divorce recovery coach can help more than you allow. Because at this stage of your life, you need to make sure there is nothing left inside that can fester into something troublesome later on.

Your self-worth and esteem, as we just saw, are not something that's defined by your spouse or the state of your marriage. It's defined by who YOU are, as an individual. So don't let anyone or anything tell you otherwise. Help is always at hand, though. You need only ask. So hold your head high, honey, because the best is yet to come. And we'll make sure you are ready for it when it does!

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