I’m a lot like you. The details of our experiences may differ, but we’ve all suffered the same sting of divorce. Each of us carries our own particular brand of pain. Some plod along carrying the low-lying emotions for a few months while others bear the weight for years.
My 17-year marriage met its end in the fall of 2009, but I was aware of that no-turning-back feeling gurgling deep in my gut before then, in August of the same year. I couldn’t believe that I was going to be divorced. What had I done so horribly wrong? I compared myself to countless other women whose marriages seemed so fairytale perfect. I was eyeballs deep in a spiral of despondency with no idea how to set things straight. Sound familiar?
Once my ex and I decided we couldn’t repair the relationship, our divorce process lasted four years. We burned through four divorce lawyers, everyone’s “helpful” advice and much more money than I care to mention.
I remember at one point wishing there was a checkbox quiz that could help me decide if getting divorced was even the right decision. It would say, “Carey! Since you answered yes to 8 out of 10 of these questions you should definitely get divorced!” Then it would prescribe the remedy. My solution would be drawn out clearly and precisely so I wouldn’t have to question myself or deal with the worry that I was ruining my family, screwing up my kids, or going to end up alone forever. Obviously, things weren’t so easy.
I began rebuilding my life again and in 2013 I became a business owner. I started Tournesol Wellness with a mission to help people who were stuck in similar ruts. At Tournesol I established a self-empowerment methodology called The Success Alchemy. The Success Alchemy combines frontier science and ancient wisdom to provide personalized roadmaps for physical and emotional success.
Back in 2009, I wished desperately for a roadmap, a guide to show me how to feel better and be stronger every day. There were so many times I didn’t want to have to be the strong one. I wondered where the heck was my savior? Where was my knight in shining armor to rescue me and make it all better? There was none. I had to learn to rely on myself.
It’s been 9.5 years since my ex and I separated. Looking back, I’m shocked at how quickly the time has passed. I am amazed at my growth and am stronger than I’ve ever been. Not that I have zero growing left to do. Absolutely not. I learn new and sometimes painful lessons every day, but I’m much better at predicting them, they aren’t as deeply frustrating and they don’t last nearly as long (e.g. the three-day “coma” I was in when my first post-divorce “boyfriend” ghosted me).
Looking back, I’m shocked at how quickly the time has passed. I am amazed at my growth and am stronger than I’ve ever been.
I remember one therapy session in 2010 when my therapist gave me a book about co-dependency. Boy was I pissed. How dare he suggest I wasn’t merely a victim, but that I contributed to the circumstances surrounding my divorce? It had been so damn easy to be a victim and to blame. My therapist was taking my safety net away from me and I felt violated and exposed. He made me question the beliefs I held about myself at a time when my wounds were still so raw. I directed a red hot laser beam of blame on him that day.
This was a painful turning point. I had to choose between remaining safely stubborn in my old beliefs and walking barefoot over the hot coals of stone-cold reality. Digging deep I knew I didn’t want to remain stagnant. If I was going to become healthy, I had to take a look at my past choices and actions. I had to stop making my ex the scapegoat for our failed marriage. I had to release my ego and find sanctuary in being vulnerable.
I’m able to find some amusement looking back at the old me. Throughout the day-to-day healing process, I saw no direct correlation between my increased emotional strength and the steps I was taking to grow. My efforts seemed haphazard and arranged by chance. But I know better now.
Months came and went and I was setting better boundaries. I was making plans and envisioning a positive future. I was filling my mind and time with new ideas and personal growth. I was building a powerful life. Now I’m blessed to be able to help others do the same.
Physical and emotional pain is exponentially diminished when we have a resilient mind and body. Building resilience is a process. My clients all begin their journey with me by learning the hierarchy of healing. The hierarchy begins with meeting physical health needs, then behavioral health needs and finally spiritual health needs.
Always remember that one size doesn’t fit all. Avoid self-judgment if someone else was able to move on from her divorce much more quickly, or if another divorced couple seemed to manage exceedingly well. We all learn and grow differently, so have empathy for yourself and your path.
The five primary needs are eating, sleeping, moving, breathing and socializing. When you don’t feel grounded, when you can’t make a decision and are being self-critical, take a pause. Those signs are your body’s way of telling you that your physical needs aren’t being met.
If any of these items need improvement, make a change. Make it small and achievable so you feel a sense of accomplishment. This is the first step and it will help open your mind to making clear decisions, self-love, falling in love again, succeeding at work, being a good friend and walking the path of the incredibly powerful woman that you are.
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