I am a self-proclaimed “accidental tourist” making a surprise journey from abandonment to success. Three great lessons helped me navigate the journey from trauma to triumph. I know that I am not the only reluctant traveler making this journey. So, I would like to share those lessons with you.
Rethink our mindset – “Just because he says it doesn’t mean it’s true.”
Divorce – especially unexpected divorce – fills us with shame and a responsibility that seems impossible to overcome. Healing can feel like an abstract concept. The pain we suffer feels inescapable. But life goes on. We must turn our thoughts and our hearts away from what has been lost to what might be found. Each can discover what works for us to accomplish that goal. I relied heavily on my friends, my journal, and my therapist.
Empower ourselves – “Sometimes you have to get knocked down lower than you have ever been to stand up taller than you ever were.”
We must become open to opportunity and keep our head up and our eyes open. It is difficult to move forward when the life we have known has been snatched away from us. However, if we are looking down and at what was past, we will miss what lies in front of us and the options that are available.
I discovered a healing catharsis in writing my story. There was a sense of success in the publication of my book and the satisfaction in the accomplishment. It made me realize I could take on new challenges and appreciate new opportunities. I came to be truly grateful that he was “done” with our marriage. His leaving led me to a new beginning and the ability to enjoy every moment of the journey on my own.
Find the “silver lining” – “You can’t control what happens to you in life, but you can control who you will be after it happens.” – Jennifer Pate Gilbert
Divorce is the death of a marriage. Death requires grieving. Grieving is an experience as individual as the person experiencing the loss. No one can do the hard work of healing for us. Others cannot understand the depth of the pain we are in. They are unaware of the strength required to recover from that pain. The path, time frame and means to the discovery of our personal silver lining are arbitrary, circuitous, and seemingly unachievable.
We must dig deep and discover our own inner strength. All of us must open the window that will replace the door that has been closed in our lives. Each can discover the rainbow after our darkest storm and we must move toward it. Triumph does indeed follow tragedy – if we are open to the option and allow it to happen.
The take away – growing into ourselves – “We are born, and we may never know to whose prayers our life is the answer.”
Change is never easy, but it is always possible. We must be receptive to change. We must embrace the idea of change if we want to move ahead with a meaningful and fulfilling life. That new life will likely be quite different from the one we had – or the one we had imagined. Yet different can be better. Remember the caterpillar who turned into a butterfly! I promise, if I can thrive after what occurred to me, it is possible for you to thrive after the tragedy or loss you may be facing.