“I thought I’d miss you when it ended
I thought it’d hurt me, but it didn’t
I thought I’d miss you
I thought I’d miss you
But I miss me more.
I miss my own beats and my own snare drum
I miss me more
Miss my own sheets in the bed I made up
I forgot I had dreams, I forgot I had wings
Forgot who I was before I ever kissed you
Yeah, I thought I’d miss you
But I miss me more.”
— Kelsea Ballerini
If you were in an unhealthy relationship, you may have lost yourself – forgotten the music that made you move, forgotten how you felt in the clothes you loved, forgotten the warmth of being with your friends and family.
So many times, we lose our individuality in these relationships, but finding yourself again can be a key to unlocking the chains, the key to getting away from all that weighed you down.
After a divorce, you do feel a sense of loss and perhaps a lower sense of self temporarily, but deep down also a sense of optimism for what the future may hold. Rebuilding your life, your confidence, your finances, and possibly even your health may take time, but it’s a part of the Post Traumatic Growth process that’s as real after a divorce as any other traumatic event.
You will experience hills and valleys throughout the growth process. Through it all, remember that no one can hold you down – but there are helping hands that can lift you up and help you fly again.
10 Ways to Boost Your Confidence after a Divorce
1. Revisit the places you loved to go and the things you loved to do before you met.
Chances are that you were so involved in the routine of being a spouse and a parent that you haven’t participated in your favorite hobbies, traveled, and so on in years. Take some time for yourself to rediscover who you were before you met your significant other, whether it’s to help you begin the process of breaking out of the relationship or to make yourself feel whole again after the relationship is over.
2. Reconnect with your friends and family.
Spend time with family and friends you are certain will be there for you. Take comfort in their presence, and don’t be afraid to be vulnerable around them. You may need a hand to hold or a shoulder to cry on, and that’s OK.
This is especially relevant if you were in an abusive relationship wherein your significant other kept you from the ones you love. Reconnecting with them will enable you to mend these broken links and regain your identity, both of which are essential to the Post Traumatic Growth process.
3. Go easy on yourself, but remember that it’s OK to grieve this loss.
You may constantly be mentally beating yourself up with thoughts like, “Why didn’t I do that? What could I have done better? Was I wrong? Is it all my fault?”
The truth is that in most divorces, the “fault” lies with both parties. At the same time, the breakup may be inevitable, so no matter how perfect you tried to be, nothing may have saved the relationship.
At the same time, don’t try to be so strong that you feel nothing at all. Feeling something creates a wholeness within you that ultimately leads to a more optimistic perspective and fulfilling way of living. The most important part of growth after a trauma is going through the process.
4. Let go of the denial and transform it into something good.
Then there’s the flip slide to the above point. You may instead be in denial regarding why the relationship crumbled, but identifying issues that you can genuinely change is going to be important for your growth. A substance abuse or mental health counselor may be able to help you recognize positive changes that could improve your quality of life.
5. Rebuild your finances with help from a financial planner.
Money management conflicts are among the most common causes of divorce. Even if this wasn’t a cause of your breakup, your finances will inevitably come up during the divorce process. After the divorce, you may need to rebuild your credit score or save money, and a financial planner may be able to help you with that. Cash flow problems are among the greatest stressors, so stronger financial management can help you improve your confidence and mental health.
6. Speak with a therapist.
If we haven’t done so already, we need to state this clearly. Don’t be ashamed to see a therapist. Having a knowledgeable professional who will listen, understand, not judge, and be completely focused on you and only you is a tremendous source of comfort. The therapist can help you rid yourself of unnecessary guilt, help you recognize areas for improvement, and suggest positive ways you can build your confidence.
One especially beneficial aspect of seeking mental health therapy is that a therapist can gently “tell it like it is,” which can be ironically liberating. Knowing the truth empowers you to let go of the constant back-and-forth battles in your mind. In other words, a therapist may help you stop thinking too much by stating truths that you might not see on your own.
7. Rediscover or maintain your spirituality if it is a part of who you are.
Some things are in your hands, but others are not. The power of prayer can help you take comfort in what you cannot change. You may also wish to speak one-on-one with a faith leader in order to make sense of and make peace with your divorce as it relates to your beliefs. One of our favorite mantras is, “Let go, let God.”
8. Take advantage of health and wellness opportunities.
Set up that gym membership, jog around the park regularly, practice meditation, or take part in any other fitness routines or hobbies you enjoy. Countless health and wellness opportunities are available through your local community center, through your workplace, or right in your own living room. All of these activities have been shown to improve both mental and physical health, which can clearly boost your confidence well into the future.
9. Try something different.
Maybe that unhealthy relationship kept you from recognizing skills, interests, and talents you never knew you had. Try gardening, take a music class, expand your knowledge of modern technology, or dive into a swimming class, for a few examples. Keeping yourself open to new experiences after your divorce can help you reinvent yourself and break away from who you thought you were during your marriage.
10. Take the positives out of the relationship with you.
It couldn’t have been all bad, and it’s important to leave the relationship with some sense of positivity and contentment with your past. Maybe you and your significant other learned how to cook together. Maybe you attended exciting concerts. Maybe you started to enjoy a sport you never thought you would. Maybe you traveled the world. All of these positives from the relationship are still a part of you, so take them with you.
Remember that identifying the path to your future and rebuilding your confidence after a divorce will take time and support, so go easy on yourself. We’ll be here for you if you need us.