Watching one of my close friends go through her divorce and seeing the emotional toll it took on her, I wanted to offer her some ideas and inspiration to get through this messy time in her life. How do you find happiness after the turmoil and pain of a break up or divorce?
I have not experienced a break-up in many years, and not having been through a divorce, I decided to see what nuggets of wisdom I could find for her. One bit of advice I saw repeated often was simple:
Experience it. Let whatever you’re feeling be felt. If you want to cry, cry. If you are angry, talk to someone or write it out. Keep reading for more ideas and strategies to help you move past your breakup or divorce back into happiness.
Another piece of advice I saw mentioned was something that might seem harsh for a newly single person–but it’s good advice, in my opinion: Stop worrying about being alone. When you’ve been part of a couple for so long, it’s a weird thing to find yourself alone, maybe a lot.
Moreover, you might be concerned that you’ll always be alone or “end up” alone. You might think about future holidays (generally happy times for couples) and wonder how to be happy alone on Christmas, how to be happy alone on Thanksgiving, how to be happy alone on Valentine’s Day, for Cupid’s sake! This line of thinking isn’t helpful. 🙂
This video explains the importance of learning to be alone and to be happy alone:
Focusing on yourself and pursuing hobbies and activities that may have fallen by the wayside when you were part of a couple is sound advice and one way to alleviate worrying about being alone. While you might have a tendency in the early days to lament what you have lost, if you can focus instead on what is now available to you to do and to pursue, you will discover how to be happy alone single sooner than you might imagine.
For example, maybe you love beach vacations, but your spouse did not. So beach trips with him/her were a compromise and not as fun as they could have been. Why not plan a beach trip with a friend of family member that loves the beach like you do?
Even something as small as reading in bed-maybe that was your favorite spot to immerse yourself in a good book, but your spouse couldn’t sleep with the light on and so you let that simple pleasure go.
(The video below discusses several of the tips in this article)
Another way to focus on yourself would be to treat yourself to something–an outing or a purchase that you denied yourself when you were part of a couple. Maybe your wife didn’t dig your golf shorts, or your husband hated your hippie dress 😉 As a single person, you are free to dress however you like with no disapproving looks 😛
Yet another tip I saw was one that might not make sense at first glance: Exercise. The idea with this tip is primarily about stress relief. Exercise is a proven way to relieve stress. It might also lessen your propensity to eat indulgently, if you are an emotional eater.
And consider this: depending on how you choose to exercise, it can be a way to socialize and meet new people. Join a tennis group. Get a gym membership. Go to a park to walk or make a weekly date with a friend to go on a hike. One of my friends and I have what she calls WNT’s (Walk and Talks). 🙂 Exercise is good for the body and the mind…and maybe even for your social life!
Reassessing life goals is yet another way to be happy after a breakup. This might be about personal goals, but consider your work life and goals also. Having more time alone will allow you to pursue career goals and work projects more freely. Consider a big project that requires quiet time alone–like a writing project. Start a blog, write a book, submit efforts to publications.
So, whether it’s a divorce or a breakup with your significant other that does not involve lawyers, it’s important to know that learning how to be happy again, how to be happy single is most definitely achievable. Here are the tips -in list form- that I shared with my friend.
- Experience it. Feel and release the emotions that well up inside you.
- Stop worrying about being alone. (see step 3 and the videos above)
- Focus on yourself with activities or purchases that you previous avoided.
- Exercise for stress relief, self-care, and maybe for social contact.
- Reassess life and work goals.
I hope this information is helpful to anyone who finds themselves experiencing one of life’s more stressful times–a divorce or a breakup. Consider this a cyber hug of support!
P.S. This mug I designed can serve as inspiration–get that light within shining again!