self-esteem after divorce

Rebuilding Your Self-Esteem After Divorce

No one gets married expecting it to end in divorce. After the divorce papers are signed, rebuilding your self-esteem is the start of the first chapter in your new life. But it isn’t easy. No matter how your marriage ended, your sense of self and self-worth may have taken a hit. Here’s how to regain it.

Steps Towards Rebuilding Your Self-Esteem After Divorce

Shadow on brick
Photo by Martin Fisch.

1. Mourn. First, take time to mourn. Grief is a natural reaction when separating from someone you love. Everyone works through grief differently and on a different timeline. So don’t rush through your grief because someone says you “should” be over it by now. How you mourn may take different forms on different days, but some find it helpful to have a farewell party or service for the relationship as a form of closure. Remember your grief may focus on your old relationship, but it may also have to do with your bruised self-esteem and lack of appreciation for yourself throughout your marriage. It’s okay to mourn.

2. Listen to your feelings. Grief isn’t the only emotion you will experience after divorce. Anger, resentment, and guilt are all common. Even elation can be part of the process, sometimes followed by guilt for feeling that way. Consider speaking with a therapist to talk it out. Therapy doesn’t mean you have a problem. A therapist is simply someone who can focus on you and your needs while you undergo a big emotional shift. A therapist is a helpful third party that can help you rebuild your self-esteem after a tough breakup.

3. Try something old. What did you used to do before your relationship with your now ex-spouse? What activities did you enjoy when yourself-esteem was high? Hobbies? Relationships with friends with whom you’ve since lost touch? Reacquaint yourself with “the old you.”

4. Try something new. If you could do anything, what would it be? Something daring? Consider what new things you might do or try. It’s OK to fantasize. Then, choose something feasible. Maybe your “new” is as simple as a new haircut. Or maybe it’s time to try a new hobby, where you’ll find new friends. As long as your new is healthy and not destructive, don’t be afraid to go for it.

5. Be alone. A lot of people go from one relationship to another. Learn to be alone as you try your old and new hobbies. A healthy, stronger you will emerge. Focus on cultivating self-love and nurturing your self-esteem before entering another serious relationship.

Want to know more about coping with divorce? Join us for the next Second Saturday Wake County divorce workshop.

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