Category Archives: self-love

Learning to Love Yourself Again

Valentine’s Day is approaching, or as some folks refer to it, Singles’ Awareness Day. I am fortunate to have an incredible man in my life and I am keenly aware that not every divorced woman has the same. After a divorce, it is difficult to love and to find someone to love. But that is the perfect time to concentrate on learning to love yourself.

After we’ve been through the shipwreck of divorce, we often feel beat up, unworthy, ashamed, etc. It’s as though we ourselves have been bashed against the rocks and there’s just flotsam and jetsam left. May I suggest the following as you learn to love yourself again:

1. Don’t make any hasty decisions: You’ve made enough life-changing decisions during the divorce proceedings, paperwork, etc. Give yourself a break and don’t make any life-changing decisions, like dating, purchasing a new car or home, moving from on side end of the country to the other, etc. Give yourself a little time to begin to settle into the new normal.

2. Don’t rebound date: Very bad idea. You just got out of one possibly abusive relationship and you want to get into another? But how do you fill that void, that need for human companionship? Volunteer, find a new hobby, foster a cat or a dog, plant a garden – do something that uses your time and talents for good.

3. Get your finances in order: Your bank is more than happy to help you balance your checkbook, work out a budget, etc. If you have a good bank, they value your business and they will assist you in any way they can in order to keep your business. A good business knows that word of mouth speaks far louder than any advertising dollar.

4. Reward yourself: Divorce is a long, hard struggle. You feel battle weary. You probably don’t have a great deal of money. Reward yourself for enduring the storm: Have a movie night with yourself – watching something you have always wanted to watch or want to watch again (the two movies I watch over and over again are Princess Bride and The Muppets Christmas Carol), take a long walk in the park, visit your local arboretum, have a glass of wine on your deck at sunset or a cup of coffee on your deck at sunrise, buy yourself some flowers or a good book (good books can always be found at your second-hand bookstore for cheap!), buy a quarter of a yard of pretty fabric and use it as a table runner. There are all sorts of ways you can reward yourself without having to spend a great deal of money.

5. Live the adventure! Each day is a new day full of new adventures. Thank God when you wake up in the morning and take your first steps out of bed. Praise God for the warm shower. Be thankful for food in your tummy and a roof over your head. Look in the mirror and tell that lovely lady, “You got this, girl!”

Sometimes, it takes a while to learn to love ourselves again, especially if we have been the victim of an abusive or addicted spouse. There will be people in our lives who will feel free to voice their opinions about the divorce. Don’t listen to them. This is a new start, a new normal, a new life that will get better with each passing day. Trust God and trust yourself as you learn to love yourself again. Hugs! Stay tuned. . . .


The Song That Gets Stuck in Your Head

We’ve all had this happen at one time or another. You hear a song, or someone mentions a song, and before you know it, that song is stuck in your head. No matter what you do, you can’t get that song out of your head. I’ve had the experience as a parent where children’s songs would get stuck in my head. That’s annoying!

There are other things that can get stuck in our heads, too – painful memories, regrets, words we’ve said to our children that we shouldn’t have said, stupid things we’ve done. Words are often the things that get stuck the most – verbal abuse from a parent, mean words from grade school bullies, abrasive words from a spouse. It’s bad enough when a song gets stuck in your head, but when the painful words and memories start taking up residence, it gets worse. How do we get rid of the painful things that get stuck in our head?

  • Face it – head on: A counselor told me one time: “To feel is to heal.” As painful as that memory or those words are, if we let them come back again and again, they will continue to inflict damage. Facing that memory or those words takes courage. Journal about the memory or words and how it/they made you feel. Go into as much depth as you feel necessary to finally beat the wind out of the thing! This may take some professional help, but once you’ve beaten it (the memory, the words), let it go.
  • Share it: Talk to a trusted friend, a clergy member or seek out professional help. Don’t let the thing get so deeply embedded in your soul that it begins to fester. To share the thing is to bring it out into the open. Letting others know about the thing tends to loosen its grip on you.
  • Say it out loud: The deep dark recesses of our minds are fertile ground for stuff to rot, fester and grow putrid tentacles. Give words to the memory or the painful words. Speak out your pain – either alone, with a friend or in a support group. Tell it out loud how it makes you feel and how you are done with it! There is something about confronting the thing out loud that also lessens its grip on you.
  • Use it: There are so many people who harbor deep painful memories, whose ears ring with painful words. Once you’ve let the thing out, use it – write about it, paint it, dance about it, sing about it, take a very long walk, run up and down the stairs in your office building or at the local high school football stadium. Do not allow the thing to regain entrance into your psyche. Work it out of you.
  • Leave it alone: Don’t keep going back to that memory or those words. Look at that thing like a gross pile of feces, because that’s what it is. It doesn’t give you life or bring you joy. Don’t go back into the dark corner with it and allow its tentacles to wrap around you again. It’s something that should make you want to vomit – leave it alone!

Conquering these things in our lives takes time and willpower. Some people can get these words and memories out of their head relatively easily. For others, it takes time and professional help. Don’t berate yourself if it takes you longer to move past these painful words and memories. You know yourself and you know how much time you need to heal. However, I would caution you – don’t dwell in these dark places. Give yourself permission to move into the light and closer to healing. Stay tuned. . . .

Divorce and Love

(Let me begin this post by saying it’s not about what you think it’s about.)

When I was younger, we often spent time at my Grandmother’s house in Chicago, IL. In fact, when my family returned from three months in Brazil, we lived with my mom’s parents in Chicago for about 6 months. I remember my Grandmother doing her laundry in the basement every Saturday. Even though my uncle had bought her a washer and dryer, she insisted on doing laundry the old-fashioned way – drum washer and wringer, line dry. The basement was always steamy and smelled of bleach. I was fascinated by the wringer and how flat and nearly dry the clothes were when they came out of the wringer. Grandma would then take the clothes and hang them on the line in her backyard. In the winter, she’d hang the clothes on lines stretched across her basement.

Let’s go back to the wringer for a moment. After being beat up in the drum washer, the clothes were put through the wringer. Divorce is like that – you feel as if you’ve been beaten up and put through the wringer. You may even feel as if you’ve been put out to dry on a line in someone’s backyard – exposed and wind-whipped. You committed your life to someone you professed to love and now all that has come crashing down.

We just celebrated Valentine’s Day, or, as many unattached folks refer to it, Singles Awareness Day. The day was all about love, flowers, chocolate, gifts, and love. If you are not in a relationship, did you take the time to love yourself? What??!! Love myself??

After being put through the wringer of a divorce, we need to take the time to love ourselves. Allow yourself to feel the emotions of loss, take time to be silent and reflect on your experience, seek out professional help if you need it, give yourself grace, and be selfish. Yes, be selfish – with your time, money, etc. Give yourself time to heal – don’t jump back into a relationship, say “No” to requested commitments, don’t extend yourself or your money until you are more stable, seek out help to get your financial house in order. Allow yourself time for recovery. You alone know how long it will take you to heal from your divorce. You will know when you’re ready to jump back into life.

As we reflect on the loves in our lives, let us add ourselves to the mix. Learn to love that lady who looks back at you from your mirror. Let her know she is special and powerful. Giver her the grace to move forward. Stay tuned . . .

The Person We Are

I enjoy reading the Huffington Post Divorce Section. There are so many good tips, ideas, etc. in getting through a divorce – with your children, as a single parent, as a “shared” parent (step-parent), etc. One of the articles I read recently is titled, “8 Pieces of Advice I Wish I’d Listened To Before I Married” by Kate Buckholz Berrio. One of the pieces of advice that resonated with me is:

Fall for the person they are, not the person you think they could be.

When Cycle Dude and I started dating, I liked him because he was not like my ex husband. As time passed, I fell in love with him for who he is. He is an introvert and doesn’t show a lot of affection in public. He brings me roses “just because”.  He isn’t as quick to express his feelings like I am. He goes the extra mile, like finding a quick fix for a broken blind when I didn’t even ask him to. He is an amazing man and can make and fix and do anything. I love him for who he is because who he is is amazing and wonderful!

We don’t enter into relationships as projects. I thought I could change ex. Nope. We enter into relationships because we enjoy being with that person, we have things in common, and we help one another to be better people. If you start dating someone thinking you can change them to make them a better person, you are in for a rude awakening. Becoming a better person in a relationship is accomplished by growing together through shared experiences, by being there for one another through the stuff of life and by accepting the other person for who they are.

Cycle Dude and I have helped one another become better people by just being ourselves. Cycle Dude has taught me how to be peaceful, thoughtful and  quiet. I have taught him how to be adventurous enjoy things like festivals. Yes, neither one of us is perfect, but that’s part of the adventure!

Realize that the only person you can change is yourself. There are some things that are part of the fabric of who you are (introvert, extrovert, artsy, mechanically minded, etc.), but then there are other things that are just peripherals that probably ought to be changed (ex. weight, smoking, quick-tempered, etc.). Who am I? Writer, crafter, baker, walker, reader, mom, sister, daughter, tall, etc. What should I change about me? Weight, snacking, and some other stuff.

Cycle Dude and I love each other for who we are. I love my children, my family and my friends for who they are. Like the man said, “It takes all kinds!” Stay tuned . . .

One More Thing . . .

If this is your first holiday post-separation or post divorce, be nice to yourself!! Don’t raise your expectations – for decorations, food, parties, family interaction, opening gifts, etc. – in the midst of this huge change in your life. If anything, lower your expectations. Decorate for yourself, bake for yourself and enjoy this newfound freedom in your life. I have come out of my divorce not just stronger, but softer and more compassionate.

Don’t expect yourself to be over the emotions, the pain, etc. overnight. Give yourself grace. Allow yourself to bow out of “traditional” holiday obligations – no explanation needed. Make new traditions with your family. Look at that lady in mirror, realize she is the only you that you have and be nice to her this holiday season. Stay tuned . . . . .

Don’t Get Out of Bed

I remember the first few months into my separation – I was angry, depressed, and vengeful. Those feelings were magnified when I discovered ex had moved in with his gf and I had not even filed for divorce yet. All I wanted to do was stay in bed and pull the covers over my head, hoping it would all be over soon. I was weary from the years of putting up with ex’s lies and infidelity. I was depressed due to lack of finances and deteriorating friendships, I was mentally and physically exhausted from trying to maintain a home, a job and schoolwork. It took a lot of self-discipline to get up each morning and keep on keeping on.

Sometimes it is good to stay in bed, to pull the covers over one’s head and go back to sleep. We all need that time of rest and relaxation. Sometimes that extra time to relax and just do nothing is better medication than any antidepressant. If we allow ourselves to get exhausted and run down we run the risk of getting sick. That can snowball into a million other things – time off work, lost wages, loss of time with family, etc.

So, stay in bed every now and again. Close your eyes and go back to sleep. A word of caution – don’t dwell in the place of depression. If you find yourself wanting more and more not to get out of bed, it may be time to see your doc about antidepressants. There is a balance here. You are responsible for yourself now – that includes taking care of your physical and mental health. Do not be so hard on yourself that you do not allow yourself to relax, sleep in, or just do nothing. A little extra sleep may be what you need to find your happiness again. Look at that lovely lady in the mirror and tell her she’s beautiful, then give yourself a big hug!. Stay tuned . . . .

It’s Friday

Sometimes, my life is like the days of the week. Usually, Monday isn’t too bad, but sometimes it can get a bit crazy after the weekend – especially after we’ve had a long holiday weekend. Tuesdays and Wednesdays can get crazy, too. However, my favorite day of the week is Thursday because you’re almost done with the week and it’s not as mindless as Friday tends to be.

Lately, my life has been more like Thursday – I feel like I am getting over those chaotic things that have happened earlier in my life and now I am preparing for a really great life. Earlier in the aftermath of my divorce, I felt like every day was Monday and Friday would never come. I felt that every day was as chaotic, if not more so, than the previous day. My life had become one long, bad Monday.

My life began to change as I got further and further away from the divorce. It seemed like my life was becoming more like Tuesday or Wednesday – still a tad chaotic, but not as intense and frantic as Monday. Now, I am contentedly settled into Thursday. I have a few goals to accomplish in the next couple of years – financially, relationally and job wise – before I can let go and celebrate Friday and the weekend. Thursday is not a bad place to be for now – but it’s not Friday. I look forward to my Friday life – grandchildren, remarriage, financial stability – but I’m not there yet.

What about you – where in the week is your life? Are you experiencing the chaotic Monday or are you experiencing the down time of the weekend? Are you somewhere in between – semi-chaotic Tuesday or Wednesday? Wherever you are, it’s okay. Whatever you are feeling, it’s okay. Divorce is a long, difficult and painful process. Give yourself the grace to be okay where you are. Look at that lovely lady in the mirror and tell her, “Hang on, honey, ’cause Friday’s comin’!” then give yourself a big hug! Stay tuned . . . .