Let’s face it. Change is tough for many people and divorce changes just about every facet of your life. Divorce can often test one’s ability to handle change to an extreme. Some people struggle more than others with change. They fight it, avoid it, fear it, and sometimes feel guilty about it. These notions would make anyone want to keep things as normalized as possible. One would think only adrenaline junkies and dysfunctional people would want to disrupt what could be a perfectly normal situation. However, change can be very positive and powerful, especially if you have been in an unhappy or abusive marriage. Here are five truths in my life I’ve experienced with change. Hopefully this will help readers cope with their own life changes.
1. Change is inevitable
While divorce may not be inevitable, relationships will evolve. Whether you cling to what you have or long for something more, change is unavoidable. Nothing can or will stay the same. You have power when it comes to change. Your actions or reactions to change will determine how positive or negative the change is. Get comfortable with the notion of change as part of the evolution of life and stop resisting.
My divorce meant not only losing a spouse, but losing his entire family, the life I had envisioned and dreams I had of being a stay at home mom. Oddly, I have a relationship with my ex-spouses family today. It’s different than it was, but it’s good. I also had the chance to be a “stay at home” mom for a year, and I found I really didn’t like it. I love to work and I’m a better mom because of it. I own two businesses today which I never would have had the chance to own if I had stayed in my marriage – he would not have given me the freedom to explore these opportunities. What was the absolutely worst thing in 2007 is a gift today.
2. Change helps your brain stay healthy
Science suggest our brains need new and varied problems to work on. When our minds aren’t working out problems, solving mysteries, or figuring things out we can become weak. Change is one of the best ways to keep our brains healthy. This means our lifespan will be healthier, and our mind will not be as susceptible to diseases like dementia. It’s good for your brain to embrace the change in your life as a puzzle you can solve.
I certainly fought the divorce in the beginning, and I went through the stages of grief for at least a year if not longer. No doubt, there was a grieving process to walk through. However, my divorce also brought about new changes which were fun and unexpected, like meeting new friends and having a fun, loving social environment. I was also able to thrive with my career after the divorce which meant learning a lot of new things and experiencing new challenges. When I was no longer subject to emotional abuse I was able to really thrive and grow.
3. Change creates maturity
Sometimes change comes with a price tag. Sometimes change comes with a penalty. Sometimes change requires risk, and sometimes change is forced on us. No matter how change occurs, it causes us to grow. From learning we are tougher than we realized and having to do some difficult things – change creates maturity.
When my divorce was over I made a list of gifts. To my suprise, I had three pages of small, single spaced gifts. Many of them had to do with personal strength and fortitude. I’m so much stronger today. While I certainly would not have chosen this path voluntarily, I’m so grateful today for it.
4. Change teaches you to overcome fear and anxiety
Whether stepping out towards change in doubt or being pushed into the unknown without your consent, change can be scary. The devil we know is easier to manage than the one we don’t. Once the fears are faced, they are often scarier in theory than reality. Change teaches you to overcome fear and anxiety as you learn new coping skills or how to talk yourself through fear.
I was a single mom of a 2 year old child when my divorce was final – that is big change. It was scary. Looking back I’m convinced there is no stronger force than a parent protecting their child. Being a single mom of a young child drove me to bigger and better things with my career. It also lead me to be a better mom and person. I no longer fear financial insecurity (for the most part). I no longer fear being alone. I no longer fear many things – all because of what I went through.
5. Change gives you choices
Once the spirit of change is validated and embraced, change can become part of your normal routine. If you choose something and don’t like it, that isn’t the end of the line. Change things again! From changing your coffee order to the brand of cereal your family eats this week, change can be fun. From picking a new wall color to a new genre of book to read, change can be exciting. From changing where you volunteer your time or which organization you donate to, change can matter to more people.
When my divorce was final I made big changes to my house – I repainted rooms, moved furniture around, rearranged the cabinets and made changes to the yard. These small changes made a big difference. Small things like which cabinet your plates are in can help facilitate change in your head and heart which can give you courage for more change. In my first marriage I really wanted multiple children. As a child I was much younger than my siblings and as a result raised as an only child. I did not like it. I decided very young I would have no children or multiple children – but not an only child! Even though my first husband and I had decided on two or three children when we married, after our first (and only) child was born he decided he didn’t want any more. Well, guess what. When I remarried it was to someone with three young children, and now we have five!! Talk about an evolution of change. It is a beautiful blended crazy mess which this extrovert absolutely loves.
There are many truths about change – some scary and some not so much. Embrace the concept of change, and it will lead to enjoying the realities of change. We at Divorce Strategies Group are here to help you navigate changes from married to single. Schedule a strategy session or call us at 281-210-0057 to schedule your first mediation session today. No matter what your situation we strive to help our clients walk through divorce with confidence, strength and courage!