Coping Skills for Going Through Divorce
Key Points
  • Divorce is stressful. It is vital to focus on your personal strengths to develop self-esteem and boost your confidence. It is important to make sure we are coping and if we are not doing well, seek help.
  • Do not put yourself down in the midst of a divorce, divorce is not a failure and mistakes are opportunities for learning.
  • Accept compliments, think positively, give yourself credit and try to help others, this often helps us to feel better about ourselves.
Quote: A strong positive mental attitude will create more miracles than any wonder drug. (Patricia Neal)

Personal Well-being Through the Divorce Process:

Developing your self-esteem is an important step in living through separation and divorce. You should focus on your personal strengths and not be distracted by situations that decrease your confidence.

Confidence does not come automatically. It requires a repetition of well-done tasks. Just as a series of failures can destroy your confidence, a series of small successes will build it. Do not view your divorce as a failure, view it as a learning experience. One success leads to another, and the positive effect on your self-image is cumulative and unique to you. Embrace your uniqueness and build your self-confidence with each of these steps:

  • Like yourself- You are the most important factor in your own happiness.
  • Do not put yourself down - You will end up believing the negative.
  • Stop comparing (and despairing) yourself to others - If every female singer compared herself to Barbra Streisand, why would they bother to sing?
  • Start making full use of your abilities - Try a little harder, dig below the surface, and come away surprised by your self-discovery.
  • Start viewing your mistakes as a way of learning -The only way to learn is to have made mistakes!
  • Start finding ways to change your life for the better - Keep it simple and realistic.
  • Start taking action rather than eternally planning for it - At some point, planning must end or it becomes avoidance. There is no perfect plan. With self-confidence, you can build self-esteem: make a list, set objectives, and your goals will be reached.
  • Learn to accept compliments - Be proud of your talent and the recognition it draws.
  • Don't get comfortable if others put you down - Challenge them or walk away.
  • Judge yourself by the content of your character - You will be treated by other people the way you treat yourself.
  • Take pride and show it in your personal appearance - Ever notice how your car seems to run better after a wash? You'll function better, too, when you're well groomed. Your pride will show. It will rub positively on other people.
  • Treat yourself as your best friend - Do not be afraid to talk things out with yourself.
  • Be patient with yourself - Rome wasn't built in a day.
  • Forgive yourself - What's done is done. You cannot look back.

Typically, one spouse seems to become trapped by perpetuating their low self-esteem. The result is that they are treated the way they allow themselves to be treated, based on how they feel about themselves.

A healthy dose of assertiveness will cure that syndrome. Assertiveness is not aggressiveness. Assertiveness means standing on your own two feet and being your own best advocate. Assertiveness contributes to optimum mental health.

A so-called "wimp" gets into a cycle of low esteem (non assertiveness = low esteem). The following definitions may help you understand this self-cycle better:

Assertive: Stand up for yourself and feel equal to others. Have self-respect and respect for others.

Non-assertive: You feel intimidated and unequal.

Aggressive: You are angry. Feel superior (at least that's what you project outwardly) to others. You don't respect anyone else's views.

See the difference? Which shoe fits you? If you are not assertive, take these 10 steps toward sharpening and maintaining your mental fitness:

  1. Prioritize your needs. Put yourself as a top priority.

  2. Assert yourself. Present your feelings without attacking others.

  3. Demonstrate your self-esteem by your behavior. Body language and attitude will be a key reflection. Be alert and interested.

  4. Work to improve yourself by:

    1. learning - read, take classes in something you are really interested in.

    2. challenges - do something new and different.

    3. physical, health and appearance - improve nutrition, get rest, engage in exercise.

    4. spiritual - spend time with optimistic people.

  5. Eliminate negative value judgments of yourself and others.

  6. Allow yourself to succeed by planning to succeed and acting on your plan.

  7. Think positively, and give yourself credit when it's due.

  8. Learn to escape everyday schedules.

  9. Find ways to help others.

  10. Seek help when you need it. Professionals are available.

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A TOUGH MARCH -- Divorce recovery is the long and sometimes difficult road to the point where life seems and feels normal. Ideally, it is the point where former spouses can, if need be, talk with one another civilly. In the early stages of a divorce, getting through the day often seems no small accomplishment.

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