Ever talk to yourself? Of course you do. “Why am I being so stupid?” “Why did I say that to her?” “I hope I didn’t say anything dumb.” “This dress used to be fit so much better.” “I’m old.” “I screwed up again.” Sound familiar? I bet most people engage in this kind of negative self-talk and I think it’s just awful. I know I’ve said things like these to myself countless times.
Negative self-talk, especially during divorce isn’t really surprising, if you think about it. If you consider the fear, self-doubt, and temporary lack of self-esteem going on, it makes sense that you are thinking negatively.
When I was getting divorced, I can remember feeling like a weak, exhausted person who I didn’t even recognize. I lacked self-worth, self-confidence and self-love. Basically, I forgot about any good qualities I had because I was so focused on all the negativity going on in my life.
If you’re the one who asked for the divorce you might dislike yourself and feel guilty. If you’re the one who was left, it’s possible to start feeling like maybe he/she made the right decision leaving you.
How messed up is that?! Why don’t women talk to themselves the way we talk to our kids or to our best girlfriends or to our grandparents?
“You look beautiful!” “I don’t know what I would do without you.” “You’re so smart.” “I’m lucky to have you.” “I adore you.”
Instead of negative self-talk, why aren’t we saying the above things to ourselves?!
Here are 7 examples of negative self-talk during divorce, along with my responses. Pretend you are looking in the mirror and talking to yourself.
1. You haven’t worked in 15 years. You’ll never get a job.
Instead of this negative self-talk, why not tell yourself, “Yes you will! You are smart, competent and you were great at the job you had before you quit to become a stay-at-home mom. Plus, you raised children. That isn’t an easy job at all! You are going to get over your technology phobia really quickly because it is a silly fear and if millions of people have been in the same position and have gone back to work years later, you can do it too. You are worth hiring, and have so many wonderful qualities to offer a company.
2. Your husband doesn’t want you anymore and is with someone else, who is younger and prettier.
Your husband has a lot of issues and instead of trying to fix them, he chose to believe that you were the problem and leave. That’s something you can’t control. Your husband needs to figure out his own life and if that means doing that with a girlfriend, then that’s his choice. It hurts. It kills, actually, but you will survive and focus on your own life. You will not feel sorry for yourself. You are strong and smart and courageous. Your second wind is coming, I promise. She might be younger than me, but you are prettier. Plus, you would never date a married man like she did. And, someday you will realize that you don’t want HIM anymore either.
3. You’re old and out of shape.
You are healthy and as long as you have that, you have endless opportunities. Plus, older means more wisdom, compassion and creativity. Don’t focus on looks, focus on feeling the best you possibly can, both physically and emotionally. Eat for health, not for weight loss. Work out for health, not for weight loss. Whatever else you need to do, (including Botox), to feel good about yourself, do it. Plus, emotionally, you are going to strive to be in the best shape of your life. Nothing you can do about age. Embrace it, let go of worrying about it!
4. This single mother thing is scary.
Of course it is. It’s a change. It’s normal. But you can do this. You are a wonderful mother and you will continue to be one. Being a single mom is going to have advantages, too. You can parent the way you want, and you know your kids are living with a great role model. You can’t control how your ex is going to parent, only how YOU are going to parent. And you will parent the best you know how. You aren’t perfect, but you have more love inside you than you ever thought imaginable. That’s all you need.
5. You might end up alone.
First of all, no you won’t. If you want to find love again someday, you will. More importantly, if you have friends and family and kids who love you, you will never be alone. Plus, if you have faith in God, you are never alone. But as far as romantic love, your goal shouldn’t be to find a second husband, but rather to find a life that includes people you love spending time with and things you love to do, with or without a romantic partner.
6. This whole thing is scary.
Of course it is. Who likes change? You were probably very comfortable in your marriage–even if you weren’t happy. Finances, raising kids, being lonely, the divorce process, dating…it’s all really scary, but you got this. You’re just warming up. As time goes by, you will continue to get stronger and stronger, and someday, you will look back and say, “That was scary, but I got through it.”
7. I’m not sure if I’ll be OK.
You’ll be better than OK. Will it be easy? No. Being OK requires courage, discipline, hard work, patience, making tough decisions, not taking short cuts, and being the best person you can possibly be. But you know how to do all of those things! Set your standard for higher than OK, because that’s what’s coming if you’re willing to work for it.
In closing, when a dear friend is sad and comes to us for advice, we give her warmth, support, inspiration, encouragement and love.
Remember that you are your own dear friend, so treat yourself the way you’d treat the dear friend. Talk to yourself with love, kindness, respect, and forgiveness. You deserve that. No more negative self-talk!