Happy new year, you beautiful Divorced girl! (or guy or almost divorced girl or guy). To end the year, I want to tell you how much I appreciate your readership and involvement in the DGS community. I love hearing from you, getting updates, and reading all the nice sentiments that keep me inspired to keep DGS going!
Whether you are thinking about divorce, just now separating, recently separated or broken up, in the thick of your divorce, divorced and lonely, or dating and frustrated after divorce, to ring in the new year, I’d like to offer you some help in staying happy and healthy.
Happy New Year, Beautiful! Here are my 23 tips to a beautiful year ahead:
1. Do not doubt yourself.
If you make rational decisions and trust your gut, they might not always turn out to be right, but doubting yourself about anything doesn’t help. Do the best you you can. Doubt only complicates things. It’s unnecessary.
2. Remember that you can reinvent yourself at any age.
When people get divorced, it can make them feel lost, like you don’t really know who you are as a non-married person. I think that’s normal. I also think that is a wonderful opportunity because this huge change is forcing you to figure out who you are now. That could mean as a parent, friend, romantic partner, and/or professionally.
Do you know how many people I know who got divorced and then reinvented themselves by doing something they were passionate about, but were too scared when they were married to step outside their comfort zone and pursue it? COUNTLESS people, including me!
People think they are “too old” to change careers. My opinion is that the older you get, (despite the wrinkles, health challenges and weight gain–LOL) the smarter and more efficient you get. Older people can be more daring-in a good way. They are more self-confident, smarter, and more at peace. They are more mature, less impulsive. They see the bigger picture. Getting older truly does have advantages. You just have to have the guts to change what you don’t like, no matter what age you are.
3. Stop comparing yourself to other people.
I can name 20 women whose bodies I envy or whose houses I wish I could live in. But, I know nothing deeper than what I see. I don’t know if they are happily married, I don’t know if they have health issues or financial issues, or anything else. I see the surface. What seems perfect might not be. The best thing I can do is make my life as close to perfect as I can, meaning take the steps for a better body, work hard and make good financial decisions, and most importantly, have gratitude every day for what I have–health, healthy children, and so much love around me.
4. Don’t be afraid of being alone.
If you fear being alone, just stop. First off, you are wasting your time and energy. You might be alone for awhile, but what’s so wrong with that?? Nothing! Enjoy the peace. Let yourself heal. Mr. or Ms. Right is out there if you want him or her. You just have to be patient and work on yourself first. It’s not easy, I know. Just have faith, believe in yourself and take some small steps in an effort to meet people. The rest will fall into place. I believe that fate doesn’t let us find happy, healthy relationships until we are emotionally healthy ourselves. So, why now work on yourself so that you are prepared when he comes along?
5. Love your body.
You might be 10 pounds overweight, you might be 30 pounds overweight, your jeans might not fit, you might feel bloated, saggy, wrinkled. You might have varicose veins and stretch marks. Fact of life—age takes its toll. BUT, you are healthy, your body has the ability to work out, to run, to breathe, to feel good. So, love it and care for it. Feed it the right foods, take it to the gym. Get fillers or Botox if you want. Buy new clothes that are bigger sizes instead of trying to squeeze into old ones that might be out of style anyhow. Spend some money on yourself. You deserve it! And when you do it, have gratitude for it.
Did you know that it is impossible to engage in deep breathing and be stressed at the same time? So, when you feel stressed, start breathing deep (like the breaths they teach you in yoga) and I guarantee you will feel better. Do that several times a day!
7. Love your kids, parents and other family members as much as you can.
Hug them. Kiss them. Make them giggle and laugh and smile. Tell them they are beautiful—inside and out. Cherish every memory. Take pictures. Ask them questions and really listen to their responses. Dig deep. Tell them they can tell you anything and you will never, ever judge them. Tell your kids stories about when you were a kid. Ask your parents to tell stories to you and your kids. And you might not like this one, but tell stories about you and your ex and how you fell in love. Kids love that so much. It makes them feel loved and it gives them strength and confidence in themselves, like they are here because of strong love–even if it isn’t that way right now.
I know you are hurting and that you might be angry and resentful at your ex. But, if you stay bitter and angry, you are hurting yourself. Try to accept what happened and just give in to being at peace. Forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting what happened or pretending what he or she did is OK. It’s about moving on and not dwelling on it so that there is space in your head for embracing now and what’s in your future.
9. Focus on today: not tomorrow or yesterday.
Looking back is unproductive and only causes negative feelings like stress and regrets. Worrying about the future is unproductive because it can cause fear and stress. Living in the present is very very productive because it’s an anti-stressor. Being in the present is safe and real and can be very enjoyable. It’s filled with gratitude and calmness. This day and every new day is a gift. Treat it that way and just try to appreciate what is happening right now.
10. Open your heart.
Get to know people before you judge. Be open-minded. You don’t know the whole story. Don’t be afraid to let someone love you. You deserve it. Don’t be afraid to love someone again. He isn’t your ex. She isn’t your ex. They are their own person.
11. Stop fighting.
A divorce lawyer said this to my friend, “Do you want to be right and spend a ton of money? Or do you want to settle?” I agree! Think practically. Also, all that conflict and anger is just so negative and unhealthy emotionally. It’s a cancer that you don’t want in your life, so do you best to stay out of it. I know you have no control over your spouse’s behavior, but remember that you do have control over how you act and how you deal with your feelings.
12. Verbalize gratitude every single day.
I started doing this in 2016 and it works. Every morning when I wake up, almost as a form of meditation, I talk to God about what I am thankful for—my kids, my mom, my siblings, my boyfriend. I give thanks for our health and safety. I’m telling you, it works. It sets the tone for the day. Can you think of a better way to start a new day?
13. Engage in self-care.
Selfish and self care are two very different things. Selfish is when you have no regard for others and think only of yourself. Self-care means you love and take care of your kids and others, but you also yourself enough to take care of yourself. That might mean buying stuff you want for yourself and not feeling guilty, getting massages, making sure you go to the doctor, taking a break when you need it by going for a long walk or doing a yoga class, sleeping more, taking vitamins, going to therapy if you think you need it and much more. Buy what you really want. Eat what you want (sometimes). Go to a place you’ve always wanted to go. And, don’t’ feel guilty for doing for yourself.
14. Carve yourself a piece of enjoyment every single day.
Life is like a pie, and each piece represents something. Once piece might be work, one might be kids, one might be working out, another might be housework, then there’s volunteer work, taking care of aging parents, community events, grocery shopping, etc. You get the point. Make sure to carve yourself a slice of enjoyment/fun/me time every single day. ANYTHING you can do to laugh or feel good for some of the day is very important. You deserve that!
15. Talk to God.
He is listening. You don’t have to be in church or synagogue. He is everywhere. Express gratitude and ask for stuff! Again, he is listening. Talking to God can feel calming and can give you a sense of control–like at least you are praying (doing something) in an effort to the way you want things to be. I’m not saying God will make your problems go away, but He will give you the strength to act in ways to make your problems better and eventually go away.
Philanthropy, both financial and your time, as well as random acts of kindness are good for the world and good for others. You are truly making a contribution. But do you know who else giving helps? YOU. Giving so so so good for your sole and wellbeing. Giving makes you feel like you can fly, it fosters self-love, it empowers you, it gives you purpose, and believe me, your giving karma will come back double to you!
17. Hang around good people.
Surround yourself with people who are healthy for you. What I mean by that is, hang around people who make you feel good about yourself, people who you like yourself when you are with, and people who when you get home, you think “I had such a great time.” Get rid of the toxic people, the people you come home and say, “Why do I hang around her?!” Dump the people who are bad for your self-esteem, who judge and criticize you, who stop talking to you for no reason. You deserve to be treated with kindness and respect from friends.
18. Try to look at change as a positive.
It’s natural to fear change, and to look at change as stressful. Going through a divorce is a catalyst for lots of changes. Instead of dreading them, try to look at the positive. The change could turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to you!
19. You are worthy of romantic love.
Make this year the year you decide you are worthy of true love. Don’t settle for men who don’t treat you well, who cheat on you, who are abusive, who you know in your heart aren’t for you. Finding the love of your life is about loving yourself enough to realize you deserve it, and seeking out healthy relationships. It’s about waiting and being alone for awhile, and knowing that it’s better to be alone than to be with the wrong person. It’s about getting the help you need to be emotionally healthy so that you are your best self in a relationship. You deserve be be blissfully happy in your next relationship!
Did you know that smiling more is proven medically to make you a healthier person? A person can smile at anytime. How? By just thinking about something good, someone you love, a pet, an event in the past, a beach you went to that you loved, anything that makes you feel good. During your busy work day or if you are stressed, take 60 seconds to think about a happy place or time or person.
21. Make amends with people.
This past year, I picked up the phone out of the blue and called someone I hadn’t talked to in a year and a half because we had a falling out. He was so happy to hear from me and apologized after I did. That decision had me feeling good for weeks (I still feel great.) There is no reason to be at odds with anyone. Even if you don’t want to be friends anymore, try to get to a place of civility and peace. Making amends makes good things come to. you.
22. If you want something, go after it.
Picture what you want your life to look like and then go get it! I’m not saying it will happen overnight, but if you write down what you eventually want, and you keep it realistic (in other words, if you want a 3 million dollar winter home in Florida for this winter and you make $50,000 a year, that’s probably not happening). But what might happen is that you can rent a small place for a couple months during the winter. The beach is the beach no matter where you are living. That’s just one example.
I have always believed that the hardest thing is figuring out what you want, not necessarily getting it. Getting what you want takes time and hard work and patience, but I know I work best when I set goals for myself. Another example, if you want to take your relationship to the next level, talk to your boyfriend and tell him that. Don’t be pushy or give him an ultimatum, but tell him in a nice way. If he breaks up with you, then that’s OK because now you know. But, it might go your way. Last example, if you want and think you deserve a promotion at work, ask for it. Ask for more money (in a nice way and tell your manager why you think you deserve it.)
No one ever got what they wanted without asking or going for it. It might be scary, but if you believe in yourself, you can do so much more than you even realize.
23. Love yourself, Beautiful!
You’re amazing! Very strong and courageous and loving. Women are so hard on ourselves. We tend to focus on the negatives, what we don’t have, what we “can’t” do. Listen, no one is perfect. But do the best you can with what you have and push yourself to your potential. You have inner and outer beauty. Do you see it? If not, you need glasses!
Happy New Year, Beautiful! All the best in the new year!!
Like this post? Check out my article, “20 Things I Wish I Could Have told my Newly Separated Self.”
I am trying so hard. I wanted him out after a number of unhappy years, with good times in between the bad. I was so calm and happy when he went, getting through milestones, loving being on my own and having my independence again. We had managed to maintain a civilised ‘friendship’ because we have so many mutual friends. I had been chairman of a local organisation of 300 members until very recently, known and supported by everyone. Small community. We have no money or family complications as this was a second marriage. My family were so relieved it was over (I had never discussed with them the problems in the marriage, they had seen it for themselves) My daughter’s first words when I told her – thank goodness, Mum. Then he he told me (after 4 months of separation) that he had a new relationship. I wished him well – genuinely – but was amazed when he told me who it was. I immediately got him to admit adultery and give a date so I could put in the divorce forms. Posted the following day. Just a formality. I wasn’t particularly interested, just relieved I could get him out of my life. Or at least will do so when we can sell the flat and I can move away. But from the moment he went public the following day in a very public forum with a dowdy woman (He just wanted to get his end away and humiliate me in public and show he could still get a woman at 67) I have been gradually going to pieces. I don’t want him, he repels me, he is the most arrogant, insensitive, crass, narcissistic man I know. I do genuinely feel sorry for her as I am sure he is just using her. She is exactly the antithesis of what he always said he liked in women. He loved my slightly off the wall eccentricity, my sense of fun, my style, my shapely figure. He didn’t like skinny women. He took a long time to accept it was over and I really had to goad him into letting me escape. She is a dour serious, almost mannish skinny woman. We are all in the same walking group. People rarely see her smile. She had told me weeks ago in general conversation she likes her own company and is happy alone, doesn’t like being in groups of people. She has been divorced 16 years. Her friends dislike him intensely. They have told me (unasked by me!) . It has led to some very public uncomfortable atmospheres when he is out with her and her friends are around. So many people have now had the courage to tell me – unasked – how unpleasant he has been to them. I know many people can’t believe how insensitive he is being to me now and it just reinforces their view of hm. He sat in my home and told me how lovely she is, what a lovely time they are having and the holiday we were planning, they are going to take! then he said my home (which he had left) didn’t look like a home, it looks empty. Ridiculous, one chair and two paintings are missing and he has the nerve to look round dismissively and say it doesn’t feel like a home. I’m not jealous because i don’t want him. she is just being used. She was fourth on his hoped-for conquest list, can’t she see?? His public humiliation of me nearly worked but I am such a well-known figure in the community with many genuine friends who were horrified at his behaviour and frankly amazed at her. I have been fending off a couple of chaps (there are always more women than men in our age group) I have a slow burning relationship coming to boil and will take it very slowly and carefully and privately. I do not want the kind of publicity he sought. This person has made me feel again that I could be attractive. So why do I feel so wretched? I spent most of new year’s eve – Billy no mates – in tears, alone. I am not sleeping. I am angry. I just want to get over this. It was my choice to get him out. I don’t want him. why should I feel this way?
Thanks Jackie Your writing always strikes a cord. I’m a Guy but find your posts so helpful for me as they keep me grounded — I understand I contributed to the divorce, but I’ve been able to keep the relationship with my two daughters alive and close — I find that’s all that matters right now. They are the most beautiful things I’ve done in my life.
Thank you for your thoughts and inspiration. It helps more than you know.
My pleasure and thank you for the kind words. I wish you a happy, healthy and beautiful new year!!
Newly Divorced and Distraught
Jackie – I am in the midst of this horrible process and just can’t cope with the reality that our hopes, dreams and future (post child rearing) were really only goals of mine (she wants the divorce). We just started the divorce proceedings and with each meeting with the lawyers I feel sad, depressed, anxious and filled with panic. I can’t see how I am going to survive this mentally or financially. And more importantly, and unfortunately, my children (who are barely teens) have been my entire universe, and now I have to find a way to live without them on a regular basis. I have so much work to do on myself and with re-gaining my independence. It truly is daunting. But, I know I will survive and have just today stumbled upon your blog. I love your positive attitude and suggestions. I plan to tackle one “task” at a time – in consumable chunks. But, if you have any advice for a complete green-bean, or where to start, I’d appreciate it. I am seeing a therapist, and that helps. I also have an AMAZING network of supporting friends and family. But, they can’t be with me 24/7 and this is the path that I alone have to face. I guess I am in the process of resurrecting “me” and learning to love “me” and be happy in my own skin. I never realized how much of myself I put into our marriage, family and home until now because I realize that I haven’t put any effort into me in a very long time. Very sad. Thanks in advance and sorry for the rant.
I am newly separated and just found your blog. I am a Christian and God has helped me SO much. I resonate with every point you have made here, in fact it’s funny, I have been purposeful in doing almost everything you have stated already (3 months).
I will now bookmark your website and look forward to reading more.
thank you so much! Happy new year!!
Hi Jackie – My husband left me last Friday (1/6) and these past few days have been the roughest days of my life. We’ve been struggling with marital issues for the past 6 months and while I was thinking things were getting better, he’s been out getting himself into anything and everything he can (hanging out with other women, some drugs, not coming home at night, etc.) It’s appalling. We’ve been together for 14 years and it’s breaking my heart the way he’s treating me (and the way I’m letting him treat me). I’ve made mistakes in our relationship in the past, but have spent the last 6 months going to counseling every week to get through those issues and devoting every second of my free time to trying to fix our relationship. In the meantime, my husband has been verbally and emotionally abusive, refusing to seek help for his depression, and only going to counseling on occasion.
On Friday he told me he was leaving and that “we couldn’t be together right now” and that he needed space and time to figure out what he wanted. The behavior he’s shown in the past 6 months is totally uncharacteristic of him, which is why this is all so heart-breaking. We didn’t speak all weekend, and I saw him this morning at a meeting we had with our realtor (our house is for sale) and he proceeded to tell me he still loves me and that he doesn’t want a divorce, but that he just needs time to figure himself out.
I feel like a doormat at this point and am getting so many different opinions from so many different people. My family wants me to leave him after all the crap he has pulled recently, but some of my friends and my counselor say to try to stick it out if the marriage is really worth saving.
I just wonder if he’s really just that confused about what he wants, or if he’s just screwing around on me. The fact that he went out and got an apartment without speaking to me makes the situation seem very bleak. I just don’t know what to do. I know I need to take care of myself and start moving on and make myself happy now, but this is the only relationship I’ve ever been in and I don’t even know where to start. This is all I can think or talk about. I miss my husband, but I know giving him space is the only thing that could possibly bring him back to me.
In the New Year I will accept who my ex is and move on
Had a big event, my sons wedding and was difficult but got thru it
Grateful for family and friends support
I’m focusing on the positives this year!