Back in 2007 when I was going through my divorce and feeling immense divorce sadness, stress and fear, people didn’t talk about gratitude and meditation like they do now. Or maybe they did, and I just wasn’t listening.
But these days, gratitude is such a buzz word. It is touted as being the key to happiness in life, no matter what is going on, i.e. a devastating pandemic, a divorce, or any other life problem.
Gratitude doesn’t solve your problem. It doesn’t make your divorce sadness go away. It doesn’t speed up the divorce process. It doesn’t make your ex act nicer. It doesn’t help your kids stop crying. And, it doesn’t make Coronavirus disappear. These things are out of our control.
But, what gratitude does is, it helps you manage the uncontrollable, and shift your focus from fear and anxiety to acceptance, peace and happiness.
When Coronavirus and the quarantine first started back in March, like most people, I felt extremely anxious and fearful, to the point where I couldn’t eat, sleep or focus on anything else but worrying about the pandemic.
My sister sent me an incredible book called “The Garden of Emuna,” (Emuna means “Faith”). Written by Rabbi, Shalom Arush, this is not a book that is just for those of the Jewish faith. It’s a book for anyone who believes in God and who wants to live a more relaxed, peaceful, happy life.
Having emuna (faith) means you are putting the uncontrollable in God’s hands and only trying to change what you can change—how you handle what comes your way.
I came up with two tools to coping with divorce sadness, stress and fear:
Every morning when you wake up, what are the first thoughts that go through your mind?
Shit, I wonder how my ex is going to be today. I have to pay bills today and I don’t have enough money to cover them. I’m worried about losing my job. I’m lonely and might wake up alone forever. I miss So and So. I bet my ex is waking up with his girlfriend. I have so much to do today, I hope I can get it all done. I ate so much last night, I bet I gained two pounds. I drank too much last night, I need to stop drinking wine every night. I hate my ex. I can’t believe he did this to me. am I going to be able to stay in this house? I bet my attorney’s fees are over $5000 this month. When is the pandemic going to get better?
Tomorrow morning, when you wake up, stop yourself from these thoughts and instead, talk to God and thank Him for all the wonderful people in your life and for what you have. Say something like this:
God, thank you for giving me my children and my dog, thank you for my sisters and my brother and my parents. Thank you for our health. Thank you for the roof over our heads and for food on our table. Please give me strength to get through this hard divorce and to cope with my divorce sadness, stress and fear. I know I will get through it and that this hard time won’t last forever. Please make the pandemic end. Thank you for giving me today. I will make it a wonderful day.
Isn’t that better? Your worries will all still be with you, but they aren’t in the forefront of your mind. Love is.
Write yourself a love letter
Divorce is a time when many people experience low self-esteem and bad self-worth. Years of a bad marriage and negativity in the relationship (including emotional abuse from a spouse), followed by a contentious divorce can cause people to forget their worth, their value, their good qualities.
So, refresh your memory by writing yourself a letter. It can start like this:
Jackie, I’m so sorry that you are going through this painful divorce. It won’t last forever, but in the meantime, I don’t want you to forget everything that you have. You have always been smart and independent, and you will find a job when the time is right…
Include things like:
You are important, you matter, your kids need you to be strong, you are worthy of finding love again, you are beautiful, you are courageous, you are kind, you are special, you have faults, but who doesn’t? You are making a huge difference in your kids’ lives…
Whenever you feel bad about yourself or hopeless about the future, read the letter.
In closing, I’m not telling anyone that you shouldn’t acknowledge your feelings of divorce sadness, fear and anxiety. You are entitled to have moments of self-pity and anger that this happened to you. It’s actually healthy to feel and express these things.
But these two tools are like taking medicine for your emotional ailments. And if you take the medicine long enough, meaning if you practice gratitude every morning and keep reading your letter, the negativity will start to go away and eventually it will die. And if you choose, gratitude and good self-esteem can envelop your soul for the rest of your life.
Your divorce won’t last forever, but gratitude and good self-esteem will.
Like this article? Check out, “Getting divorced during Coronavirus?”