Change can be difficult whether you choose to make changes in your life or someone else has made that choice for you. Let's face it. Divorce changes many facets of your life and will test your ability to handle change to an extreme.
Some people struggle more than others with change. They fight it, they avoid it, fear it, and sometimes feel guilty about it. These notions would make anyone want to keep things as same as possible. One would think that only adrenaline junkies and dysfunctional people would want to disrupt what could be a perfectly normal situation for something that could be worse. Keep in mind that the situation could be better.
If you've been in an unhappy marriage, your divorce can bring about a lot of positive change in your life. I remember how real the fear was when I was going through my own divorce. I had fears about parenting and about money and about basic things like taking care of the house. As it turned out, when I committed to dealing with the changes I was facing rather than running from them, I was able to create a much better situation for myself.
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 some 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.
Our brains need new and varied problems to work on. A mind that isn’t working out problems, solving mysteries, or figuring things out gets 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 that you can solve.
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 that having to do some difficult things - change creates maturity.
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.
The cool thing about one change is that it can bring about another. If you choose something and don’t like it, that isn’t the end of the line. Change things again! Once the spirit of change is validated and embraced, change can become part of your normal routine. 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.
One of the first changes I made after my own divorce was redecorating my bedroom. I got all new furniture, bedding, and artwork. It felt empowering to create the space that I wanted for myself.
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.
Change can be hard for many reasons. First off, the actions needed to make change can be challenging and cause some initial discomfort. Friends and family might not be supportive or onboard with your decisions, and that can sting. Changing might require you to modify your behavior or prioritize yourself in new ways. If you’re not careful, guilt could derail your progress.
Talking yourself out of your new plans
Feeling bad when taking time for yourself
Sabotaging your efforts to change
Sometimes there are growing pains that come for everyone involved when trying to make a fresh start. The people in your sphere of influence may not have the desire to make changes. That doesn’t have to mean that there’s no hope. You can take specific actions to tackle the guilt that can come from making change.
When you have decided to make a fresh start, give those who may be directly affected, fair warning. Divorce will affect the family unit. Have a family meeting, and share what changes you are about to make. Set out your expectations and do what you need to do to make sure everyone is fully aware of your intentions.
Related post: How to Help Your Children Cope with a Divorce
Water seeks the path of least resistance. If you are managing people in your life who aren’t on board with your plans, they will do what they can to try to get you off track. The more consistent you are with your plans, routines, and actions day-to-day, the more likely they will see that you are serious and won’t be deterred from your plans. Sabotage will be replaced with respect if you stick to your plans and aren’t wishy-washy.
The more you show your commitment to change, the more those in your sphere will get on board. You may even inspire them to make a fresh start somewhere. Be verbal about your achievements as you see the changes coming from your fresh start. Be grateful for any sacrifices that your friends, family, or co-workers may be making and share the gratitude as often as possible. The more you spread the love, the harder it is to stop the momentum.
A divorce can be an opportunity to welcome changes in several areas of your life. You don’t have to feel guilty when you want a fresh start. Sometimes the feelings are tied to dysfunction that will be cured by making positive changes. Have faith, stay the course, and don’t lose sight of the goals.