Learning how to be on your own and how to make your new ‘norm’ work for you
We all start off wanting the dream – the perfect partnership, a long life sharing dreams, adventures and achievements. A retirement spent traveling and sipping vino watching the sunset – hopes and dreams for a future for two.
Sadly in so many cases this dream does not eventuate and life throws a curve ball. Divorce, sickness and death can disrupt even the most well thought out, best laid plan.
Learning to cope with these changes in circumstances and finding hope and meaning when your life has been turned upside down can be challenging to say the least but it is possible.
Here are 8 things that you can do to help you master going from ‘we’ to ‘me’…
GIVE YOURSELF TIME TO GRIEVE AND HEAL
Whether it is the loss of a loved one or the end of a marriage it is essential to give yourself time to grieve. Learning to mourn the loss of a relationship is an important step in the recovery process. It is vital that you give yourself permission to grieve and to heal. Joining a support group or seeing a counsellor can be very helpful in aiding this process.
FIND YOUR VOICE
When you are in a relationship you tend to define yourself in terms of how others see you as a ‘wife’, ‘mother’, ‘friend’ or whatever role you are playing. When that relationship ends you might find yourself floundering and not knowing where you fit in. Your identity has been challenged. This is the time to find your voice and work out who YOU are and what YOU want.
GET COMFORTABLE BEING INDEPENDENT
Learning to live on your own and do all the jobs that you use to share can be overwhelming at times. Having to put the rubbish out, assemble flat packed furniture and pay all the bills can be frustrating and at times even upsetting. What you need to do is to switch gears and get comfortable with being independent. Doing things that you have previously relied on another to do can be empowering. Accept that your life has changed and look at these things as challenges that you are more than able to accomplish. It is a chance to get out of your comfort zone, learn new skills and surprise yourself.
LEARN TO BE SOCIAL
When you have experienced a loss it is very easy to hibernate. Getting out and about, especially if you are doing it solo can be daunting but also hugely rewarding. Get out of the house and meet new people and reconnect with old friends. If you like reading – join a book club. If you like cooking or gardening – take a class. If you want to give back – do some volunteering. Go to your local pub or club on trivia or bingo night and join in. Human interaction is good for the soul and gets your mind off your worries.
PURSUE A PASSION
When you are in a long-term relationship you often compromise when it comes to achieving your goals, pursuing your passions and how you spend your time. Now that you are on your own this is the time to focus on you and to start doing the things that you always dreamed of. If you want to travel – make it happen. If you want to re skill then take a course and re train – it is never too late to pursue your passion.
LEARN TO LOVE YOURSELF
When you come through the tunnel of loss and grief it can be like a rebirth. It is time to take stock, go inside of yourself and realise just how fabulous you are. No one is perfect, we all make mistakes but it is time to forgive yourself for what could or would of been and embrace who you are, warts and all. Write down three things that you love about yourself and put this somewhere that you can see it every single day – a gentle reminder that you are amazing and that you deserve to be happy!
CHANGE YOUR ATTITUDE FROM MOVING ON TO MOVING FORWARD
You don’t need to forget what you had but you need to now look forward to what you are going to have in the future. The past is the past and the future is bright. Don’t compare your old life with your new life – this is another chapter that is yet to be written so make the most of it.
LIVE YOUR LIFE
You only have one life so don’t waste it. Moving on from the loss of a loved one or the end of a relationship is heartbreaking but for as long as your heart is beating you have an obligation to yourself and to all those who love you to live your best life. Stop to smell the roses and be grateful for what you have. Those war wounds have made you who you are and they will help define who you become. You can choose to be a victim or you can choose to be the hero of your own story. Choose hero!