It’s common for people to fall into depression and anxiety or turn to substance abuse after a divorce. When a marriage ends, there are overwhelming feelings of failure, shame, and sometimes even guilt.
Of course, all of this gives your self-esteem and confidence a huge knock. You may be finding it difficult to think positively about yourself, your body image may be struggling and your confidence lacking.
Have you lost your confidence after divorce?
While this is completely natural after a divorce, it’s important to take steps to reclaim your identity and boost your self-esteem.
There are ways to get back on track. Keep reading for tips on how to regain your confidence after a divorce and take back your life.
Going through a divorce in many ways mimics the process of grief. And why wouldn’t it? You have lost an essential part of your life, and it may feel like you’ve lost a part of your identity, too.
It’s easy to get stuck in toxic cycles of picking apart the past to figure out where it went wrong. This leads to negative self-criticism, a cycle of blame, and feelings of guilt. One of the most important post-divorce tips to rebuild confidence is to accept what has happened, and accept that you cannot change it.
Equally important is realizing that obsessing over questions you cannot answer is damaging to your self-esteem. You cannot change the past, but you can learn from it and change yourself in a positive way. This should be your focus after a divorce.
Of course, this is easier said than done. Start by focusing on what you can change. Redirect your attention from analyzing the past to improving your present and building a new future. The key to improving your self-esteem starts by accepting where you are right now and working towards where you want to be.
When a relationship ends it’s common to get stuck in an unhealthy cycle of blame — this is something you should avoid. No one wants to take responsibility for the part that they played in their marriage ending. This is a sort of denial that you experience as a reflexive mechanism to deal with the trauma.
However, it doesn’t serve you or your confidence to shift blame onto your ex-spouse or others around you. An important part of reclaiming your confidence is taking ownership of your mistakes. No one is free from fault when a marriage breaks down. Facing your mistakes with courage will empower you to step out of your self-pity and into a new life with grace.
Furthermore, accepting that you have aided in creating your own path comes with the knowledge that you are in control of where your life goes from there.
While it may be true that someone had a great influence on the negative situation you find yourself in, you are ultimately the agent of your life. Recognize the choices you’ve made so that you can empower yourself with the courage to make better choices now.
You may be finding it difficult to identify any positives in your life right now. This includes situational positives as well as positive traits within yourself. It’s essential to find a way to celebrate the positives to rebuild confidence after divorce.
To begin with, move away from negative self-talk and start practicing positive self-talk. It may feel superficial, and like a pretense, in the beginning, but continue with it regardless.
Start with writing down things that lift you up in your life. What makes you happy? What are you grateful for? What are the positive forces in your life?
If you’re struggling to find sources of positivity in your present, look to memories and experiences in your past. Identify moments where you’ve been happy and times of your life that you’ve felt good about yourself.
As a result of writing these things down, you’ll be cementing uplifting thought patterns and creating a roadmap for improving your self-esteem.
Furthermore, make an effort to verbally affirm your positive traits. If you find it a challenge, start small. Say, or write down, one thing you like about yourself, or one thing people like about you. Build on these every day as you become the person you want to be.
After a divorce, it’s common to feel isolated and lonely. You may feel ashamed or as if you’ve failed and this may prevent you from seeking support from your friends and family. It’s important to remember that divorce does not equal failure and there are people who love you and want what’s best for you.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to your loved ones and lean on your support system. Being around people that lift you up and make you feel good about yourself does wonders for your confidence.
Aside from helping you to feel better about yourself, friends who are removed from the situation can offer an objective perspective. This may help to provide you with some clarity and positive perspective change.
Take this opportunity to connect with old friends, spend valuable time with loved ones, and join group events. Finding solace in friendship provides you a space to feel loved and fulfilled outside of a marriage or romantic relationship.
In addition, reach out to people who’ve been in similar situations. Or, talk to like-minded people. Seeking validity and support is a huge benefit to your confidence.
By doing this, you’ll remember what makes you a great friend and person, it will highlight your positive traits and ultimately help to rebuild confidence.
To rebuild confidence you need to rediscover your post-divorce freedom. This is the time to figure out who you are separate from your spouse or any other romantic partner.
If you’re still partaking in activities and daily habits that you used to do with your spouse, these constant reminders are probably getting you down. Begin with phasing out things that used to be ‘couple activities’ and marriage routines.
By doing this, you’re freeing up personal time and shedding baggage that lowers your self-esteem. Now you can consider trying new things, incorporating new hobbies into your life, or focusing on your social life.
Is there something you’ve always wanted to try but have never got around to? This is the time to start! Perhaps you’ve always been interested in painting or curious about dancing — join a class. Maybe you’ve thought about sprucing up your garden or have always wanted to learn a language — throw yourself into new things.
By choosing to reinvent and empower yourself by trying new things, you’ll boost your confidence. As you begin to learn, test your capabilities and skills or simply find something you love doing your self-esteem benefits.
Sign up for classes, do that tutorial, pick up that book, volunteer at that place. Move beyond who you think you are towards who you want to be. Reclaim your freedom and reinvent your individual identity to rebuild self-esteem.
Sometimes boosting your confidence is as simple as acting the way you want to feel. Living with intention is a powerful tool to change your life in a positive way. If you hope to be happier, choose to be happy — smile at strangers, sing along to your favorite song.
If your goal is to be someone who is more active, then get moving. It may feel disingenuous at first, but creating strong habits is the first step. Living with intention is the next step.
By choosing to behave in a positive way, you create a positive environment and life for yourself.
Furthermore, set yourself challenges and goals. These start small with challenges such as ‘smile at three strangers today.’ As you begin to feel better about yourself, set yourself greater challenges and positive goals.
Accomplishing the challenges that you’ve set for yourself will make you feel good and boost your self-esteem.
There are times when anxiety and feelings of helplessness and hopelessness will become overwhelming. This is natural and normal and it’s important that you allow yourself the space to grieve. Feeling pain, disappointment, and sadness when a marriage ends is healthy and common emotions after a separation.
That being said, you want to avoid sinking into pits of despair that you cannot get out of. When you’re working to build your confidence you don’t want to take two steps backward whenever you feel overwhelmed with negative emotions.
Therefore it’s important to create coping mechanisms that you can turn to in your darkest hours of insecurity. This could be something as simple as a positive-affirming mantra that you repeat to yourself. It may be phoning a friend or meditating.
A calming coping mechanism is different for everyone. Explore activities or habits which make you feel good and turn to these when a wave of emotion threatens to knock you down.
There are a few major advantages of exercise when it comes to boosting self-esteem and regaining confidence after divorce. Incorporating exercise into your life isn’t about throwing yourself into crazy workout programs to attain the ‘perfect body.’ It can be as simple as taking a daily walk.
Research has shown time and time again the positive effects of exercise on mental health. Exercise improves physical health, boosts endorphins, improves your mood, and helps to relieve stress. These are all things you need after a divorce.
Furthermore, feeling your physical body become stronger and more capable is guaranteed to improve your self-confidence and body image.
Another benefit of exercise is the social aspect. You may choose to go walking with a friend, join a running group or take part in yoga retreats. This is an excellent way to create new connections and expand your support network — ultimately boosting your confidence.
This is the most crucial of post-divorce tips. If you find that your self-esteem isn’t improving, that you’re slipping into depression, or that you’re feeling stuck in despair, you should seek professional help.
Sometimes you can do everything right and still struggle. There is no shame in seeking out the help of a therapist — it’s a courageous decision that you will come to admire about yourself.
Mental health professionals can equip you with tools to improve your self-esteem and strengthen your mental health. They can guide you through cognitive behavioral therapy. This focuses on changing your perceptions about yourself and the world around you.
Furthermore, a psychologist is an objective point of support who can help you to see things differently and can highlight your strengths and abilities. There are many good reasons to go to therapy, the first step is just about deciding to do it.
Choosing to believe in yourself and persevere in the face of struggle may sound like a pre-football game speech. Bu,t that is what it’s going to take to come out of your divorce stronger than ever.
Regaining confidence after divorce is no simple feat, but by investing in yourself and your life you’ll get back your self-esteem and feelings of self-worth.
If you’re seeking advice, support, or information to help you through your divorce, explore the 2houses blog for all of the resources you need. Or, contact us for more details.
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