Divorce means then end of “you” as you may have defined yourself for the years after you assumed the role of spouse and in-law. Along with the role came dreams, plans for the future, and purpose. And yes, some responsibilities, obligations, status and lists of things to do, places to go and family concerns.
Divorce means that you are giving up the role and many of the things that you saw as going along with that role. Now what?
Laying the foundation for the future means drawing a line in the sand between the past and the future and taking some actions which support moving toward the future. Here are 3 steps to take in building that foundation:
1. Start with boundaries – internal boundaries so that you can choose quicker to stop looking backwards and start moving forwards. And external boundaries that prevent the past from intruding into the “new you” space. Boundaries for your ex-spouse that tell them that we are no longer in the same relationship. Even if you are co-parents you will not honor requests that you accepted as normal as a spouse – doing chores, buying gifts, making arrangements, fixing broken things. And as with all boundaries, you must get agreement, yes, even from yourself, that you will respect the request not to cross this boundary. And you agree that if you do, there will be consequences, like having to say “I was wrong” and reaffirming your commitment not to cross that boundary again.
2. Creating a purpose or a new vision for the future which pulls you forward with such power that you do not want to look back to the past. To define this vision you could:
- Examine your values
- Embrace your best self – who you are when you are at your best
- Discover your passions
- Identify the challenges that really get your juices flowing and create meaning in your life! (Something which applies to you as much as it does to others!)
3. Developing the ability to “Let Go” is the 3rd step for building the foundation for the future. The past has the ability to keep you trapped in “what should have been”, “what didn’t happen”, and “all of the sacrifice you made” with the power of a ten-ton truck pulling you backwards fueled by resentment and regret. By being able to take a deep breath and letting go of all of those disempowering beliefs you will find the last boost for propelling yourself forward without the drag from the past. And this is something you may have to do every hour of every day until you look in the mirror and see the person you wanted to become.