FIND YOUR­SELF AF­TER SEP­A­RA­TION AND DI­VORCE

Re­la­tion­ships in­her­ently ask us to com­pro­mise, and when those re­la­tion­ships end, we’re of­ten left with many habits, be­hav­iours and even ways of think­ing and be­ing that are still ‘ us’ rather than ‘ me’. Sep­a­ra­tion of­fers a unique op­por­tu­nity to re­claim y

Lift Magazine - - Contents - By Naomi Gora

Ex­er­cise 1 Re­claim your home

This is a great ex­er­cise to get ‘pin-happy’ on Pin­ter­est with. Yes, I’m giv­ing you per­mis­sion to waste time on Pin­ter­est, ex­cel­lent home­work, right? Whether you’re stay­ing in your fam­ily home or mov­ing into a new one, re­claim­ing it and making it your own is a great way of re­dis­cov­er­ing who you are. It’s also an im­por­tant way of re-build­ing your self-con­fi­dence.

If this seems too daunt­ing, try one room at a time. The bed­room is a great place to start, re­place your bed­ding, pil­lows and art­work with fab­rics and colours that you love - and if you’re low on funds, get busy on Pin­ter­est any­way, that way when you are ready you’ll al­ready have a bunch of de­li­cious ideas that will light you up and make the whole process that much more ex­cit­ing (and do-able!).

Ex­er­cise 2 Get out of your rou­tine

As sin­gle mums, we know how im­por­tant rou­tines are to keep­ing our lives run­ning, but it’s ok to let go of that rou­tine and make time for you too, in fact, you’ll be amazed at how many new and ex­cit­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties it will cre­ate.

Even if it seems like more ef­fort than it’s worth, making time for your­self, even at the ex­pense of rou­tine is es­sen­tial to your re­cov­ery.

So, set a monthly girls night out and don’t can­cel it no mat­ter how tempted or tired you are, find a baby sit­ting club or com­mit to set­ting aside time each day to really look at what YOU want and need.

Ex­er­cise 3 Find a new crew

Sep­a­ra­tion can also mean a change in the dy­nam­ics of your friend­ship cir­cle, so it’s a good time to make new friends. You don’t need to ditch your old ones, but it can boost your self-es­teem to seek out new so­cial in­ter­ac­tions. It can also re­mind you of things you may have for­got­ten about your­self...per­haps you’re a great con­ver­sa­tion­al­ist, or you’re fun­nier than you thought you were.

Great places to start are your chil­dren’s school or day care cen­tre. Be bold! If your child al­ways talks about a cer­tain friend, see if you can leave their par­ents a note to make a play date.

Adult ed­u­ca­tion cour­ses can also pro­vide com­fort­able sit­u­a­tions for so­cial in­ter­ac­tion - you also don’t have to com­mit too much time and they won’t cost you a for­tune.

And then there’s www.meetup.com where you can search for just about any sort of so­cial group you can imag­ine.

If find­ing new friends scares the be­jig­geries out of you, that’s ok, just fo­cus on be­ing in­volved in some­thing rather than putting pres­sure on your­self to make a new friend­ship blos­som. It takes time for that fa­mil­iar­ity to kick in.

Ex­er­cise 4 What’s stop­ping you?

Grab a pen and piece of pa­per and write a list of any­thing your re­la­tion­ship stopped you from do­ing. From the lit­tle things, like per­haps wear­ing cer­tain clothes, to the big things like ca­reer choices. Then ask your­self if you can do any of those things now. I re­cently heard of a lady who al­ways wanted to be a Doc­tor but felt she couldn’t in her re­la­tion­ship. Af­ter some in­tro­spec­tion, she re­alised it was really im­por­tant to her, so went back to school and did it!

You don’t have to take on some­thing as hefty as a med­i­cal de­gree, but what have you al­ways wanted to do? If you can’t think of any­thing, think back to what you loved do­ing as a child, that’ll give you some clues.

Ex­er­cise 5 What do you want in a new re­la­tion­ship?

Even if you don’t want to find love again yet, writ­ing down what you would like in a re­la­tion­ship will give you some great clues about who you are and what’s im­por­tant to you. And when I ask you to think about what you want in a re­la­tion­ship, I’m not ask­ing you to think about what you want in a man, that’s an en­tirely dif­fer­ent thing. I mean things like... Is it im­por­tant for you to laugh ev­ery day or to not have ar­gu­ments or to have ar­gu­ments and work through con­flict hon­estly or feel that your opin­ion is heard and val­ued? This ex­er­cise will help give you a place to start for our last one...

Ex­er­cise 6 Set your­self some bound­aries

Once you start to get an idea of your new ‘you’, get out that pen and pa­per yet again and write down things you are not will­ing to give up or com­pro­mise on in your new life.

It may be that you won’t tol­er­ate be­ing spo­ken to in a cer­tain way - by a new part­ner or even friends or fam­ily. It may be a hobby that makes you sub­limely happy or it might be a cer­tain time or day that you spend with your chil­dren or do­ing some­thing for your­self. Know­ing who you’re not and what you won’t tol­er­ate is just as im­por­tant as know­ing who you are.

You don’t need to com­plete all th­ese at once, in fact, it should take you some time to work through them all, and then, work through them again at dif­fer­ent stages of your heal­ing. Just start at a pace you are com­fort­able with, and watch your­self blos­som... one pe­tal at a time.

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