Finding inner peace after divorce takes a long, long time for most people. The journey is a struggle that often feels hopeless. It consists of a roller coaster of emotions along with lots of mistakes and self-reflection, mingled with those moments of sheer joy and surprise at inner strength and courage you never knew you had.
Of the tens of thousands of comments and questions I have received over the years, this one might be one of the most inspiring:
Divorce sucks. I did a lot of the wrong things in my marriage and don't blame her for leaving. I own it. I do wish however she stayed to see my transformation and give us another chance. I hate that we can't be together as a family with the kids. I hate some other male figure will be in my kids lives. But I did it and own it. At least I am becoming a better person as a result #getcleanandsober
Whoever this guy is, I want to give him a huge hug and tell him how extremely amazing I think he is.
"I don't blame her for leaving."
"I own it."
"I did it."
"I am becoming a better person as a result."
These are statements that only winners would make. As devastated and knocked down as this guy is, he has STRENGTH and COURAGE, which led him to the one thing I think paves the way to finding inner peace after divorce:
His hash tag at the end: #getcleanandsober speaks volumes. I'm not sure if this guy realizes how special he is. Countless men and women with addiction issues don't have the self-awareness needed to overcome the addiction, in my opinion, even after a divorce. This is a real man who has guts, and I respect him unbelievably.
Self-awareness is defined as "knowing self well," but put in the context of divorce, I think it means having the courage to look in the mirror and say, "Hey, a lot of this (or all) was my fault." That is something I RARELY hear from any men or women getting divorced, and so many refuse to take ANY accountability for the split.
Think about it. When asked "Why did you get divorced?" people answer:
My husband left me.
My wife cheated.
My husband's an asshole.
My wife's a bitch.
We grew apart.
We never loved each other..
The only time I ever heard someone take blame for any part of his divorce was a couple years ago when I was sitting at a Bears game and I met this guy sitting behind me. I'll never forget. He said,
"I really didn't treat my ex-wife like I should have. I loved her so much and I did some really stupid things that I truly regret now. I tried very hard to get her back but couldn't and I have to live with that now."
Isn't that more refreshing and honest than someone who plays the victim and takes NO RESPONSIBILITY for anything that went wrong?? It's maddening how some people just can't see anything. It's like they are blind. Who knows? Maybe it's easier to point blame at someone else instead of owning up with the intent to do better moving forward.
The bottom line is, I think to find peace, acceptance and happiness in life after divorce--to really move on, a person needs the courage and strength to become self-aware. Self-awareness is the first step to making changes in your life to be the person you really want to be.
No one is perfect, but I think we would all agree that each of us strives to continue to grow and evolve into a person we like more and more with each day.
No one can teach a person how to obtain self-awareness. It has to come from within. Faith, therapy, and leaning on friends and family help, but it's really up to you to pave your own road and get there.
Jackie Pilossoph is the author of her blog, Divorced Girl Smiling, and the comedic divorce novels, Divorced Girl Smiling and Free Gift With Purchase. She also writes feature stories, along with the weekly dating and relationships column, Love Essentially" for Chicago Tribune Media Group local publications. Pilossoph lives in Chicago. Oh, and she's divorced.