I meet a lot of martyrs.
"My life is the worst."
"My ex is the worst."
Out in the world of divorced men and women and almost divorced men and women, there are a lot of Debbie and Davvy Downers.
I'm not saying that going through a divorce has made me happy 24/7, but that there were three things, three game changers that I did in order to be happy after divorce.
Someone please tell me: Did you go through the heartaches of divorce only to be unhappy once again? Because I thought the point of getting a divorce was to change your life for the better.
I am not denying the devastations of divorce. Financially, it has been hard.
For my child, it has been hard. There were intense moments of grief. With the holidays coming up, I am sure there will be hard moments for myself and my child.
But guess what? It has also been great. It has also gotten better. I am happy.
Call me crazy, but I believe my ex and I chose to divorce because we weren't making each other happy and the point was to find happiness.
Yet so many people trudge on in anger and bitterness.
What is the point of divorce then? How do people live on like that?
Here are the three game changers that helped me feel happy, yes happy damnit, during the divorce process:
1. It's in the Past:
Sometimes when my ex gets stressed, I notice he will take it out on me and bring up whatever things he doesn't like about me or perhaps bring up an old fight.
'What is the point?" I say.
You can't undo the past. End the references to old fights. You will never make them better. You will most likely, never get that "I'm sorry" from your ex that you always wanted. You will never repair the marriage if it didn't repair when you tried to save it from divorce.
Move on. Move past it.
Your ex will never be who you need and vice versa. You will both dislike aspects of each other and that's okay. You're not married anymore. It's not either of your jobs to change one another. Just deal with each other like adults for the kids.
There were many times during counseling I told him he had to let go so we could move forward. It didn't happen, but I am letting go. I have let go.
The past is gone. I don't care to change. I am enjoying the present.
Let it go already. Forgive and move forward. Your life is waiting for you.
2. I Focus on Me:
No one can give me the life I want-- only I can.
I focused on my job, my health, my friends, my joys, and my child! I didn't look for another man to come and bandage me up. I am not broken. I worked on the issues that were important to me to address and I promised to myself that I will not repeat the past nor get involved with anyone romantically who makes me feel bad or is not a positive in my life.
I don't need a hero. I am a damn hero in my own story and focusing on me has made me a better match than I was the day I walked down the aisle. Deal with your own stuff. Make yourself a better you. It rocks!
3. I Stopped Comparing Myself to Others (Mostly):
I spent a girls' weekend away recently. A friend's husband paid to fly us out for her birthday.
All of my friends there are my close ones and all are in good marriages. For a minute, I felt bad.
I was the only one going through a divorce. I had failed. Right?
Well yes, the marriage didn't work out but after an hour or so, I got over it. I am not my friends and they are not me. We have different life lessons to learn. Someone else always has it better than you. Hotter wife, better job, bigger home, nicer husband, fancier car, etc. You cannot win in the competition of "I want to be the best in everything!" You will always lose.
I have had many women passive-aggressively hint how much better I have it because my ex is a great dad.
I am blessed. He is a good dad!
But there are many women who are divorced and working less than I am. Seeing their kids more.
I could compare my life with others until I am blue in the face and all it will do is make me sad. Depressed. Bitter.
I don't bother with that, and neither should you.
I compete with myself.
I compete with my past work. My past relationships. My past choices.
I strive to do better than I did before.
Now that is a realistic and worthy game to play after divorce.
It's not easy to divorce but don't be fooled: your life is not over. It's only over if you decide it is and I for one have decided that the band plays on.
I have friends, a wonderful kid, a job, passions, a roof over my head, food... It's my turn to show the world what I've got so excuse me, I've got some sunshine to spread.