There are few things that strike our lives as completely and profoundly as getting divorced. Truth is, it’s impossible to articulate its impact, the experience is that overwhelming.
So many women have written to me in search of ideas, books, magic potions, anything to help ease the trek through the inevitable difficulty that becomes our everyday lives during the splitting up of a marriage. Regardless of the reasons, the walk through is a task that feels beyond description.
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If I could, I would try to come up with the three easy tips to a speedy, relaxed recovery. Unfortunately I already know that nothing we gain in our lives, that is truly great, is ever fast or easy.
For most who ask, I share the one clear known fact I know about the pain of divorce. The first and most effective ingredient to the recipe for healing is…. time. And time is something we can’t buy, fake, deny, or hurry, we simply have to wait for it.
I wish I could fast-forward two years for people standing on the brink of divorce. It’s just about the amount of time it takes for the daunting fog that becomes our lives to settle enough for us to breath in the way we remember breathing.
Bottom line is we can’t fast forward life. That’s the point. It’s the actual walking through the hard stuff that defines the most important parts of who we become. But we can look ahead and ready for what will come. If you jump into the middle of the freezing cold ocean alone with no sight of land around you, panic will set in. But if you think about the jump, bring a wet suit and a life jacket, ask some people you love to sit in a row boat beside you…the experience becomes something else.
Navigating divorce feels emotionally like the flip side of falling in love. We are as naked and vulnerable emotionally as we’ve ever felt. When we fall in love its like we throw our heart on the ground and trust that no one is going to run over it. Takes the same kind of courage and faith to get through the ending of love.
The emotional rollercoaster, and that’s what it is, can be terrifying. Yet regardless of the dips and curves and blind spots, the good news is we know for a fact is that it will ultimately end. No matter how I say it, paint it, or see it for you, the least you can hang on to with absolute assurance, is that the train wreck of emotion we feel will fade.
If there ever were a time to decide to make a change in yourself, it would be so fitting during this experience. I’m not talking about the kind of change other people can see. I mean the kind of change that only you will know and you can feel. As often as words of wisdom fall on smiling faces and deaf ears, sometimes it pays to listen and take action.
Besides surrounding yourself with the people you love and the support you need. Besides knowing it’s okay to lose it and to question every single thing in life you ever thought you could count on. Besides making sure you do things to get your attention off yourself, because the experience of divorce can render you so sick of yourself you won’t know what to do. There is something I know for sure if I could bottle, would bring the kind of peace and faith that would make all of our experiences ones we could manage with faith and pride.
This is the time in your life when you have to learn to champion yourself. Become the kind of support to yourself that you were to your husband, and that you are to your kids. As women we move mountains for everyone but ourselves. Divorce is the gun-to-the-head opportunity we have to become for ourselves who we are to so many others. Get a hold of all the strength you have inside, use what you already have, and steer it for the first time in your own direction. Give yourself the break, the time, the love, the support, and the faith. And that is what will take you the furthest and the fastest.
Believe you can do it, and you will.
This essay originally appeared on ABC News.