The number one question I get via emails and messages is how to survive divorce. Women message me on the brink of deciding, or when they're in the messy middle. When you cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel, and when you're swimming in the darkness, it just so HARD to figure a way out.
So if you asked me today - if you messaged me and said, "Becky. What do I do?" Here's what I would tell you:
1) Find a tribe. Our friends are going to want to fix us. They're going to want to have us out for girl's nights, over for dinner, or shopping. They're going to want to fill our silence with jokes and laughter and *things*.
This is important:
You don't need fixed. You don't need shopping dates, or dinner dates, or speed dating. You need a tribe of people that are willing to sit with you when all you want to do is run. You need a tribe of people that are willing to put their arms around you in the silence. You need a tribe of people that will breathe deeply when you've forgotten how.
2) Make a plan. Take a deep breath, pick a go date, and stick to it. Write it down, make space for it in your life, and do not falter. For me, the worst part of divorce was the constant and oppressive uncertainty. Having a plan helped.
On the very worst days, I took out a piece of paper, and I planned out my entire day. What time I would get up. What time I would shower. What time I would get dressed. What time I would go to work. What I would have for breakfast. A plan - even that detailed - helped me through. It will for you, too.
Sidenote: When I was in the messy middle, one of my very good friends pulled me aside at a basketball game and told me to just do the next right thing. Glennon Doyls says this a lot, too. Just take a deep breath, look at what needs to be done next.
3) Pick up a pen and paper, and start journaling. The best gift my dad gives me every year is a journal. I have a journal filled with prayers. Every day, I picked up a pen and wrote my prayer down for the next day. A few months ago, I was moving my room all around, and I came across that particular book. I was amazed at my own healing -- at my own growth.
So journal. And not just to help you through each day, but to help you realize just how far you have come.
4) Find a counselor. If you're cringing here, know that I love you. But also know that I find this to be a non-negotiable.
Side note: My counselor told me to draw a timeline of my marriage in one color, and then above it draw a timeline of the times I was happy. Maybe you need a visual such as this, as well.
5) Practice self-care. Wash your hair. Put on a clean shirt. Sit out on your patio in the sunshine. Meditate. Feel your heart beat and know that, while it's broken, it's still beating.
6) Forgive. If you're cringing here, know that I love you. But also know that I find this to be a non-negotiable.
Sidenote: My friend Lauren at From Blacktop to Dirt Road has an excellent exercise about letting go. Ball your fist up as tightly as you can, and whisper into your fist every single wrong, every single hurt that you're carrying. Tighten you fingers, feel the pull of the muscles in your hand. Take a deep breath, and then open your hand and
let. it. go.
Tomorrow is a new day, loves. You are worth every second of potential happiness that it will bring. Let's choose that for ourselves tomorrow. ❤️
And if you're not walking through this desert, be gentle with those that are. I've long believed that those of us that make it through this hegira should earn some kind of medal or crown.
Or maybe a pin for our lapels that says, "I FREAKING MADE IT THROUGH THE STORM."