Does having been divorced make you feel like a loser in the game of life? It shouldn’t.
No one is immune to things going wrong, or cruel twists of fate. Everyone makes mistakes: in love, in their careers, in innocent decisions that at times have catastrophic consequences.
If you start believing that you are “cursed,” or that you can no longer trust your own judgment, then your doubts will inevitably erode your self-confidence. And that would be pointless and self-defeating.
Instead of looking at your divorce as a loss of time, effort, and esteem, consider it a growth experience. After all, every experience — be it good, bad, or indifferent — teaches us valuable life lessons. If anything, your divorce served as a comprehensive relationship primer. Some of its lessons should be invaluable to you: both in enhancing your ability to discern the potential for new primary relationships, and in reassessing and enhancing other relationships as well.
It should also have revealed many personal strengths and exposed some emotional hot-spots. In acknowledging this, you can now better formulate a path for personal growth.
Which brings us back to the issue of trust. After such a traumatic experience, you need to be able to trust again — not only others, but also yourself — to take the lessons learned in divorce and apply them to the rest of your life.
Let’s recap some of those lessons:
Lesson #1: Don’t be afraid to get back into the game. You require an open heart and an open mind to move away from the fear that you can’t trust your judgment when it comes to relationships. You can trust yourself, and you are worthy of that trust, so get back into the dating game.
Lesson #2: Open your eyes and read the signs. If your instincts tell you that something is not right with a situation, or for that matter, a prospective partner, then listen to those feelings. Don’t be afraid to ask a trusted friend or relative for a second opinion. Make sure you weigh their advice carefully — even if it isn’t what you wanted to hear.
Lesson #3: Create a game plan. Make a list of what you seek in your next mate. Stick to the list, but build in some leeway. The best way to do this is to have a few mandatory traits, such as trust, compassion, integrity, mutual respect, and passion. Other desired items give your list the flexibility it needs. That way, if you have 20 or so items on the list and you’ve found someone who meets the top six “must-haves,” you can consider this prospect as someone deserving of your attention.
Lesson #4: Don’t rush anything. Let nature take its course. Take all the time you need to assess your needs, and to determine whether one or several prospective partners meet the criteria that you’ve set. The only way you’ll know this is to date several people before settling down into an exclusive relationship. Taking time allows you to see this person in various situations and then assess whether his way of handling himself meets your standards. Better yet, taking time reinforces the reason why you deserve to trust yourself: because you are worthy of it.
John Gray, author of the best selling book Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus has recently launched the Ask Mars Venus Coaching program.