Before getting divorced, I was always a confident person who was quite happy to go to things on my own. Somehow this became impossible after my marriage ended. I was no longer a happily married woman who was confident and at ease in any situation. I had no idea who I was anymore. How can you be confident when you don’t know who you are and when your whole world is tumbling?
Our lack of self-belief can even lead to other things going wrong in our lives, including depression and anxiety. So, how can you regain confidence after divorce when nothing feels right?
How to Regain Confidence After Divorce
We often use the words “confidence” and “self-esteem” interchangeably, but there is a difference. Confidence is a belief in our abilities while self-esteem is our overall sense of worth and self. It relates to who you are and what values you stand for. Clearly, the two are linked. Working on building your confidence is a great first step to improve your self-esteem.
When our confidence is at a low, we usually have negative emotions swirling around within us. This is especially true when you are in the process of divorce. It’s hard to know where to start. Sometimes, though, especially at the beginning, the only thing you can do is sit with those emotions and gradually accept them. You’re going to go through all the stages of grief in your own specific way. The worst thing you can do is try to speed up the process or ignore it altogether.
Here are a few tips on how to regain confidence after divorce.
1. Walk or Exercise
Even if you don’t feel like it, try to go for a walk. If you’re an avid runner or gym-goer then go and do a session. However, if you’ve lost all energy, then a gentle stroll can do wonders for your mind. It’s a great way to get your muscles moving and re-energize your mind with more blood flow and oxygen. A good tip is also to remember to look up when you’re walking. Looking up has the added factor of giving yourself a break from your negative thoughts. Try it and see what happens. The simple act of raising your head usually involves opening up your chest so that you take a deeper breath.
Let’s not forget the main advantage of doing even a small amount of exercise. It’s all about creating happy chemicals in our brains. Endorphins are chemicals that are released into our brains when we exercise that make us feel good. If exercise doesn’t sound appealing, what about letting it all out to some loud, crazy music? That can help boost both your dopamine and serotonin levels, more happy chemicals that regulate mood and other functions, including sleep.
2. Write a List of Your Strengths and Read it Every Morning
Another great way to regain confidence after divorce is to remind yourself that you have strengths. It might sound strange if you’re reading this in the midst of despair but you do have something to offer the world. Sadly, the process of divorce often means that we forget about our strengths. Part of regaining your confidence is to reconnect with them.
Try out this worksheet on strengths. You simply highlight three strengths you have and then think about how to use them during that week. The other option is to list ten things you do well. Regardless of which list you prefer, you can keep it next to your bed and read it every morning. This helps force your negative thoughts out, if even for a brief moment. Moreover, waking up with positive thoughts everyday will gradually change your mindset. Believe it or not, those negative emotions and thoughts will get dimmer and more manageable over time.
3. Set Small Goals
Divorce is not a failure. It’s a change.
Anyone who’s been through divorce knows how much we blame ourselves. I can’t remember the amount of times I went over and over in my head what I could have done differently. I even had well-meaning family members telling me that I could fix this. There was nothing to fix though.
Divorce is not a failure. It’s one of those things that happens in life for various reasons, and like with any change, we learn to adapt and move on. We never forget the sense of loss but we find a way to live with it. Divorce changed my life for the better even if it took me years to see it.
Go back to your strengths list and think of small goals that you can do for yourself to honor your dreams and regain confidence. Even if you have to dig deep, there’s bound to be something you’ve put aside for a while that you want to do, whether it’s a new hobby or simply a book you’ve never read. Even cooking yourself a proper meal at least once a week can be a great goal. Again, keep it small but make sure it’s important to you and no one else.
I’m not going to pretend that it will be easy to rebuild confidence after divorce, but you can do it. You’re going to have to figure out what your new identity as a single person is again once you’re boosted your confidence a bit. From there, you’ll have the strength to rebuild your self-esteem. In the meantime, doing some exercise and reconnecting with your strengths can help you see the light again. At the end of the day, it’s about doing things for yourself.
So be selfish and take the time to mourn and deal with each day as it comes. You’ll soon feel better with your regained confidence.