Almost everyone begins wishing people a Happy New Year as the old year ends and the new year begins. However, not everyone is having a happy new year, or believes a new year will bring happiness. Some people may be getting divorced in January – or maybe January represents the anniversary of their divorce – and still others may be preparing to get divorced as the result of a resolution to take better care of themselves. And then there’s the adult child impacted by divorcing parents (or the parents of a divorcing couple).
In any event, for divorcing people, the New Year may be a cause for anger or sorrow rather than celebration. In recognition of this, respond kindly when people do not seem appreciative of the happy new year greeting you offer. It is also important to remember that with the new year comes a new opportunity: opportunity for rebirth, opportunity for greatness, and unfortunately opportunity for more painful experiences.
If you’re experiencing an unhappy new year for whatever reason, please remember to be kind to yourself. Kindness is the best gift you can give yourself and others at this time. Kindness allows you to view yourself as you would a friend going through a painful experience, and it also allows you to find ways to bring yourself the same kind of joy you’d want your friend to experience.
Unhappy New Year? Leave Resentment Behind
If at all possible, do not carry resentment into the new year. I have learned in life that eventually the truth comes out. Given enough time, people show their true colors – and sometimes, those colors change: my ex-husband apologized to me before he died in 2014. Releasing the resentment doesn’t mean you have to keep someone in your life. Resentment will eat you alive, but it may have little to no effect on the person you resent. The other person may not know you resent them – or, if you’ve told them how you feel, maybe they don’t care if you resent or even hate them.
For your own sake, take the high road. I have been known to say, “May God bless you with a long life – far away from me.” This way I am wishing everyone blessings, but letting it be known I need my space away from their influence.
Embrace the “New” in “New Year”
Find a new community, hobby, or something else to get you into the next phase of your life, or perhaps to help stop you from replaying or even reliving your past. Divorce-related thoughts sometimes feel like an audio player with no “off” button – just the same negative thoughts on endless replay in your mind. Break yourself free! You won’t experience true freedom until you’re free from these thoughts that wear you down.
Every day, you wake up with the same opportunity to make choices about who you will be today, what you will believe today, what thoughts you will express today, and what actions those thoughts will inspire. Make sure your choices are in line with who you want to be.
Make Time to Grieve – and Make Time to be Happy Again
It’s OK to sit with the feelings and process them, but be sure to allow time for new life as well. I set time aside in my week to grieve when I feel like I need to. If you fight these feelings, they will persist. What you resist persists, so the trick is to figure out how to surrender to these feelings in small, manageable amounts so that they will move out of your life and you can enjoy yourself again. Grief is an emotion, but it’s also a process, and you can take steps to process the emotion without losing your mind or surrendering to despair.