Do you fear change after divorce? Are you “stuck”? It could be professionally, socially, personally, spiritually, or all four. Do you feel you need to move forward toward a goal or at least take the next step forward, but don’t know the next move to take?
Well, this is more common than you might think. If you are someone who wants more in your life, you are likely feeling frustrated on that first and best next step.
Why You Shouldn’t Fear Change After Divorce:
There are times in our lives where we want to move forward, but just don’t know how especially after a life event like divorce. Often this comes at a time of transition–empty nest syndrome, a divorce, loss of a job or desire to change careers, illness or death in the family or just simply dissatisfaction or being in a rut. Here is one example:
Rae Ann had done quite a lot in her life. She had reached many goals, earned two college degrees, worked in teaching, writing, public relations and then she married and had a daughter. For years, she also helped her husband in his business and it was successful, but in the meantime, she lost sight of her own goals and lost the momentum she had always known. Her marriage ended in divorce and then her daughter was off to college. She never knew exactly why, but she knew moving forward was not an option. In her late 40’s, she had to get back out there and restart her career, maybe date and establish a new circle of friends, even get more involved in her community. She had to be more than she knew she was but just felt “stuck”.
One major reason you fear change after divorce is fear.
“Fear” is primarily the reason for not moving forward. It involves a failure to plan and act. Although life may not be perfect, basic needs are being met and who knows what change might bring? The thought is, “What if I change and things become even less satisfying than they are now?” You might be unhappy or at least less happy than you’d like to be, but at least it is life as you know it. It is your routine and in your (get ready), your comfort zone. You have a fear of getting out of your comfort zone.
The result of “fear” is procrastination. You don’t move forward out of fear and it keeps you stagnant where you remain in a state of dissatisfaction which could last for the rest of your life and as you get older, you will regret that you didn’t take that first step forward which likely would have led to the next step, and the next and a place where your hopes and dreams come true.
There are four primary needs all of us experience throughout life. These are:
Certainty: To be certain of people, places and things, yet too much certainty can create boredom and ultimately unhappiness especially when a person feels like they want things to change, but don’t act to change.
Variety: The saying, “Variety is the Spice of Life,” is true. If a person does the same day in and day out, the variety need is not being met. If a person has no variety, there is clearly a need for change in whatever the area of life is involved—personal, social, professional, spiritual or a combination of the four. Or maybe, there is too much variety and not enough certainty or significance.
Significance: We need to be significant in all areas of life. Feeling significant to family, friends, and community, significant in the fact that our work is important, even significant spiritually in that we hold a belief in something and are helping others.
Love/Connection: The need to love, care and be connected to others including friends, family, partners, and others.
Being aware of this, ask yourself, what needs are not being met in the way you want them to be. In order to move forward, you have to create a vision of what your needs are in any or all of the categories.
Write each category down on a sheet of paper and list both the pros and cons in each category. What is positive and what is negative about the “Certainty” needs in your life? What is positive and what is negative about the “Variety” needs in your life” What is positive and what is negative about the “Significance” needs in your life? What is positive and what is negative about the “Love/Connection” needs in your life?
Next, envision what would make you happy in each of the categories and write these down. This is your vision for your future. Got it all down on paper? Writing it makes it tangible.
Now ask yourself, what do I need to do to make my “Vision” happen? Do this on another page. It might be taking a risk in “certainty” temporarily to become happier. It might mean expanding “variety” in your activities, your job, your personal relationships, your spiritual life to become happier. It might be finding ways to become more “significant” at home, with friends, with your job, your community, your spiritual life to become happier. It might mean taking a leap of faith to find greater satisfaction with caring and loving people in your life now or finding new “love/connections”.
Then finally on a third page and in columns, write down as many things as you can think of to achieve this vision in whatever categories are deficient. This is called “Recalibrating Your Life” which means simply making needed adjustments to achieve greater contentment.
Then, each day, take even one small step toward your goals. You might say that you are basically comfortable in your life (certainty), but you need to get out of your comfort zone, risking what you have known for a period of your life for something even better. Or, you need to make your life more certain, and you can take these steps toward achieving your vision. Do the same with “variety,” “significance” and “love/connections.”
Never fear change after divorce. The key is to move forward each day, even if it’s baby steps. To help yourself, keep a journal for just this purpose and name it “Recalibrating my Life”. For each “tomorrow,” write down the things you will do to move forward in your categories and check them off when you’ve accomplished each step. On days you can’t check off a particular step, move it to the next day.
Remember, work to keep procrastination to a minimum. You will only achieve your “Needs and Dreams” by moving forward each and every day.