Divorce Allowed Me to Become More Authentic

The ending of a marriage is also the beginning of a new life: one in which you can define your own narrative and live more authentically.

become more authentic

Those of you who read my work regularly, know that I wrote a book about my painful divorce experience.  What you may not know is that I realized during that time that I had the power to write my own narrative, and redefine myself as I saw fit.

Many people think divorce is a sign of failure, or they think that people who get divorced have some horrible problems.  The fact is a divorce is often an act of courage and strength; it’s a course correction that is a painful, but necessary process.

I’m not saying one shouldn’t fight to save a marriage; I believe marriage is sacred and if one can save a marriage, then that is what one should do. However, experience has taught me that sometimes the only way to work it out is to say goodbye.

The Power of Letting Go

I used to tell my coaching clients that divorce is like a birth because it is very painful, but in the end, there’s a new life waiting to explore. The act of letting go that comes with divorce is not a passive one (as most people will say), but an active one. There’s great power in letting go, and in the case of divorce determining what to let go of and what to keep from our old selves as we create the new one.

When I got divorced, I felt an entire roller coaster of emotions. I was sad, I was ashamed, I was lonely, I was relieved, and I was excited to be feeling so free.

It was an odd and difficult time in my life, and sometimes when I think back to that time, it still feels odd (even more so now that my ex is dead). However, in that time period, I found complete freedom from the noise of other people to really be able to choose me, and you can use that same freedom to choose you.

3 Ways Divorce Can Help You Become More Authentic:

  1. Divorce can be a time of deep introspection.  Maybe you were married for 3 days or 3 decades. Your life may have revolved around your spouse, and now you feel like you’ve lost a limb.  For me, this was almost like I had survived a plane crash as the only survivor, and also like I had died and was cut off from the world. As I said, it was an odd time. However, during this time period, you can perform an autopsy of the relationship and yourself. Were you really happy in the marriage? Were there things you wanted to do, but held back because your spouse would never approve?  Whatever the situation, divorce can be a time of introspection where the results guide you in your development as a post-divorce being.
  2. Learning new things can be difficult for anyone, but post-divorce there may be new things to learn about yourself and the world, as you now have the power to write your own narrative. What kind of story would you tell about yourself? Who do you want to be in this new time of your life?
  3. When grieving remember to include grief for the things you wanted to do, but did not do, and take note of those to determine what actions you can take post-divorce.

Writing Your New Narrative for Your New Life

However you write your narrative, make sure that it is living your authentic truth and that you are building your life rather than feeling torn down. It takes time to write the new narrative, but doing so allows you to be liberated from the past in ways that don’t hide the pain, but use it to transform yourself into the you that you always wanted to be. Start by asking yourself:

  • Who do I want to be? 
  • What do I need to do to become that person? 

Photo by Karyme França

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