Surviving Divorce -- and Making Your Life Better Than Ever

Step 5: Courage: Changing the Direction of Your Life

Divorce is about letting go, as painful as that process can be. This workshop is about using that pain to improve your life, and if you've made it this far, you're on the right track. For the past few lessons, we've been doing a lot of psychological and emotional work. The focus of this installment is on taking the first action steps toward changing your life for the better. When you're ready to do this for yourself, you'll have truly transformed your divorce experience into one of gain rather than loss.

Make Today Your Day to Change
Have you ever wanted to try something new, but decided that it wasn't the right time? This is definitely the right time. Making positive changes can be as simple as meeting a new friend or taking an adult education class in your area. Your new developments could also be more substantial, like changing jobs or moving to a new town. Either way, using your divorce as a catalyst means that you've got a chance to turn your life into something extraordinary.

Taking risks is scary, but it's not as scary as standing still for 20 years. How many people do you know who are still caught up in doing the same thing, with the same people, day after day, and talking about "one day" when they find their pot of gold? Ordinary people wait for the pot of gold to show up, and extraordinary people go out and mine their gold. Extraordinary people hold themselves accountable for their choices, their actions, their destination. They don't wait for "one day" because they know that day is today.

On the next page: 3 ways to nurture yourself -- and keep the momentum going

Choose to Be Extraordinary
It has been said that the difference between an ordinary life and an extraordinary life is only the intention, the commitment that you make to yourself. What stands between you and the life you've always wanted to lead? When my marriage ended, I too was faced with this question, but eventually committed myself to using my divorce as a catalyst for change. It was a tall order because, in my mind, there could be no bigger challenge than turning this bad situation into a blessing in disguise. I knew that to grow to the heights I aspired to, I would have to reexamine all of my behaviors and actions. I began dwelling on these questions: What would I do if I were extraordinary? How would I live? How would I speak? How could I have an extraordinary relationship with my ex-husband? It was apparent that the choice was mine. I wanted to know how extraordinary people thought and what commitments guided their choices and actions. And I wanted to know how I, Debbie Ford, an ordinary woman, could lead an extraordinary life. If you're ready to turn your life into the extraordinary experience you deserve, try the Healing Action Steps below.

Healing Action Steps:
You can complete these exercises in a private journal.

  1. Create a divorce vow that will inspire you to behave in ways consistent with the kind of person you want to be. Share your divorce vow with two people, and enlist the support of your friends and family to keep you true to this higher vision.
  2. The next exercise is a visual reminder of the future that you want to call forth. Look through all your favorite magazines. Gather pictures that inspire you. Select 10 to 20 images that represent things you love, places you would like to go or activities you want to be doing. Find images and words that excite you. Then take a piece of cardboard or construction paper and put together a collage that calls forth an exciting future. Hang it in a place where you can see it daily.
  3. Make a list of your daily behaviors and practices. Then make another list of what you believe would be the behaviors and practices of the extraordinary person you want to be. Compare your lists and decide what adjustments you'd be willing to make.

You've done it! By completing the Divorce Survival Love Lesson, you've taken the first step in healing from your divorce -- and creating the life you've always wanted. Keep the momentum going in the coming months by making positive changes for yourself whenever you have the chance. Take a yoga class, go to a support group, get a makeover, purchase new clothes or take a hike in the woods. Take risks that enhance your self-esteem then write in your journal about how you felt after nurturing yourself. After all, you deserve it.

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