- Notice the small acts of love and kindness from those we least expect in our communities and families. Tell yourself you deserve this attention.
- Taking a small risk can help you build your self-esteem. Mary was feeling dysfunctional during the early stages of her divorce and barely had the energy to cook meals for her son. So she and her son went to a fast-food restaurant. As they were eating hamburgers and French fries, she noticed a woman who wasn't wearing a wedding ring sitting at a table with a small child. Mary was new in the community and most of her friends had abandoned her because they were "couple friends." She was feeling quite lonely. She took her son by the hand and approached the woman, introduced herself, told her she was going through a divorce, and asked her if she knew of any support groups. In a few minutes of conversation, the woman told Mary she was also divorced and invited her to sit at her table. This total stranger became one of Mary's best friends. Because she was willing to take a risk, Mary found friendship and support.
- Find a nurturing support group. We can accelerate our growth at the difficult time of separation and loss if we are in an atmosphere where honesty and loving acceptance is encouraged and where our burdens are shared. With this in mind, I encourage you to seek out or develop a support group where you can share and process your thoughts and feelings.
- Carry a small notebook entitled, "Good Things about Me." Each day we get positive messages from those around us that we tend to discount because we don't believe them about ourselves. Write down every positive message you hear for a week, such as: "You did a good job on that report," "Your comments were helpful," or "I like your new hairstyle." And don't wait for others to give you positive feedback: find some great things to write about yourself every day. How about "I stood up to the drycleaner, and he respects me now," "I look great in these jeans," or "I helped my daughter get an 'A' on her science report." Read them back when you're having a bad day. Change your internal dialogue by becoming aware of it. Listen to your inner voices and to how you may be giving yourself negative messages on a daily basis. Change the negative to a positive: "I'm a doormat" becomes "I'm a generous person," "I'm too chubby" becomes "I worked out three times this week because I'm committed to my health and well-being."