Surviving Divorce -- and Making Your Life Better Than Ever

Step 4:Self Love: Recognizing Your Worth

The process of healing is never easy, but if you've made it this far, you're on the right track. We have covered facing your fears and allowing change to happen. The focus of this lesson is even more personal: identifying and reclaiming the unique and wonderful gifts that you brought to your marriage. In order to use your divorce for understanding more about yourself, it's essential that you make this connection.

Why We Love the People We Do
It starts with our own gifts and what we bring to a relationship. Just as we project negative aspects of ourselves onto our partners, we also project our light. When most of us fall in love, it is because we are seeing our disowned light in someone else. We see in our mates a part of ourselves that is hidden, and we're attracted to them because we believe that they will make us whole.

For example, when I met my husband, I was excited by his brilliant mind and the way he articulated his thoughts. Eventually I figured out that I had projected my own brilliance onto Dan because I had always had issues about not being smart enough. So of course I had been attracted to a man who went to an Ivy League school, was highly credentialed and had attained many academic awards. What I needed to realize was that I was blessed not with Dan's kind of brilliance but with my own kind. Dan was school-smart, and I was street-smart. Both are highly valuable traits. In order for me to move on from my divorce, I needed to reclaim the brilliance I had transferred onto Dan and recognize my own intellectual gifts. After taking back my projections, I could once again see how much I have to offer.

Take Back Your Special Gifts

Now, try to take the time to see what you were attracted to in your partner. Once you understand this connection, you'll be able to reclaim any aspects you have given away to him, consciously or unconsciously. Maybe your husband is walking away with your success or your stature in life. Maybe your husband is leaving with your kindness and compassion. Did you give your husband your sexiness and now fear that you won't have access to it if he leaves? Is your husband walking out the door with the part of you that is powerful and strong? You gave these parts of yourself away because you believed that they were qualities that only your partner possessed, but now it's time to take them back. Until you do this, it will be impossible to fully let him or her go.

Healing Action Steps:
If you're ready to bring this lesson to life, you can record your thoughts in a private journal.

  1. List three people you admire and identify three qualities in each of them that you would like to emulate. Close your eyes and identify where or when in your life you've displayed each quality. What behaviors and actions would bring theses qualities more fully into your life?
  2. Identify the qualities in your partner that initially attracted you. Think about what you fell in love with or what you are still yearning for. Even if you're angry, it's important to uncover the qualities in your partner that you love or admire.

Next: Changing the Direction of Your Life

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