Self-Love After Divorce (Guest Feature)
Allow us to introduce you to Caroline. After meeting Prince Charming, Caroline thought life and love had been fulfilled. However, after a rocky patch in her marriage, Caroline came to realize her dream had turned into a nightmare. A victim of an abusive husband, she fled to start her life anew. Broken by her mistreatment, it wasn’t until she uncovered the importance of herself and the need to love who she is did she start to turn her life around.
What are three things you want people to know about self-love?:
There’s a preconceived idea that self-love is similar to selfishness, that it’s simply caring about what you want and disregarding others around you. Most importantly, that is something easy, done out of laziness.
Self-love takes work. Getting over those feelings of self-doubt and worthlessness is a mountain to climb. If you don’t feel deserving of love, it’s not possible to love yourself. Changing that mindset can be a difficult endeavor, but you come out the other side healthier and happier.
Self-love is also something that’s never complete, at least, that’s how I find it. There’s never a point where I feel ‘ok, now I’ve taken care of myself enough I can carry on’. Self-love is a continual process, something that becomes less or more important as we live of lives.
One opinion of self-love that I saw many people having is that it disregards our faults, that it’s an attempt to make us think we’re perfect. For me, self-love is the complete opposite. It’s a safe place to admit to your own shortcomings, free from damaging self-persecution. It’s where you can see your faults and accept them so you can move on and work on improving.
What's something we can incorporate today to start loving ourselves more?:
A good place to start is to look at your surroundings. Look at the people in your life and consider whether they add to your well-being, or take from it. Don’t feel guilty distancing yourself from those individuals.
No one has the right to a relationship with you, they must earn it. We make sure that bar is very low for the closest people in our lives, particularly our family, and rightfully so. However, if to save yourself you need to cut out toxic relationships, you should not feel ashamed to do so.
Something I found important was the importance of rest. In our day-to-day lives, it’s very easy to forget what rest really is. Whether it’s our constant connection to social media, and the emotional impact it has, or the incessant worries in the back of our minds (we should be working, we should be exercising, we shouldn’t be wasting time), we're never really resting.
Take time to disconnect yourself from these and spend time doing just nothing, it’s eye opening just how impactful it can be.
What has been your own journey with self love?:
My journey to self-love was a difficult one. I had married the man of my dreams at age 30 and we enjoyed almost 8 problem-free years together, however cracks started to appear at year 7.
He had recently been fired from his job, health issues were causing problems, things became a little difficult for us. While we had rough periods before, it wasn’t anything like this. Over time, he started to become resentful and angry, turning our household toxic. Most days he was aggressive and abusive, and I carried on as though it was fine. Deep down I think I believed I was deserving of this treatment.
It was my family who forced me to leave him, something I’m grateful they talked me into. Through a bitter divorce, my depression worsened. The days became long and lonely.
Thankfully I had a friend who understood what I was going through. She saw my problems were exacerbated by view of them. That the lack of respect of myself that I had in marriage carried on well after my divorce. She explained to me the importance of self-love, the need to disregard those doubtful fears and to celebrate that what made me happy.
It was through this discovery I came out of my shell. I threw myself into dating, and most importantly dating who I want to. I opened myself up to my friendship group, something that my fears of rejection and my lack of self-esteem previously stopped me from doing. I started to travel, and sometimes travel alone, something I never thought I was brave enough to do.
While I’m not exactly where I want to be right now, I’m far from that person I was a few years ago. I had always thought my self-worth was something that will eventually be given to me. It wasn’t until I realized it was something I give myself that I began to experience what I loved most.
Lucy, Guest Feature