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  • Writer's pictureSherri M. Herman

Rebuilding Trust in Yourself After Divorce

Have you struggled with trusting yourself after divorce? If so, you’d be normal. 

Society puts the forever-marriage on a pedestal. 

My maternal grandparents were married for 65 years when my grandfather passed away. They were together for a total of about 72 years. According to our culture, they won the marriage lottery. And maybe they did.

But my friend, it’s time to stop comparing. Part of rebuilding your trust in yourself is trusting that you’re on the exact right path for your life. You were born in a different era and a different culture. You never were, and never have been, dependent on marriage for survival or love.

It’s time to give up the assumption that you need to be married (and stay married) in order to be worthy of love, trustworthiness, and to be a good person.

woman releasing petals on bridge

Honest people get divorced.

It takes a hell of a lot of honesty, courage, integrity, and humility to admit that something isn’t working. Or maybe that you're being mistreated, or that you got married for the wrong reasons, that you’re living a lie, that you got married when you were living unconsciously, or that you hate what your life has become, etc.

It doesn't matter. What matters is that you got honest with yourself and you took action.

Some people stay in a miserable marriage for years just so they can fulfill an image of happiness and perfection, meanwhile, their soul is starving for true connection. That is an incredibly lonely life. And as you may already know, chronic loneliness can shave years off your life (nearly 30%) and drastically increase the risk factors of a myriad of health problems including dementia.

Staying in an unworkable marriage to manage other peoples' perceptions of you and your life isn’t worth the cost.

Good and trustworthy people don’t stay married.

Whaa? Hold up - hear me out. I’m not saying that people who stay married aren’t trustworthy people (although sometimes they’re not). I’m saying that you don’t lose your trustworthiness or goodness as a person simply because you have divorced. 

On the contrary, if you are divorced, it means you honored yourself by asking for the divorce or you honored your former spouse by giving them the divorce that they wanted or needed to be a whole person. That is very trustworthy.

Divorce is actually a very loving and trusting thing to do. Yes, I said it. Divorce is a loving thing to do because it relinquishes control. I think it was Gandhi who said that any attempt to control another is an act of violence (but I’m not able to confirm the source at this time). But I would add, that sentiment goes for your relationship with yourself. 

I’m saying, you can trust yourself even more because of where you are. You’ve gone through some seriously hard times and have made some seriously hard choices. And you’re still here. You’re obviously interested in your own growth as a person, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this. That tells me that you can trust yourself to make wise decisions for your life. 

It’s not your fault.

The family system you grew up in plays a significant role in how you experience relationships and view marriage. If getting married and staying married was highly valued, like it was in my family, then you are more likely to have married to get love, approval, and worthiness rather than marrying from that a place of love, approval, and worthiness.

If you were raised in an environment where your feelings, wants, and needs were dismissed, shamed, or minimized, then you were unconsciously trained to dismiss or minimize them within yourself. This pattern will typically be re-created in your relationships because it lives within you. Like-attracts-like, so you were also highly likely to marry someone who embodies those similar emotional-behavioral patterns.

Without intervention, these types of patterns are more likely to lead to a very unhappy marriage and/or divorce.

Can you see how this isn’t your fault? You didn’t get to choose the system you were raised in (and neither did your caregivers). You didn’t get to choose who you were attracted to. You didn’t get to choose the emotional behavioral patterns that were “installed” in you as a child. 

We look in the rearview mirror for understanding not for blame or pointing fingers. We look back so we can see, learn, and then move forward differently. 

You get to decide now. 

Now that you know what you know, you get to decide what’s working for you and what’s not, meaning, what’s adding to your joy in life or what is stealing it. What's energizing and what's draining?

You get to decide what you want to change or not. You get to decide what values matter most to you and to what extent you want those values to guide your life. 

You get to decide what kinds of relationships you want in your life, including the most important relationship in your life: the one with yourself. 

You are worthy of love and respect no matter what.

The task of rebuilding trust in yourself after divorce is multifaceted. It involves embracing acceptance, understanding, and a willingness to see yourself, your relationships, and your life in a new light. The old light doesn’t work anymore.

Self-compassion plays a pivotal role in this process. Rather than berating yourself for perceived past mistakes or perceived shortcomings, practice kindness and understanding towards yourself by recognizing that you are always learning and we are all doing life for the first time. 

There is no one, right and true way. 

Healing from divorce is not a linear process. 

There may always be some moments of doubt, loneliness, and fear. However, by trusting in yourself and your innate wisdom, you can navigate these challenges with grace, ease, and resilience. 

Remember that you are not alone on this journey. Seek support from trusted friends, family members, you Higher Guidance/Higher Power, and/or professionals who can offer guidance and encouragement along the way.

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And remember,

you are always loved no matter what.


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