When you end your marriage, regardless of the circumstances surrounding it, there is always going to be a sense of loss. After all, this is a major change you are undergoing in your life. Whether you were the one who wanted to end the marriage or not, there is a good chance that the impact of divorce on self-esteem is prevalent and must be addressed.
We All Experience Divorce Differently
If you were served with divorce papers by a spouse, you are wondering what’s wrong with you and why you weren’t good enough. If you were unhappy in your marriage and filed the divorce papers, you may wonder why you weren’t able to find someone that treated you better in the first place. If there was infidelity on the part of your spouse, it’s going to hit your self-esteem, too.
Even if everything was cordial and aboveboard regarding the divorce, and you both decided it was the right thing to do, it can still cause these feelings.
These Feelings Can Last a Long Time
Feelings of guilt and shame can creep in during your divorce, too. You might feel guilty that you didn’t try harder or that you did something to precipitate the divorce. You may wonder if you can change in the future and if you are worthy of finding and keeping love.
Divorce is essentially trauma when you get down to it. Trauma, as we know, can color how we feel about certain things including ourselves. You may find that the feelings and even the memories you have of past relationships, your perceptions, your feelings, etc. can be altered. You are no longer entirely sure of yourself. It can be quite easy to lose confidence.
One of the Worst Things to Do: Jump into Another Relationship
Because of the doubts and fears that a divorce can put you through, it’s natural that you want to find some way to have validation. You want to be a person who can be loved, and the impact of divorce on self-esteem can prevent you from having the strength to be yourself while seeking out those relationships.
So, what do a lot of people end up doing? They end up going out and getting not a relationship with someone new right away. They don’t want to deal with their current feelings, so they push them off by pointing their affections at someone else.
This isn’t healthy because you never get to deal with the aftermath of the breakup. You never get to experience natural healing or come to terms with what you dealt with regarding the divorce.
It’s better to deal with your feelings and build back your self-esteem. Learn to be a whole person on your own rather than trying to fill the hole in your heart with someone new. Otherwise, you will end up in a cycle that doesn’t end.
Ways to Keep Your Self-Esteem Strong
Below, you will find some simple but effective tips and strategies to help you better deal with waning self-esteem after a divorce.
Realize You Didn’t Fail
One of the first things you have to get through your head is that divorce doesn’t mean failure. It’s just something that a lot of people go through in their lives because a relationship didn’t work out. It wasn’t a failure by any means. It was a learning experience, and there were probably at least a few good times that produced some nice memories. Hold onto those.
Divorce happens a lot. It doesn’t mean that something is wrong with you. Once you realize that it’s a normal part of life today, you will realize that you aren’t a pariah.
You should also make sure that you are talking positively to yourself. This is something that so few people do, even if they aren’t going through a divorce. A lot of people talk negatively about themselves, often feeling that if they get in the first digs and jokes, they don’t have to worry about other people doing it.
Negative talk can limit your own belief in yourself, though. If your inner dialogue is filled with negativity, whether it’s directed toward yourself or not, it’s time to change things. Strive to use positive words or at the very least, neutral language.
Talk to yourself like you would talk with a good friend. You may even want to come up with some positive mantras you can repeat on those days when you need them.
If you are like a lot of people, you spend quite a bit of your time “in a relationship” rather than focusing just on yourself. When you are in a relationship, it’s normal to work together and to be considered a couple rather than two people. If you aren’t careful, you can start to lose yourself.
Make sure you are prioritizing yourself sometimes. This is important now that you are divorced, but it’s also important when you are in a future relationship. Don’t lose who you are just to be part of a couple.
Get Some Extra Exercise
Why should you exercise? It can help to improve the way you feel about yourself. For starters, the endorphins created by your body when you work out will make you feel good. The improvements to your health and potentially to your physique can make you feel more confident, as well. Exercise is good all around and can protect you from the impact of divorce on self-esteem.
Of course, you don’t want to go overboard and start exercising too much. It shouldn’t be used as the sole means to make you feel better after your divorce. There is such a thing as too much exercise.
Get Some Support
Sometimes, you will find that having some outside help from a therapist is the best thing for you. They can get a deeper look into your psyche and can help you find the tools needed to help you boost your self-esteem to where it should be.
These are a few good ways that you can help to safeguard yourself from the impact divorce on self-esteem after your breakup. It’s okay to feel sad, and it’s good that you acknowledge it. However, you don’t want to wallow forever. Start strengthening your self-esteem today.