To love yourself through your divorce may sound weird or difficult, but it’s necessary and easier than you may think. It’s necessary because this is probably one of the lowest feelings you’ve ever felt before. And there’s nothing wrong with you. But you can’t feel anyone else’s love if you aren’t filled with your own love first. Start small, because even a simple thing that makes a smile flicker across your beautiful face is the beginning of loving yourself through your divorce.
1. Write affirmations on little post-it notes in bright colors that you enjoy looking it. You’re beautiful. You’re smart. You’re strong. I love you. Those little things you need to know, hear, and feel. Even little sayings, such as “good morning, beautiful” or “sweet dreams” can work. These are the “little” things you’ll see every day. If you start to feel down, think about those short phrases and feel them. Someone somewhere thinks you’re all of those things, it’s about time you believe it and see it for yourself.
2. Take care of your health. It’s easy to skip meals because you don’t feel like eating, or to binge because it temporarily feels good. However, those actions aren’t very healthy and could damage your body far longer than this painful moment in your life. Go for a short walk or join a gym. Be active. Ride bikes with the kids. Taking care of your physical health is imperative to your future.
3. Give yourself permission to be you. That sounds silly, right? Perhaps your ex hated the way you kind of snort when you laugh so you stopped laughing as much. Watch silly videos or comedy shows and really let yourself laugh. Stop apologizing for being you. There is no one in this world who can be better at being you than yourself, so be you! Embrace and love yourself and all of your little quirks.
4. Pamper yourself. If you can’t afford an occasional pedicure, do it yourself. Set aside an hour a week to soak in the bath tub or give yourself a facial. Take an extra 10 minutes to put on a little bit of makeup or try out a new hairstyle. Give yourself time to read the latest book by your favorite author.
5. Be conscious of your thoughts. Any time you start to think about anything sad or negative, stop! Replace those thoughts with something positive, such as concentrating on flowers you see outside or a beautiful picture hanging on the wall. If you’re mentally beating yourself up stop and think about what you’ve done that’s good today. For example, “I really handled that customer well and put a smile on her face.”
6. Dance like no one is watching or sing like no one is listening, literally or figuratively. In other words, do something you enjoy doing with abandon. Give yourself permission to let loose every once in a while. You may end up laughing uncontrollably (if you sing anything like I do), which is good for the heart and soul.
7. Take time to smell the roses, again literally or figuratively. Noticing the small things that are present in your life every day add up to a wonderful existence that is you. Smell the flowers, enjoy those first few minutes of your little one asleep, or cook your favorite meal and concentrate on smelling the aroma it produces and tasting each bite fully.
8. Congratulate yourself for the little things. Even if it’s something as simple as “I woke up on time and took a shower.” See, you’re clean! That’s always a good thing. Sometimes it’s hard to think of things we did right when so much appears to be going wrong. However, the smallest things add up to the entire day, week, month, etc. Each moment that passes is gone forever once it passes, so make your next moment count. And the one after that. Those little, simple things add up, don’t they?
9. Smile. And laugh. If you seriously can’t think of a single thing to smile or laugh about, laugh hysterically out loud for a few minutes. That hearty kind of laugh that originates somewhere deep, way down in your belly. You may feel like a lunatic, which will probably make you laugh even harder. Laugh until you cry. Laughter releases stress and soothes the soul, and even if you literally laughed for no reason you’ll probably feel better once you’re done.
10. Write out a bucket list of all the little, simple things and the wild and crazy things you want to do. Don’t think about anyone else’s reactions or opinions of these activities, only yours. Pick something off that list and do it. Keep crossing things off that list and continue to show yourself enough love to do the things you really want to do in this life.
You are worthy of love and happiness, and it all starts with love for yourself. Don’t let someone else’s misguided and self-serving opinion of you become your opinion of you. Get to know yourself and love every part of yourself. You show other people how to treat you by the way you treat yourself.