Nearly everyone has experienced divorce or a serious breakup. Relationships are hard, and it is mostly through trial and error that we make our way through—or not. Sometimes we see the end coming and welcome it. Other times we are left reeling. “Now what do I do?”
If we’re smart, we will spend some self-reflection time before getting into another relationship. What does that mean? It means working through the sadness, venting the anger and rebuilding our self-confidence. It means learning how we contributed to the demise of the relationship so we can do things differently next time. It means discovering ourselves anew. And that last one can be outrageously fun! Creating a great life after divorce is generally a fun and fulfilling task.
The Renaissance Period
There is a special period of time after divorce that I’ve come to call The Renaissance Period. This is when you give yourself over-the-top permission to live life at its fullest, to have a blast as a single, reclaiming all that you lost or gave up while you focused on someone else. The Renaissance Period opens a door to opportunities once only dreamt. Stepping through the door you become giddy at the possibilities. Quivering with excitement you take in the vastness of it. “What shall I try first?” It’s a candy store of epic proportions. The candy is your life dreams.
This door opens after your divorce is final, when the emotions are mostly resolved, and the new possibilities are coming into view. The door can’t open before that because your creative energy is still tied up in divorce details. But when it opens, it opens broadly. It’s even a little scary at first. I hope that when it opens for you, you proudly step through it.
When you allow yourself to have your renaissance period you may dream in ways you haven’t since you were a child. When you realize it really is okay to feel good again, and that you get to have a great life, I hope you will set out with gusto to accomplish things you once thought lost to you—hobbies, adventures, expressing hidden talents. Maybe you’ll dance, sing, write poetry, take to running marathons, play an instrument, jump out of an airplane, get your doctorate, wear a kilt, or ride Harley. (I’ve known divorcing people who have done all of those things during their Renaissance Period.)
Renaissance people are feisty. They claim who they are without apology. They try out new relational skills, practice assertiveness, and proudly wear their new found self-worth. They give their creative passion free rein. There’s a new purpose to be had. They take seriously creating their great life after divorce.
As your painful emotions begin to fade, you may find that they are replaced by a voracious hunger —to learn, to understand, to continue the journey of personal growth you’ve begun. Follow that hunger. It will lead you to the Renaissance door where you will meet yourself anew. If you use this period well—you will creatively let go of things that no longer serve you, and reach toward what is next, which often lies just beyond your comfort zone. In doing so you find you’ve navigated another turning point toward your most authentic self, and isn’t that what this life journey is really about?
So how about giving yourself a break? And while you’re at it, how about giving yourself permission to dive fully and freely into your new life? Which of your heart’s desires are you going to start tomorrow?
The above article is adapted from the chapter Your Relationship With Yourself in Jeannine’s new book Beyond Divorce—Stop the Pain, Rekindle Your Happiness and Put Purpose back in Your Life.