Divorce - how mindfulness helped me move forward

Updated: Apr 29

In life, we get to experience many things, some of which bring joy and some that bring suffering. I think I can comfortably say that most would not say that divorce brings joy.

I endured the lesson of divorce early in life. In fact, unlike most people I knew, I was married and divorced by the age of twenty-six. I certainly don't wear this experience like a badge of honour, and it was most definitely not my plan when I married. However, I learned many valuable lessons through the experience of divorce, some of which only came to light many years later in life.

Have you experienced divorce, recently or in your past? Does the memory of those times cause you discomfort, anger or sorrow still to this day?

Divorce or any separation after a long relationship, where you were invested, is difficult for not only you and your partner but many in your network around you. Your children, friends, and family all can be impacted by the ending of a relationship, which can leave wounds that last a lifetime.

My parents got divorced when I was fourteen, and at the age of forty-eight when both my parents had passed away, the rift can still be felt between siblings. This is an example of the enduring nature of the impacts of divorce.

So why does divorce have such a profound impact on our lives?

Well, rather than look to the effects, I think it is valuable to go back to the cause. When we do this, we find ourselves fair and square smack bang, in the face of social & cultural conditioning. This will determine your view of divorce, and how it will play out in your life, whether it be the divorce of your parents, friends or your own.

So what is your social and cultural conditioning concerning divorce?

Have you been raised to see it as negative, or is it commonplace? Were your parent even married at all?

Life is changing all the time and so too the social norms around marriage and divorce. Whatever your experience, you will overlay your beliefs learned whenever divorce is within your circle almost at a subconscious level. Like it is ingrained into the very fibre of your being.

I fought for five years to hold onto my marriage simply because I didn't want to be just like my parents, and I wanted to prove everyone wrong who told me I was too young to get married. This is so often an effect of social and cultural conditioning in the making.

So what does mindfulness have to do with a divorce you might be asking?

Well, many years after my divorce, mindfulness greatly helped me to find my way back to understand the pieces of myself I had left behind, in the process of erasing my marriage from my life. As a coping mechanism, I literally erased years of my life, as a result of a difficult divorce. I did not just clear out the bad memories, but also all the good ones too. I erased more than 8 years of my life entirely like it never existed. I also harboured long term feelings of guilt and shame, that I had caused another person who I once loved dearly, such pain. It was a huge burden to bear in my subconscious.

Until I uncovered this I went on through life, sabotaging every relationship I subsequently had by guarding my heart and acting as if I was somehow not entitled to joy. It was a long twenty years of self-sabotage. If my story feels familiar you are not alone, as it is more common than you might think.

Today through the beautiful eyes of mindfulness, I reflect on that time in my life as a significant period of growth and valuable insight into me as a person. The lessons I have learned from the experience of divorce I am incredibly grateful to have gained, so early on in life.

I am fortunate now that I can use my valuable life experience to help others as a mindfulness coach. This is the beauty of mindfulness and the fact that there are not nearly eight billion of us sharing this planet for nothing. Sharing experiences, learning and growing are all valuable parts of living a full and joyous life.

What life are you living? Have you blocked out the times in your life, like divorce, when things went wrong? In doing this have you missed valuable lessons and repeated destructive patterns in your life?

Would you like to know more about how mindfulness can support you through difficult situations like a divorce, so that you may learn and grow?

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