6 Ways to Rebuild Your Self-Esteem After Divorce

by | Jan 31, 2023 | Healing, Master Your Mindset, Navigating Divorce, Respect, Self-Care

Rebuilding self-esteem after divorce isn’t always the easiest thing. But it isn’t impossible. Let me tell you the story of Sarah & John, what transpired after their divorce, and how they regained their self-esteem.

After years of trying to make their marriage work, Sarah and John decided to divorce. The process was difficult, but they were both relieved when it was finally over.

For Sarah, the first few weeks after the divorce were a blur of tears and self-doubt. She felt lost and alone, and didn’t know what her future held. She worried about how she was going to make ends meet, and whether she would ever find love again.

But as time passed, Sarah began to see the silver lining. She realized that she had been living in a state of unhappiness for far too long, and that the divorce was a chance for her to start fresh.

She began to focus on herself, taking time to do things she enjoyed, such as reading and traveling. She also took up a new hobby, which helped her to meet new people and make new friends.

Sarah also began to focus on her career, which had taken a backseat during her marriage. She worked hard and was recognized through her skills, which brought her a sense of accomplishment and financial stability.

As Sarah’s life began to take shape, she realized that the divorce had been the best thing that could have happened to her. She was now free to be her own person and to live the life she wanted.

John, on the other hand, struggled after the divorce. He felt guilty for letting the marriage fail and didn’t know how to move on. He isolated himself and started drinking heavily, which only made things worse.

But with the help of his friends and family, John eventually got the help he needed and entered into therapy. He worked through his feelings of guilt and regret and began to build a new life for himself.

 

6 Ways to Rebuild Your Self-Esteem After Divorce

After a divorce or breakup, you may feel like your life is over. But over time, with some active engagement and intentional effort, your break up can truly be your launchpad to a better next chapter.

Here are 6 simple tips that can help you to rebuild your self-esteem after divorce, and bring a sense of well-being and self-respect back into your life.

1. Accentuate the positives.

Once you become an active participant in your life, everything begins to shift. Rather than thinking of respect as some kind of unattainable ideal, simply consider what brings you joy.

What activities or people make you feel happy? Spend more time engaging in what brings you joy.

My grandpa Walter used to say, “never throw anyone away, just put them on a shelf.” For now, shelve the things that are bringing you down and are not serving your positive internal story. You can always re-integrate who and what serves you in the future. And, while you’re engaging in all things positive, this is also a time to potentially confront your insecurities that you can control and improve.

Whatever it is that you need to feel good, now is the time to begin to recalibrate, with radical self-acceptance.

2. Write down everything that lifts you up.

You have the power to change your perspectives by choosing to tend to the activities and people who lift your spirits.

Is there a particular place you have visited that warms your heart and soul? Describe it.

Was there a time in your life that you felt especially powerful? What were you doing at that time?

Commit to writing a daily conscious list of the people and circumstances that lift you up. Do this each day when you first arise, and then again before you go to bed each night. Be sure to do this as a daily practice. By writing these positives down, you are cementing uplifting thought patterns. Remember, by engaging in an activity every day it will cement that intention. Practice makes permanent.

3. Act the way you want to feel.

Engage in activities that lift your spirits. Find the actions that bring you joy and intentionally engage in them for even just thirty minutes a day.

Take a walk outside. Sit at your desk and stretch, reaching up to the sky and take in several nourishing breaths. Smile often and every day, even if you don’t feel like your happiest help. It will bring positive energy no matter what the moment is bringing. Make it a point to greet at least one person with positivity each day. By behaving in an uplifted, positive manner, you can create more upbeat internal energy for yourself and start to rebuild your self-esteem after divorce.

6 Ways to Rebuild Your Self-Esteem After Divorce

4. Allow yourself to mourn.

Look in the mirror and recognize your humanity. Processing your sadness, or even a sense of shame and disappointment of your failed relationship is completely normal and healthy.

You likely need to navigate some or all the stages of mourning as proposed by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross; denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Over time, as you release your sense of loss, you can begin to return your attention to your greater forward moving goals and dreams.

5. End the blame game and move forward gracefully.

As you begin to move forward, begin taking ownership of your own choices. Owning your part can be frightening, but once you begin to truly embrace your piece of the equation, your experience will be one of courageous evolution.

Accepting your part in the conflict is an essential part to moving forward and creating your path. Part of rebuilding self-esteem after divorce includes acknowledging your weaknesses as well as your strenghts. Even if the negative dynamic was truly caused by the other person, remember: today is the first day of the rest of your life.

6. Shift into neutral.

Expecting to feel at ease and at your best while you are going through a divorce is typically not realistic. In this age of immediacy, this can be especially difficult to accept. A great place to begin building your self-respect is by mindfully recognizing every moment that is “good enough.” It is from there that you can truly begin to blossom. Neutrality is the launchpad for all things positive and energizing.

We need to hear approximately eight positives to process even one negative comment. Apply this logic to yourself and see how many times you can notice yourself succeeding. Remember, to begin with, just getting through the day is a win.

Going back to Sarah & John’s story years later, they ran into each other at a grocery store.

They were both surprised to see each other and for a moment, but as they talked, they realized that they had both moved on and were happy with their lives. They parted ways as friends, wishing each other well.

In the end, the divorce had been a difficult but necessary step for both of them to take. They had both grown and changed, and were now in a better place than they had ever been before.

Remember, it is possible to rebuild your self-esteem after divorce.

You have all the power within you to radically recalibrate your life by rebuilding your self-respect, starting right now. One day at a time, one moment at a time.

 

Gabrielle Hartley<br />

Gabrielle Hartley, Esq.

Gabrielle Hartley is a renowned divorce mediator with decades of experience in resolving seemingly unresolvable conflict. Besides providing flat rate divorce and separation mediation services to clients online, Gabrielle is also a New York Times bestselling author.

Her book,  Better Apart: The Radically Positive Way to Separate can help you navigate your divorce by combining practical advice with the healing power of meditation and yoga. Meanwhile, her second book, The Secret to Getting Along (And Why It’s Easier Than You Think) provides more tips on navigating the most entrenched conflict — whether at home, at work, or in any relationship.

 

Gabrielle Hartley

Gabrielle Hartley, Esq.

Gabrielle Hartley is a renowned divorce mediator with decades of experience in resolving seemingly unresolvable conflict. Besides providing flat rate divorce and separation mediation services to clients online, Gabrielle is also a New York Times bestselling author.

Her book,  Better Apart: The Radically Positive Way to Separate can help you navigate your divorce by combining practical advice with the healing power of meditation and yoga. Meanwhile, her second book, The Secret to Getting Along (And Why It’s Easier Than You Think) provides more tips on navigating the most entrenched conflict — whether at home, at work, or in any relationship.

 

What About Next Time? Prenups for Second Marriages
You are about to finalize your divorce, and hopefully have had a positive experience of planning for the next phase of your life. Divorce is not necessarily a failure. You worked...
What is the Difference Between a Prenup and a Postnup?
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are legal documents that are becoming increasingly popular in today's society. These agreements allow couples to define their rights and...
Embracing a Gentle Parenting Style During a Divorce
Divorce is stressful for children as well as adults, with research indicating that kids find the first year or two after divorce the most stressful. Children whose parents have...

BETTER APART

The Radically Positive Way to Separate

Gabrielle Hartley with Elena Brower

Available on Amazon

“Potent, accessible tools for your family and your future.”
-- Gwyneth Paltrow, New York Times Bestselling Author and Founder of GOOP

FOLLOW GABRIELLE

tedxvideo

DISCLAIMER: The commentary, advice, and opinions from Gabrielle Hartley are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice or mental health services. You should contact an attorney and/or mental health professional in your state to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.

NYC ADDRESSES:

  • One Edgewater Plaza Suite 304, Staten Island, NY 10305
  • 266 Smith Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231

Northampton MA

PHONE:
New York: (917) 905-4553
Boston: (413) 450-0420