We recently joined a fantastic network of professionals dedicated to helping people going through a divorce called Divorce Angels. The team at Divorce Angels have been putting together a resource of trusted professionals that can help guide people through the murky waters of divorce and we've been impressed - and enlightened - as to how much more is involved in going through a divorce than getting a lawyer. Since many of our clients have been recently divorced and making positive changes in their lives, we're proud to offer our styling services through the Divorce Angel Network, and help people move forward through the power of personal style.
Through our own experiences, and those of our friends and clients, we put together our thoughts about the ending of relationships...And yes, your personal style CAN be a part of your journey to feeling happy, healthy and confident again.
How do you best get through the often traumatic experience of lost love?
Whether you’ve been in a relationship for months, years or decades, a breakup can be painful. And although the experience can be different if you are the leaver or the left, the end of a union that was once full of dreams, goals, closeness and the idea of a future together, is difficult no matter how you slice it.
I’m Only Human...
We are programmed as humans to want connection. And as history suggests, it was once the norm to meet a mate young, marry, have many children and grow old, together.
In today’s fast-paced world, it’s not so common any more.
We are more likely to have many mates over the course of our lifetime due to the odds of living longer, living in large cities overflowing with potential mates, and the demands of our instant gratification society.
We also don’t put the same negative stigmatism on the word “ex-wife" or "ex-husband” as was the case, even 20 years ago. Now when we meet someone who is divorced we don’t cringe or see them as a failure. It just seems … normal.
Having said that, there can be a lot of very difficult emotions wrapped up in the experience of separation and divorce. Damaging emotions can impact one’s ability to enter a new, healthy relationship in the future, and some of the attitudes and behaviours that exist within a tough separation can linger long after moving on.
A Kinder Way Of Saying Goodbye...
Chris Martin and Gwenyth Paltrow’s split brought the idea of “Conscious Uncoupling” onto the International stage, even though it has been practised by many before them.
Maintaining a healthier way of severing ties and moving on to a happier life sounds good - but it’s not so easily done when families, kids, cars, houses, and finances are braided together. Depending on your set of circumstances, dealing with the pain of a separation is sometimes difficult to do even with love in your heart.
So where do you start?
You're only human and goodbyes are a normal part of human life - even big goodbyes. These tips are ones that we use in our own lives at times when life get's confusing.
And there's nothing more confusing than untangling from relationships that aren't working anymore.
Tip #1: Keep A Journal
You don’t need to be a “writer” to do this. But you do need to get back to yourself and everything that is going on in your heart and mind.
It might be difficult to tackle at first but it is a key way to be with yourself and truly see who you are, your values, what you are good at. Seeing your thoughts on paper can make a profound difference.
It's easy to consider yourself a "failure" when a relationship ends. But that's not true. So it's important to focus your mind on the positive aspects of who you are.
Make a list of things you are great at or proud of.
If this proves too hard a task, ask your two closest friends to send you 3 things they love about your uniqueness. Once you have your list, short or long, read it every day - multiple times if you can. And, add to it often as things come up for you, as long as they are positive not negative.
At your core, you are a good decent person and when there is hurt, confusion, regret, and disappointment, you need all the positive feelings you can get to avoid bitterness that may cloud your thoughts.
If you start to experience thoughts and emotions that you can’t let go of - write them down. Being able to get them out of your mind and onto paper is a way to acknowledge the emotions, accept them, and let them go. Even reading them again after letting some time pass will allow you to see the emotions from a totally different (and often healthier) perspective.
Tip #2: Do Something For You…Everyday
What do you love to do?
Perhaps you love romantic comedy’s and your spouse never wanted to go with you. Take yourself to one. Perhaps you love to stroll your neighbourhood on a Saturday morning but rarely got around to it. Take the time to stroll. Whatever you love, whatever makes you feel GOOD, do more of.
You need to tell yourself that you care and love yourself - especially when it seems like you're unloved or have been wronged by your partner.
Ask for help if you need it. Even time with a friend to talk things over can be a great way to move feelings away from yourself and gain perspective. If you find it too difficult to talk to close friends, perhaps consulting professional help is a good next step. We go to the professionals to change the oil in our cars so we know it will work when we need it to - the same can be said for our fragile mental state during this time.
Our friend, Natalia Juarez of Lovistics actually specializes in break ups as a "Break Up Coach" and uses her personal experience and training to help people work through tough break ups in a healthy way.
Tip #3: Wear Clothing That Makes You Feel Great
Your diet is important. Exercise is important. Personal hygiene is important. And yes...clothes are important too.
It's all a part of Tip #2 - Loving Yourself.
When we are hurting or feeling down, we tend to let it affect all aspects of our lives, including acting, and looking like we just don't care anymore. We stop dressing up, we don’t put on makeup, we don’t bother doing our hair. This makes us look like we’ve been crying our eyes out (even if we have), haven’t had a second of sleep (even if we haven’t) and just makes us look really …. sad (even if we are).
While that is okay, there does come a point where pulling yourself together is okay too. Just like going to the gym, or staying on your diet.
Putting on clothing that makes us feel good, can help us ACTUALLY feel good.
It’s been proven.
When you look in the mirror and you like what you see, your brain instantly gets a boost of feel good chemicals.
And, wearing clothes that you feel amazing in is a great way to start the process of visually seeing yourself in a way that makes you feel like you are worth it and that you matter.
When going through a transition, there are old ways of seeing yourself that may not be true any more. Or parts of yourself that have been neglected over years with spouse, family and career.
Refreshing your wardrobe is a powerful way to explore who you are now - and define who you want to be in the future.
Tip #4: Breathe
When all else fails, and it seems like life is crumbling around you, turning to your breath can be the simplest and most effective coping strategy.
When you are feeling anxious and your thoughts start to make your emotions run wild, activities like meditation, yoga or some form of physical exercise are proven to balance stress and hormone levels that get really out of whack when you have a broken heart.
Self-care, especially if you are someone who is always putting others first, can feel strange and unnatural. Much like putting your oxygen mask on first before assisting loved ones on a plane, you can’t be any good to others until you are able to take care of yourself.
Taking some time to just breathe and be with yourself can be the first step to taking the next steps that are right for you.