Regardless of whether you chose to end your relationship or marriage or your partner did, breakups and divorce hurt. The pain is the result of all the losses — lost love, lost dreams for the future together, lost family, lost identity, and a myriad of others.
Each of these losses bury you deeper and deeper into pain and sadness. You sink lower and lower, wondering if you can ever truly be happy again.
Although it may not quite seem possible now, you can have a happier life after a divorce or a breakup than you can imagine.
The happiness won’t just happen automatically, though. You’ve got to help it along by changing your mindset from one that expects more hurt and misery to one that begins to expect that you will have a happier life after the end of a relationship than the one you’re living right now.
Changing your mindset may sound like a daunting task given everything else you’ve got going on, but it’s actually pretty simple if you’re willing to make a small commitment to doing so and following some straightforward advice.
If you want to know how to move on after a breakup or divorce, here are 5 tips for creating a happier life:
1. Be thankful for what you have.
Divorce and breakups force you to take stock of what you don’t have any longer. It’s normal to grieve the losses and feel sadness. And you need to experience the grief.
However, sometimes the grief and sadness can become a habit. You continue focusing on all that you don’t have instead of being thankful for what you still do have.
When you start making a shift of focus from what you lost to what you’ve got or even gained, you start emerging from the depths of despair and prime yourself for a better life.
The best part is that the more time you spend time contemplating what you do have the more and more momentum you’re gaining toward making your happiness a reality.
2. Look at the past with appreciation — not blame or regret.
Powerful emotions tend to tie us to whatever creates them. If you are still angry with or blame your ex for what happened in your relationship, you’re still tied to your ex. Being connected to them by these strong emotions will keep you connected to your ex which isn’t the best situation for you to move on and create a happier life.
Similarly, if you’re looking at the past and blaming yourself or feeling unexpressed regret, you’re stuck. You’re beating yourself up and staying trapped. You must do what you need to do to clear your conscience.
Once you clear the powerful negative feelings that are keeping you mired in the past, you’ll be able to shift your emotions to more appreciative ones. Then, you’ll realize that the only way you’ve become the person you are today (and who you will become in the future) is because of what you’ve experienced in the past.
And this will help you to thankfully leave the past in the past.
3. Create a plan for your future.
Divorce and breakups change everything — including all the plans you had for the future with ex. It’s time to start dreaming again about what you want from your life now that you’re getting a fresh start.
As you begin imagining what you want, it’s OK to start small. What you’ll discover is that as you continue to dream that you’ll be able to fill in more of the details until your plan is incredibly vibrant and compelling.
4. Look forward with anticipation instead of fear.
Once you start imagining how you will create a happier life, you’ll start doing what you need to do to make it a reality. And any time you start doing new things, it’s natural to feel a bit of fear creep in.
However, if you can wake up every day, anticipating great things to happen, no matter how small, you’ll find that your fear will begin to melt away. Identify at least one great thing that happens every day and you’ll have a difficult time continuing to feel sad and hurt about your divorce.
5. Choose happiness.
As cliché as it sounds, happiness is a choice. You can choose to remain miserable by continuing to think the same thoughts day in and day out or you can choose to start thinking and doing things differently. Making this second choice again and again and again will put you squarely on the path of creating a happier life.
These five pieces of advice will seem trite and too simplistic if you’re still in the depths of divorce despair. If that’s how they seem to you, you’re not quite done grieving the end of your relationship yet. And that’s 100 percent OK. Everyone grieves at their own pace.
When you’re ready, you’ll begin seeing these tips as the keys to creating a happier life after divorce than you can begin to imagine right now. That doesn’t mean that they’ll be easy to implement or that you’ll do them perfectly every day.
It just means that you’ll recognize them as the way you’ll push through all of the pain and sadness, rise up and create an incredible life for yourself regardless of how your relationship ended.