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Never in a million years did I imagine I would end up divorced.
Marriage, kids, a life together, it seemed like I had it all. Until slowly, I realized how unhappy I was, how small I felt, and how unhealthy the dynamic was for all of us, including our kids.
It all unraveled and fell apart despite my best efforts. At the time, it felt like death, and in a way, it was.
Now, three years on, I take stock of the lessons I learned from my divorce—this cataclysmic shift in my life:
1. Pain can propel growth if we allow it.
Whether we like it or not, pain forces us to feel, and the feelings guide us home and into powerful transformation. I could have numbed the pain, but choosing to feel it allowed me to confront many of my own shadows and move through them. The pain can be a source of powerful transformation—let’s not be afraid to feel the fire of transformation!
2. Putting one foot in front of the other can traverse miles.
Sometimes there are no good decisions, and the vision is blurred. When going through the dark tunnel of divorce, it was easy to get overwhelmed, not knowing what the end result would be. Would I end up better or worse off? Learning to break down big problems into small steps—the daily, weekly choices that feel aligned—helped me to process, see the big picture, and come out stronger.
3. Getting help is essential.
Life is like a ladder. We all need help to go higher, and we can also pull others up from the rung below. There is so much societal pressure to not show our pain, to keep it all looking pretty on the surface. I kept so much tucked away, and yet every time I asked for help, a burden was lifted. Opening up to trusted friends and hiring a therapist was a lifeline. Most often, all we need to self-regulate and feel better is to feel seen and heard. I learned that showing up as I am, with all of my stuff, makes me feel more connected to others.
4. Investing in ourselves.
Hands down, the best money and time I’ve ever spent has been on personal healing and growth. My divorce has taught me to invest in myself, because not only do I feel happier in my life, but I feel more empowered to make changes that allow for more joy, connection, and abundance. Investing in yourself is a paradigm shift away from staying small.
5. There are no wrong decisions. Ever.
No matter how hard the current situation is and how awful the choices that led to it may seem, they were not wrong. I now see everything in my life as an opportunity for growth and change, especially the hard stuff. We are always doing the best that we can within our circumstances. I’ve learned to forgive myself again and again and to be grateful for all the choices that led me to this place of choosing growth.
6. We repeat the old relating patterns until we do the work to stop.
It’s a hard pill to swallow, but until we do the hard work of facing and moving through our wounding, the same pain points are going to show up in relationships, no matter how hard we try to pick a different person.
We were wired from a young age to relate and get our needs met in a certain way. And we rinse/repeat in unconscious cycles, wondering why our “picker is off.” It’s not about the other person; it’s all inside us. It’s about doing the work—hiring a therapist, a coach, going to training shifts our patterns. No one else can do it for us.
7. Taking responsibility for everything in our life.
It’s easy to blame the other person for the pain we feel—for the unhappiness in our lives. If only they change, it will be better. This cycle of blaming and shaming the other only perpetuates our own unhappiness and leaves us stuck in a victimhood mentality.
We are not victims; we are sovereign beings, and our happiness is in our own hands. When we start taking responsibility for our lives, we take back our power to create our lives on purpose.
8. It’s never too late for anything.
Career change at 36? Best decision ever. Singing lessons at 39 for the first time in my life? Absolutely. A new relationship that supports my personal growth, and is what I broadly imagined for myself as a young adult? I found it.
The most important lesson I learned is that it’s never too late to do things differently: to show up for myself, to make amends, to create, to learn, to love.
In fact, it is only when we grow and expand that life slows down, opens up, and magic starts flowing.
Our lives are the most precious gift we have, and all endings lead to new beginnings. Always.