I have said it before – every divorce journey and story is different. But the fact is, with divorce there is grief, there is sadness, there is pain, there is guilt and there is hate. Today I am reminding you and me – that even with all of these difficult feelings – there can also be happiness.
It’s Okay To Feel Happy!
My Journey Looks Different Than Yours
The journey of divorce looks different for everyone. The reasons and situations that you might be going through and feeling could be the complete opposite of what your best friend went through a few years ago. There is no right or wrong path but the fact is, there will always need to be some sort of healing in the process of divorce. The important thing to remember through this journey is….Everyone’s Path Looks Different.
In 2019 I was faced with a divorce after 16 years of marriage, a divorce that I did not want, a divorce that turned my family into something I never imagined, a divorce that created stress, turmoil, heartache and rejection. The word “happiness” became a trigger. I found myself angry every time I heard anything about “Finding Your Happiness”, let’s be honest, that is a whole other Oprah…I digress.
Being happy, enjoying life, feeling excited, finding things to be thankful for…no matter how you labeled those HAPPY things, for months I felt guilty even thinking in that positive direction. I didn’t want this (divorce) – this isn’t what I signed up for – how can I be okay? How can I ever be okay with feeling happy?
Be Okay With Feeling Happy!
I hate that I miss out on 50% of my kid’s life – I hate that I didn’t get to tuck them into bed on Christmas Eve – I hate that some days I do not talk to another adult (stupid COVID!) – I hate that I walk around my house and still see and feel memories at every corner – I hate that I have lost a whole family.
That hate started creeping into every piece of my life because anytime I caught myself excited for something – an updated bedroom, special moments with my kiddos, a remodeled kitchen or a lake trip with the girls – I stopped myself from feeling it – HAPPINESS!! I think I felt like if I was happy with being single/divorced for a moment that I was giving into the biggest gut hit I had ever received – “I want a divorce”.
I didn’t want a divorce but that doesn’t mean I cannot find some new friends, new hobbies, new memories and feel happy. It’s okay to be happy even in a situation that brings heartache and pain. Be okay with feeling happy.
Count Your Rainbows
I always felt like I would grow old with my children’s father. I truly believed we would grow old in the home we owned. And I still remember talking about how we wanted to retire at a decent age to be able to help Jude and Teagan with childcare just like my parents have in their retirement. Those are the things that I think about when that guilt sneaks up after a fun single mom moment with the kids or after completing a home update. I am happy after spending some quality time with the kids but BOOM – this isn’t what I wanted guilt hits hard!
Time to step back and count those rainbows. Yes, the people/person in my future has changed but that doesn’t mean I cannot enjoy those rainbows. My kids! My friends! My family! My house! My career! My cats! My goals! My health! What are your rainbows? Count them but do not forget those storms either – those storms help us get stronger too.
Sending You A Reminder
No matter where you are on your divorce recovery I am here to tell you – IT IS OKAY TO BE HAPPY! It is okay to enjoy the life in front of you. It is okay to throw that judgement you might get from another person in the trash. Smile but smile for real! Let go of the stigma that you have to stay sad and hurt over something you literally have no control over. I am not telling you to “GET OVER IT!” but instead discover and live in that happy. Just because I was sent divorce papers doesn’t mean I cannot find joy in my life.
I am still a work in progress – I often catch myself feeling that tug of guilt when I start feeling that happiness or excitement for life. I think this will be a long process for me but I am working on it. Talking to another friend about this feeling of guilt over happiness has helped which is why I wanted to share this with you today. Sometimes we need to hear stuff like this from someone else to help us get over that bump in the road.
Another reminder – Never let your happiness depend on anyone else. Only YOU can make yourself happy. Never forget that!
OTHER ARTICLES COVERING DIVORCE THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:
Life Doesn’t Always Go As Planned
Tips and Tricks For Becoming A Single Income Family
Divorce Recovery – Everyone’s Path Looks Different
Divorce and Surviving The Holidays Without Your Kids
Divorce – Books That I Have On My Nightstand
WHAT DID YOU LEARN AS YOU MOVED THROUGH YOUR DIVORCE RECOVERY?
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This post was originally published on February 12, 2021 and updated on August 25, 2021.