“The next time you feel like you are falling apart: Set a timer. Cry as hard as you can for five minutes. When the timer rings, get up. Go on with your day… wash the dishes, pick up your child.” ~ Geneen Roth, When You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair
Yesterday, I did a little falling apart, myself. There are a few RADiCALs facing some really tough stuff, an old neighbor’s child died and the world just seems screwed up everywhere.
I used to fear that if I allowed myself to really feel the immensity of the pain of my divorce, I would totally fall apart and be unable to gain control again. I used to stop by the side of the road after book club because I felt like everyone else was happily married and guess what… my wasband had a girlfriend for three years. I cried after parties. I cried at church.
Give Yourself Permission To Grieve
In the beginning of your own midlife divorce journey, you will probably feel on the edge of losing it most of the time. Instead of being mad at or impatient with yourself for “having so little control,” give yourself permission to fall apart.
I have a friend who was a grief counselor for many years, and she told me once to set aside a whole day to just wallow in my grief if I needed to. The important thing is to set limits. Say to yourself, I will do this, as the author above suggests, for five minutes. Or 30 minutes or all morning or a whole day.
When you give yourself permission to mourn, you acknowledge your grief. You don’t pretend it’s not there. You don’t try to be the unflappable stoic. You allow yourself to be the full, real woman you are who has a reason to mourn. You will also learn that you are a woman who can find all of the strength, courage and refreshment you need by allowing yourself to fall apart now and then.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” ~Matthew 5:4 (NIV)