Healing After Divorce: Giving Yourself Permission To Retreat


“We are wired as humans to be open to the world instead of enclosed in a fortified, defensive mentality. What your giving can do is to help your readers be braver, be better than they are, be open to the world again.” ~ Anne Lamott, Bestselling author

Giving Yourself Permission to Grieve

After a midlife divorce, the tendency can be to curl up in the fetal position, pull the covers over your head and hope for the hurt to go away. And some days, it’s okay to give yourself permission to retreat and hide.

A hospice counselor once told me that she instructs the family members of her patients to set aside a day on their calendar where they give themselves permission to hibernate. Stay in bed all day. Don’t answer the phone. Hide out in the open at a nursery looking at all the spring flowers. Do whatever you want to or don’t want to.

By giving ourselves the ‘okay’ to do that, we get it out of our system and then we can get back to dealing with life again.

Shine Your Light Forth

You probably don’t feel like you have much light to shine right now. But like Anne Lamott writes, “we’re wired as humans to be open to the world…” Our natural state is to have the courage to open up again, even though it’s scary. Even though we feel vulnerable. Even though we feel like our light is dim.

When we are able to open up again and be generous, it gives hope to others who have their own quiet burdens to bear. Being open and having a magnanimous, noble heart is not being a doormat. Its not allowing others to run over us. It is showing an incredible strength of character to grab the good instead of focusing on the bad.

Be Courageous

Have the courage to hibernate. Do whatever it is you want to do. Set a date on your calendar and give yourself permission to do whatever you want. It will be good for you and for those you love.

And when you’re done, be open to life, don’t let the behavior of someone else determine your future.

“You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. … Shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” ~ Matthew 5:14-16 (The Message)

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About the Author:

Suzy developed Midlife Divorce Recovery as a safe refuge for people healing and surviving the overwhelm of divorce. Starting her first RADiCAL support group in 2003 she's been helping women navigate the journey of divorce ever since.

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