Whether you love riding roller coasters or want to stay as far away from them as possible, the emotional roller coaster of divorce can take your breath away. You fly from grief to rage to confidence to depress to determination with such force that if makes your stomach flip. When I was divorcing there were days I could swing through this cycle three or four times before breakfast.
Please know you are not alone, you have not lost your mind, and sometimes like a roller coaster ride, all you can do is hang on. And when you do, interesting things start to happen.
- When you are forced to feel all these emotions, you can become honest with yourself, and honesty is vital. It may be the most important asset you have.
- The purpose of our emotions (as Harold Kushner writes) is to help us feel and participate fully in our lives. Our culture tends to make us feel there is something wrong with pain, and it must be drugged or denied or avoided at all costs. But many times the best medicine is a good cry.
- You can’t heal from emotions you don’t acknowledge. Suppressing your emotions can cause you to yell at the checkout person in the grocery store. Or if this pain isn’t acknowledged and is kept buried deep inside, you can get physically very ill.
- Emotions are powerful teachers. They force you to look back at your history and look down into your heart, and they demand that you pay attention. When you pay attention you will discover lost pieces of yourself. Some will be broken and some will have been hidden. Don’t throw them away. Embrace them. They are treasures and have been waiting patiently for you to reclaim them. These pieces of yourself may have been silent for years, but they have much to teach you. They will whisper, “You are a survivor. You are strong. You have value. You will no longer be diminished.”