When I decided to finally date again after my divorce, I vowed that I would only date men who had been through divorce. Why? Because it changes you. Taken as an opportunity for deep self-reflection and transformation, it adds a depth and richness to people that makes them far more interesting and attractive to me.
It’s an experience like no other because it can cut deep to the core of every single insecurity we have and all premonitions about how our life was going to turn out. Not only that, there is no way out of disappointing someone – your kids, your parents, your partner, your partner’s parents, and yourself.
For those of us who designed our whole lives around never disappointing anyone – parents, teachers, bosses, kids, family – it is brutal.
Erin Breeze is a mentor and guide for parents going through divorce who invites us to consider divorce as a “divine disruption.” In Episode 3 of Soul Path Parenting, When it comes to divorce, Erin says that, “It has the most potential to be an awakening more than anything I’ve experienced.”
She also challenges us to shift the context we have for divorce, asks us to try on the belief that “if it is here, it is happening FOR us, not TO us, even the pain and the struggle.”
Divorce changed me. It had me grow up in ways that I didn’t even realize I needed to. At first, I went into “survival” mode as a single parent and took care of logistics, got a job, a house, and figured out how to pay the bills and get my kid to school. I had no time for emotions. It took five years for my body and mind to feel like it was finally safe enough and all the logistics around my child were settled enough to have a complete meltdown. And meltdown it was. I began asking the hard questions – What do I want? Who am I? Who am I as a mother? What do I need to truly take care of myself? What are the barriers I have to intimacy? What does it look like to be authentic?
With quite a bit of support, I had the courage to start answering these questions and it was a time of deep introspection and quieting of the mind. It was also confronting, vulnerable, and incredibly humbling. The perfectionist in me had to deal with what I felt was a “failure” and my own part in it.
Because of the “divine disruption” of divorce, I have a relationship with myself that is more aligned with the relationship I wish for my child to have with themselves. I am far more compassionate, have more of a handle on my “inner critic” and have more courage to tell people what I feel and what I want. This is exactly what I want for my child and I am hoping that by modeling it for them, it will make a far deeper impact than trying to “teach” them self-love. This would not have been possible without the riches brought on by the disruption of divorce.
After what I had been through, I had an enormous amount of respect for those who had been through the same process and felt that if they had the courage to dive deeply into the meltdown of their divorce, they most likely had become far richer people.
Richer people make better parents.
Whether you get there by going through divorce or by some other path, when we as parents have the kinds of breakdowns in our lives that give us courage to be authentic, our children experience this and benefit from it.