Between all the parades, fireworks, and barbecues, it’s easy for people to forget the real reason they are celebrating the Fourth of July: America’s long sought after independence from Great Britain. When you stop to think about it, independence can be somewhat difficult to define for both countries and individuals. Furthermore, after years of closely working with clients who come to us looking for guidance during the divorce process, we’ve found that the idea of independence becomes even more obfuscated.
Most people learn independence as they grow. Milestones, like the first time they poured their own cereal, mastered how to ride a bike, passed their driver’s test, graduated from high school, and headed off to college, all serve as necessary increments on the journey to independence. Then, once you meet someone with whom you want to spend the rest of your life, you continue making huge life decisions that influence your definition of independence.
While all marriages are unique, it’s safe to say that when most couples utter the words “I do” on their wedding day, they have plans to rely on one another for support and trust. In legally, emotionally, and physically merging their lives, they are, in a way, sacrificing their own independence to allow for their marriage to grow. But what happens when that relationship comes to an end? How does a person, who has become so dependent on another, find the courage to resume life on their own two feet?
After spending years, or even decades, becoming accustomed to life as a partner, the notion of being single and facing challenges alone can be quite daunting. But rediscovering your own independence is just like strengthening a muscle. Just as your independence grew in increments as a child, as a recently divorced adult, you have to take steps to get back to the level of independence required to make you feel confident and comfortable.
Start by acknowledging that your life is going to significantly change and that those changes might be difficult to manage. Then, work to continuously increase your confidence and self-esteem by exercising your independence muscle. You could, for example, make a commitment to try something new and see it through. Each and every time you say “yes” to yourself, you only strengthen that muscle, which, in turn, builds your self-esteem and your faith in yourself.
While working to rediscover your own independence is a vital part of the post-divorce process, perhaps the most important piece of advice we have is this: Know when to ask for help. We understand that asking for help while trying to nourish your faith in yourself might seem counterintuitive, nothing could be further from the truth, for being truly independent means knowing your own limitations and where to get the help you need.
Our own Concierge Services Program was created for this very reason and can aid you in navigating all the social, economic, logistical, and emotional parts of the divorce. We’ve personally vetted mechanics, financial advisors, nannies, family therapists, real estate agents, and many others and would love to help you get in contact with them, so you can focus on your kids, your mental health, and your career during this time of change.
Rediscovering your independence is a process that won’t happen overnight, but believing in yourself becomes substantially easier when you have a support system you can trust. Let us know how we can help you get one step closer to celebrating your own Independence Day!