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EPISODE # 7

3 Proven Steps for Starting Over After Divorce!

If you’ve struggled with feeling confused about how to start over after divorce or if you feel like you’re holding too tightly to the past, this episode is for you. 

If you’ve struggled with feeling confused about how to start over after divorce or if you feel like you’re holding too tightly to the past, this episode is for you. 

In today’s episode I am sharing with you a formula that’s key to starting over after divorce. 

 

BY THE TIME YOU FINISH LISTENING, YOU’LL DISCOVER: 

  • How to take the blinders off so you can see past your plan for married life to create a new vision for yourself in the future.  
  • The importance of dropping the old stories that prevent you from creating a new independent identity for yourself after divorce.
  • How to look for the possibilities in the pain so you can become the truest, newest version of you in chapter 2. 

 I have a special free gift for my Podcast Listeners that you can download at www.dianahjohnsoncoaching.com/podcast.  It is one of my most powerful reprogramming meditations called I AM Enough and it’s my gift to you for listening. 

When you finish listening, I’d love to hear your biggest takeaway from today’s episode. Take a screenshot of you listening on your device, share it to your Instagram stories and tag me, @dianah_johnson

While you’re there, make sure you follow me on Instagram so you can see behind the scenes of how I help divorced women return to self love, rebuild their independent identity and experience greater peace of mind after divorce. 

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EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

 

Welcome to the return to podcast episode number seven. 

 

Helen Keller Quote – “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.

 

Ever feel like you have blinders on when it comes to starting over. That you can’t see past your plan for your married life, to see a new vision for yourself in the future?  That you can’t see the door that has been opened for you? I know I have.  From having been there, I know it”s critical to take the blinders off. Removing those blinders is key to taking action when starting over.

 

I know starting over again after divorce is overwhelming and confusing. You’ve probably been through the emotional ringer.  You may be exhausted from fighting to feel ok and now you have to find the energy and courage to build a new life alone.  I know how challenging that feels so I am here to break it down into some easy doable steps to get you started.  So if you do have a journal, now is the time to grab it.

 

And write this down..

 

Pain plus possibility equals transformation.

 

in this episode I”ll dive into how this equation will help you start over and create an incredible chapter two. I thought this was the perfect time to talk about it as we go into 2021.  And my hope is that beginning a new year with this formula will inspire you as you move forward.

 

  1. Release old Stories that Defined You

After my divorce I found myself defined by the stories of the things that have happened to me.  It was without a doubt, the main thing that kept me from really starting over. 

 

This is what I mean by being defined by my stories. Whenever I met someone new and I wanted to connect with them, I would tell them the story of my painful childhood. And after my divorce I would tell people the story of my painful marriage and painful divorce. So I had a whole file in my brain of the stories of the things that have happened to me. And when someone said I want to get to know you that was my go-to. I didn’t talk about things like I’m funny or I’m kind… I talked about the traumatic painful things that have happened to me.  I believed that’s who I was.  Imagine, I am saying, who I am is not the person in front of you.  Who I am is what happened to me 20 years ago.

 

I did not know who I was without those stories. Defining Myself by continuing to tell that story for years of my life kept me in a cycle of my own pity. It became my identity. So I was no longer a victim of the things that had happened to me. I was now a victim of the story of what had happened to me. Because I was the one that continued to tell it.  I was the one reinforcing the beliefs created by the painful events. I was the one keeping the emotions alive. 

 

Every time I told that story even to myself, I was justifying staying in anxiety and sadness. I was giving myself reason to be anxious and sad even 20 years after a painful event that happened. It was like I was saying to myself well I have a right to be sad and anxious. And of course I’m sad and anxious look at what happened to me. I was a child of divorce and Trauma, and I was a divorced woman with a painful past of course I’m feeling this way. 

 

Step 1 in starting over is making the decision to define yourself by a new vision of you.

 

I’d love for you to consider do you define yourself by the stories of the things that have happened to you? And even if you are private and never tell others the story, do you define yourself to yourself in that way? 

 

This is so important for starting over.  When you define yourself by what’s happened to you, you give yourself permission to stay where you are. And often, you’re giving yourself permission to hold on to and stay in the pain. So as we look forward to the year to come and decide to shed the past, we have to be willing to not be defined by our stories.  You cannot create new with the energy of the old.

 

Here’s a great way to consider the power of your story being reinforced… What happens when you go on social media in my divorce group. There are 16 thousand women in there right now. If you post your story, you may get 100 comments confirming you have every right to how you’re feeling. Of course every well-meaning woman is helping you feel less alone and more understood. Which is beautiful. But when there’s a hundred people saying yes you have a right to still feel this way even years later, that just makes you hold that pain tighter. Imagine if you got a hundred comments that said yes I felt that pain but decided to let it go. You will get a couple of comments like that. But for the most part the responses are yes I understand your pain and I’ve been there too and I’m still there. And then our mind says hundred women just confirmed that I have a right to feel pain because of what happened to me. And don’t you just hold that pay a little tighter. So every time you tell that story to yourself you hold that pain a little tighter and allow yourself to keep it. Showing your mind the possibility that you don’t have to continue to hold it that is the key. It is showing your mind that possibility. Remember pain plus possibility equals transformation. What would be possible if I gave my self permission to release it. What would be possible if I didn’t have a right to keep holding it because I deserved better. What would be possible if I had a right to release it all in full acceptance and be happy again. 

 

The minute that I began questioning the beliefs that kept me in my story my life began to change. I started questioning beliefs like … “ I’m not capable of being happy because of what happened, I will never let go of anxiety because of the past, I will never be happy again. I questioned every single thought that kept me repeating my stories and giving me the right to stay in pain.  I even question I am an anxious person.  I realized no, I am a person that experiences anxiety.  And wow, I can change that experience.

 

As you go into the new year and embark on starting over, I’d love for you to ask yourself “how willing am I to let go of my stories”. To let go of retelling those painful things to yourself and others.  

 

You may be thinking I can’t pretend these things didn’t happen.  Or you may thinking it’s important to acknowledge all that I have been through. Is it true that you can acknowledge how far you’ve come and at the same time no longer repeat the story of pain and subconsciously justify holding on to it. I know for me it was.   This is about giving yourself freedom from the weight of the things that have happened to you.  And reconnecting to the person you were born as before those painful events.

 

And you may even be thinking right now I can’t let go of my story it’s made me who I am.   let me ask you… Is the child being bullied on the playground the things that the bully says he is? Is he the pain of being bullied.   Or how about the woman who gets diagnosed with a disease. Is she the disease?  of course not. We aren’t what happens to us. We are the person before the pain.

 

If you are a mother I want you to think back to the moment you held your child in your arms. If you’re not a mother I want you to think back to the time that you held your niece or nephew or any child. And you look into that child’s eyes and you can see their light and their innocence.  They giggle at the smile on your face and they are in awe of every little moment. That’s you that’s who you are. before the story of the things that have happened to you. 

 

No who you are is the woman that you were born as before life made you believe you weren’t worthy, a failure or broken. Who you are is the person before life told you who to be, how to feel and how to act. The truest a version of you is the person you were born as unconditionally loving yourself.  

 

Here is the critical concept … You don’t need the story in order to keep the lessons. You don’t need to repeat the story to acknowledge how far you’ve come. The story is often kept to justify staying where we are.

 

Here’s the key question that I’m asking without judgment because you know I was there. And it is… Do you find yourself justifying your emotions because of the story that you repeat in your own mind? Do you do you find yourself saying well I have a right to be this way? Do you believe like I did that you will always feel this way because of the things that have happened to you?  Is there anywhere in your subconscious that’s saying of course I have right to keep holding this anger look what that person did to me… Even if it was five years ago. Or I have a right to keep feeling guilty because look what I did even three years ago.    Because that is what I did. For over half of my life permitted myself to stay in that pain because I had a story that justified me feeling that way.   

 

This is what changed my life completely.  I stopped believing that I was destined to be a anxious and sad person because of my past. I refused to believe it and I let that go. So I’d love for you to reflect on what you’ve been telling yourself about having these emotions because of your past.

 

What if you no longer gave yourself permission to stay in the emotions of an old story? What if going into the new year you created a new story. A story of your triumph, strength, grace, and resilience. And that’s the story you started to tell. And the emotions that you now allow and feel the right to hold on is confidence and peace of mind. What if you told the story of how you have a right to feel strong and confident because you have released the old and you focus on the new?

 

I would love for you to take a deep breath and ask yourself who am I without the story of the painful things that have happened to me? Who am I underneath the pain?  Who am I without the beliefs that the pain created? 

 

I bet when you ask that question who am I without that story, you will find a person with unconditional self-love, peace, and contentment. That default setting that I talked about in the very first episode of this podcast. So starting over in the new year is actually returning to you.

 

Here’s what I want you to remember, you can acknowledge all that you have been through. You can accept what has happened in your life but you don’t need to carry it for the rest of your life. Acknowledge it and lay it down. Lay it down it’s too heavy simply lay it down and walk forward. 

 

Step 2: Define Yourself my a New Vision of You

 

Ok the second step in starting over is defining you life as this new version of you.  Now that you’re releasing  the old stories, there is room to create a brand new story for you.

 

Pain plus possibility equals transformation.  So let’s dive into the vision of what is possible for you. Often when starting over, we are so ingrained in old roles and responsibilities, it’s difficult to consider what else is possible.

 

You spend a lifetime tying your identity to the roles you play in life. You say “I am a wife”, “I am a mother”, “I am a manager”. These are your roles and responsibilities, not who you are. Starting over after divorce is the perfect opportunity to create a new vision for yourself and bring it to life. As you uncover who you are outside of being a wife, you can write a vision for your new life. With this vision in mind, your new life can reflect the truest version of you. 

 

For me, asking “what’s now possible”, was a turning point..  As I would replay all that I had lost, I trained my mind to respond with “yes but what’s now possible for you.”  I even had that powerful question posted on the mirrors in my home.  I would then allow my mind to go into all of the images of what was possible. Of all the things that I wouldn’t have done or couldn’t have done in my relationship that I can now do. I would see myself meeting a partner that really fit in with who I am and that I wouldn’t change for. I would see myself travelling all over the world which I wasn’t able to do in my relationship. For various reasons. And I can finally move there were so many things. But I always brought it back to that when I felt the sadness rise. I knew my brain when seeing possibilities would release old painful stories and look for new realities.  This isn’t just a way to feel better, this is a way to program your mind make that new vision happen. Your mind believes anything you repeat to yourself. And when it believes that vision for you it will go ahead and make it happen. 

 

If you are thinking it’s too late, I’m too old to, or I’ve only known this life and I don’t know how to create another one, consider some of these examples…

 

Grandma Moses, began her painting career at 78. In 2006, one of her paintings sold for $1.2 million. Previously, she was a housekeeper and farm laborer.

Colonel Sanders, was 62 when he franchised Kentucky Fried Chicken which he sold for $2 million 12 years later. Before then he was a country lawyer, gas station operator, and railroad worker.

Julia Child worked in advertising, media, and secret intelligence before writing her first cookbook when she was 50.

 

Here’s a fun exercise to get your started… Imagine yourself at 90 years old, sitting in a rocking chair, looking back at your ideal life.  

In this ideal life … 

What kind of surroundings do you live in?

What brings you joy in this life?

What brings meaning to you in this life?

Who are you surrounded by?

What are you proud of in this life?

 

You can’t start over if all your focus is on the life you had. You can’t create an incredible chapter 2 if you don’t know what that looks like for you. I want you to take away all the questions of how it will happen. Don’t overthink it just allow yourself to create your greatest vision for your life.   Be willing to accept that everything is possible for you. And when you believe that, that’s when you can make it happen.  

 

Step 3: SHOW UP AS HER to Make it Happen

And that takes me to step 3, show up as that vision of you so you can make it happen.

Take the vision you created in step 2 and make a list containing the words “I am” and “I have”. So I am healthy.  I am vibrant.  I have a home on the lake.  I am surrounded by people that love me. Each morning, take this list and visualize it in detail. As you visualize each outcome, feel the emotions of having it all.  Allow yourself to get into those emotions. 

 

Next, for the vision of your life you have write down one next best step that you can take to make that happen. No matter how small that is. So for instance if you said in Step number two I am healthy and vibrant and confident. What’s one next best step that you can take in 2021 to create a healthy vibrant confident version of you. Is it to take a  cooking class in healthy foods. Is it to sign up for yoga class or to start hiking. Take the vision you have for you and write one next best step. Then commit to doing at least one of those every quarter of this year.

 

Side note: when you aren’t feeling motivated I recommend Mel Robbin’s 5 second rule.  I love her concept of counting back from 5 and just taking the action. Because here’s the thing your emotions drive many of those actions. And we want to feel like doing things before we actually do them. But when you take the action despite how you’re feeling and you start getting results, that is when you will be motivated to keep going. So you have to rise above your emotions to take actions that you may not even feel like doing initially. And when you start to feel the results you’ll want to do those actions more and more.

 

ok, to recap starting over in 2021, drop the old stories that define you, create a new story to define you, and show up as her every day to make it happen.

 

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