How To Gain Strength and Courage During a Divorce

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We The People

Divorce means change—a huge change. And along with change comes fear that you won't be able to make it on your own, fear your children will suffer negative effects from the divorce, fear that you won't be able to make it financially, or fear you will live the rest of your life as a single person and will fail in your next relationship. Feeling afraid in a new situation is normal, but whether or not we move on to a rewarding and fulfilling post-divorce life depends on how we deal with our fears. We rounded up some ways to help you gain the courage to divorce. It's not easy to work through your fears, but it is definitely possible.

Read on for ways to gain strength and courage in divorce.

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Face Your Fear

Many of us fear uncertainty, and a big fear for people contemplating divorce is not knowing what will happen afterward: Where will I live, how will I pay the bills, and will I be alone for the rest of my life?" "No one knows what will happen in the future. To avoid being paralyzed by uncertainty, recognize that you can’t know what will happen next, whether you get a divorce or stay married. Learn to live with the uncertainty of life," says attorney Harry Munsinger.

Identify what it is you are afraid of and then take baby steps toward getting what you want. If you are unhappy in your marriage but the idea of divorce terrifies you, try a separation. But keep in mind that "being lonely is a fact of life—you can feel alone in a marriage as well as after a divorce," notes Munsinger. "The answer is to take responsibility for your own happiness and not remain dependent on others." Test the waters and face the fear of being alone or making it financially on your own. If you have made the right decision, the fear will dissipate, and your perception of what divorce will mean for you will change.

Don't try to think your way through any fear you are feeling. It doesn't work. Fear can't be intellectualized; it calls for action on your part. Once you take action, the fear will begin to dissipate.

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Use Positive Self-Talk

When facing a change and the fear that comes with it, don't use phrases like, "I don't think I can do this" or "I'm afraid to do this." Those words do nothing but cause us to resist the change and worsen your fear. If it's something you want, the only way to get it is to take action and have confidence in yourself that you'll succeed. Push doubts away with positive phrases like, "I can do this" and "I want to do this."

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Give Yourself an Out

If you find yourself in a place of indecision or fear about what step to take next, strike a bargain with yourself. Plan an action, but give yourself permission to step back if that action is too uncomfortable. If you don't like the results of the newest change, you can always go back and do things the way you were doing them before you took action. Instead of not moving forward because of the fear, move forward and if you don't like it, go back to the status quo with a new plan of action.

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