Divorce has a way of making even the most self-assured suddenly become full of uncertainty. It makes us question our worth at the same time we are thrust back into the single world, only this time older, heavier, saggier and balder than before. And if you were traded in by your spouse for a younger, skinnier, smarter or wealthier partner?
Regardless of the nature of the split, your confidence is likely sagging after the end of the marriage. Here are some small and large ways you can rebuild your confidence as you work to rebuild your life:
1) Sign up for something with a finish line – This can be a race. A degree program. Anything that has a line to cross and a process to get there. I promise you’ll be smiling when you’ve reached the end.
2) Write and post an achievement list – This is a time to brag on yourself to yourself. Create a list of all that you have accomplished in your life. Post it where you will see it every day. Let it bring perspective that your current situation is only temporary.
3) Invest in an item that makes you feel attractive – I bought one dress that I wore on almost every first date I went on. It made me feel beautiful at a time when nothing else could. Find that one item that makes you feel good and wear the hell out of it. Careful here, notice I said one item. Don’t blow your budget in a quest for confidence.
4) Create a list of goals and track your progress – My goal post lived above my computer for the first year. Every time I felt unsure, I would look to see what I had accomplished and what I still wanted to do. It was motivation and recognition rolled into one.
5) Change your password to an affirmation – In our modern life, we enter passwords all day long. Why not make that password work for you? How would you feel if you typed, “BetterEveryDay” or “IW1llSurv1Ve” several times a day?
6) Flirt and be flirted with – You don’t have to be ready to date to meet someone’s eye and exchange some flirty banter. It feels good to be reaffirmed of your desirability. Go for it.
7) Write the timeline of your divorce and recognize your progress – Often we feel discouraged because we are so focused on the here-and-now that we don’t realize how far we have come. See it. Celebrate your progress.
8) Surround yourself with quotes and pictures that lift you up – Put them on your walls. Your computer. Your phone. Your car. Your jewelry. Let every surface whisper to you.
9) Take a break – Sometimes you just need to step away from it all for a few hours or even a few days. If you can, go on a solo trip. It’s exciting and empowering.
10) Put down the self-help and pick up some fiction – The divorce books have their place, but if you’re needing confidence, trade it in for some great stories about strong protagonists facing and overcoming challenges. The courage is contagious.
11) Surround yourself with positive (and real) people – It’s okay to cut people out of your life that don’t help to build you up in a real and meaningful way. Avoid negativity and false praise.
12) Play – Ride roller coasters. Go sledding. Visit a trampoline park. When you are immersed in play, you stop the over-thinking that drains your confidence.
13) Exercise – The benefits of exercise are twofold – you feel better and you look better. Choose an exercise that meets your physical and emotional needs.
14) Try something you’ve never done before – I love Meetup.com for this; it’s an easy way to get out and do something new. When you’re a novice, you approach the activity with no expectations. It’s exhilarating and, once you’re done, you feel on top of the world.
15) Go outside – Breathe the fresh air. Move. Take the time to see and smell what is around you. Nature has a way of reminding us what is really important.
16) Focus on something you know you do well – Throw yourself into work for awhile. Or immerse yourself in a favorite hobby. If you’re good at something, do it and know you do it well.
17) Spend time with a pet – Sometimes we just need a furry friend to remind us that we’re all that and a bag of chips.
18) Get a massage – Massage is a wonderful and non-sexual way for you to reconnect with your body. It feels so amazing to feel that touch tension release with none of the worries that sexual contact may now hold.
19) Create a challenge for yourself. And then meet it – It can be anything – from learning to sing a song in German to completing 5 pull-ups. Confidence comes from facing and completing authentic challenges. Don’t wait for them to come to you.
20) Take the time to address your appearance even when you don’t feel like it – I didn’t brush my hair for a month. And I felt like crap. Wonder why? Once I took the time to brush my hair and apply some eyeliner, I felt better and people smiled at me more (which also made me feel better).
21) Act “as if” – Sometimes you have to fake confidence until you make it. Practice making your voice strong even when your knees tremble. Rehearse your swagger. No one else will know it’s only for show.