If truth is the first casualty of war, self esteem is the first casualty of divorce

 When the firestorm of divorce rips through your life causing swathes of damage and desolation, leaving a landscape of charred tree stumps stretching as far as you can see your self esteem pretty much hits zero too.

burnt trees in a forestThe best advice in starting your new life after divorce is to rebuild your confidence and self esteem.  Whatever else you do (and we have loads of other advice to help you) it will be more difficult unless you have been able to regain your self esteem.  Just remember you are not a failure, it's not all your fault and there is a good and satisfying life after divorce.

Here are some ideas to help you work to restore your confidence and self esteem.  They are in themselves just little things but each will help on your journey to where you want to be.

Enjoy doing something that you are good at.
This is very restorative if you can immerse yourself in the activity so it holds your total attention.  What you are doing really does not matter.  Even something mundane such as going for a good walk or a swim is fine.  Taking photographs or catching up on Facebook.  When you have done it you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you achieved it and you did it well.

Do something that requires a decision and a follow-through.
Make some simple decisions and carry them out.  The value is in deciding to do something and then making it happen.  Washing the car, mowing the lawn or throwing half the contents of your garage into a skip are all good.  So often in divorce despite mountains of advice you feel that the decisions are not yours, now they are.

Don't just focus on yourself
Low self-esteem can often be reinforced when people put too much focus on themselves.  Life becomes inward looking an even a little self obsessed.  Share divorce problems with special friends not the whole world.  Let other people and things into your space.  Watch/listen to the news, worry about your football team or go with friends to see them actually playing.

tai chi on the beachRelax, yes we all know this one
We all know about this advice, very difficult when you are stressed out surveying the post divorce world with all the confidence of a fledgling bird gazing over the edge of the nest.

The best advice about relaxation is to do something that occupies your mind completely but still allows your thoughts to go where they will.  Listening to music or taking vigorous exercise both do this very well.

Meditation has gained popularity as a very effective way of relaxing.  Check out everything from Yoga to Tai Chi.  Give it a fair chance to work and if does it for you stick with it, if not try something different.

Make a list of everything you've ever achieved
This is an audit of your successes, a way of counting up your achievements to demonstrate to yourself that you have done lots of things well.  These achievements can be everything from getting a job promotion to figuring out why Twitter exists.  You have probably done a heck of a lot more than you think.

There is a temptation when making your list to make a parallel list of your failures.  Resist this temptation totally.  Everybody has screwed up in their lives, got it wrong or just not got it right enough.  Don't go there, count the good stuff and believe in yourself as a capable and valuable human being on your way to a new life after divorce.

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