The end of a marriage, or any other relationship, when we are in our 50s forces us to deal with a whole slew of issues we were not expecting at this time in our lives. These include learning how to be single, possibly living on a reduced income and learning how to redefine ourselves.

As if these challenges are not overwhelming enough, there’s another struggle we must endure after divorce: learning how to rebuild our self-esteem.

It’s easy to understand why this is such an issue. When your relationship ends – especially when it has lasted decades – you may feel rejected. You may feel unworthy. You may think that nobody will ever find you attractive and worthy of love.

 
 

But I am here to tell you to knock it off because it’s simply not true.

What Happened to You Does Not Define You

Ending a relationship is not fun. It causes us to question our identity, our purpose in life and our general purpose in the universe.

We may have defined ourselves as a partner, and so we became dependent on that identity. We started to place our entire value on being a spouse, instead of listening to our own wants and needs.

So it’s no surprise that our self-esteem shatters when the one pillar we had used to define ourselves goes away. We make this false connection that “the end of my relationship means I am bad unworthy person.” It’s no wonder you’re feeling awful.

But think about this for a second.

When you sprained your ankle that one time, you didn’t see yourself differently because your ankle hurt. If you have ever been hospitalized, you didn’t tie your identity and your self-worth into that one event happening in your life. You knew that it was an inconvenience, but you were soon back to life.

So, why don’t you treat the end of your marriage the same way? Sure, this is a hiccup in your life, but you are no less of a person because you’re going through this situation.

The fact, that you have the grace to navigate through this stressful time speaks volumes of your character. Applaud yourself for the amazing job you’re doing!

If you’re still struggling with self-esteem, I have a few exercises for you!

Exercise 1: List All the Things That You’re Good At

I don’t doubt that every day you accomplish things that would cause others to whimper. What are your talents and skills? This has nothing to do with bragging. Acknowledging all the good you do is an important step to nurture yourself.

If you need some inspiration, take a look at my examples:

  • My friends say I’m a good listener.
  • I’m a go-getter and know how to take initiative.
  • I’m good at planning things and getting stuff done.

Now it’s your turn! If you can’t think of many things all at once, come back to this exercise to continue listing all of the amazing stuff you’re good at.

Exercise 2: List All the Things That You Love About Yourself

We often struggle with celebrating the great stuff about ourselves because many of us were taught to be modest and that it was wrong to “toot our own horn.” Yet that misguided thinking meant that many of us weren’t taught how to be self-confident.

Let me tell you though, it’s not too late to kick that negative thinking aside, and start acknowledging how amazing we really are. Here are some examples to inspire you:

  • I love to read.
  • I love to explore new things.
  • I love that I am a good cook and know how to entertain.

See how easy it is? How about you? What do you love about yourself?

Exercise 3: Incorporate Exercise 1 and 2

The next time my self-esteem starts playing tricks on me, I will consciously stop myself and remind myself of two things that I am good at, and two things that I love about myself, turning the negativity into kindness. As an example…

  • Now that my relationship is over, who would ever want me?

STOP. I am kind. I am a good friend.

  • I feel so stupid this split is all my fault.

STOP. I did my best. I have a good heart. I have much to contribute to this world. The end of this relationship does not define me.

Remember that no matter what anybody has told you in life, you are enough. You are worthy of respect and love. And you are stronger and smarter than you know.

What self-confidence issues do you deal with as you recover from divorce after 50? What loving messages will you tell yourself as you rebuild self-esteem from divorce after 50? Please join the conversation below.

Martha BodyfeltMartha Bodyfelt is a divorce coach, whose website “Surviving Your Split” helps readers navigate their divorce with less stress and drama, so they can move on with their lives. For your Free Divorce Warrior Survival Kit, stop by Surviving Your Split or drop Martha a line at martha@survivingyoursplit.com. You can also visit her on Facebook.

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