Twelve years in Divorce Recovery. Twelve years of holding others through the process of experiencing devastating pains of loss, rejection, feelings of failure and unworthiness. Twelve years of seeing them through to the other side; to where gratitude lives and hope springs up again. Hope. Hope for what? A repeat performance? Not hardly. Hope for something different, something strong, new, fresh, authentic, lasting, and REAL. A second chance at love.
Sounds lovely doesn’t it? But is it? Yes, it is, but the second time around isn’t like the first. The second time around comes with something extra for many people. Sometimes it comes with self-doubt. A little fear (okay, sometimes lot of fear). A protective covering; like a scar from the knowledge of how deeply love lost can really cut. It comes with something we might not have had before; rules or lowered expectations and sometimes even a lowered tolerance for accepting all of each other.
With this in mind, it is not a surprise at the divorce rate for second and third marriages is even higher than firsts. We are on guard. We struggle to let go completely and trust another person again with our whole heart, our whole selves. We hold back a piece of ourselves that we can’t bear to have smashed into bits again. We miss out. We see things about our new love that remind us of our former love and may start to think that the kind of love we wanted isn’t even possible…people can’t be trusted, they will hurt you, and eventually they will leave you, right? Please don’t feel badly if you have heard these thoughts play out in your heart or mind. They are part of the trying to make sense of a painful experience; but they do not have to be your reality.
What would it be like if we were able to use our experience to strengthen ourselves instead of shield ourselves from truly experiencing love? Is a true second chance possible? Can we regain our dreams and actually reach them on the second (or third) try? Can we RAISE our level of acceptance and open our hearts wider?
Absolutely we can.
Forgiveness of ourselves, and of others. Honestly seeing our own patterns of behavior and thoughts and skillfully choosing anew. Acceptance of our humanity and that of others. Conscious, purposeful communication with ourselves and others. Honor, respect, faith, hope, tenderness, honesty, and a willingness to create this amazing new life with intentionality, tools and support make this possible.
The second time (or third time) around can be much deeper, more meaningful and so much stronger than most people imagine it can be. The term has been coined “starter marriage” or “warm up marriage” to many failed first marriages. It is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but there it can be truthful too. One of the great gifts of being human is the ability to learn from our past, be conscious of our present, and choose to create a new experience going forward.
Rooted in the philosophies of emotion focused therapies and cognitive behavioral therapies, people truly can choose to think differently, can gain new perspective on past events, learn from them, and vastly improve their present experience to create a bright, amazing future. The awareness that comes from putting effort into this kind of learning will change your life and how others relate to you as well.
You can have a true second chance and a new, happier life; the kind you have dreamed of but started to doubt could really exist.
What are we waiting for? Our days are numbered. Let’s get this second chance going.