Major news in the world yesterday and the headline that caught fire was that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were getting a divorce. It was “breaking news” like an earthquake or a mass shooting. A high-profile split is nothing new so it seems a little overboard that major news outlets would put this as their lead story. With violent crime and terror attacks causing much greater concern, it seems silly to be focusing on this couple.
However, for people going through a divorce, it can seem like their world is falling apart. It is not something we should wish on anyone, especially those like Jolie and Pitt who have children. They may be rich and famous, but they are still human. I have had several close friends go through ugly divorces and know the toll it took on them. I have also seen how they have come out better on the other side after a recovery process. Whether you or someone you know is going through a bad breakup, here are things to help pick up the pieces.
#1 Surround Yourself with Friends
Do not go through this alone. Sometimes it can be shameful to admit that a relationship has failed. The friends and family members that truly love and care about you will be by your side to help you through this if you let them. It is also easy to spiral into depression or reach for unhealthy solutions to deal with your pain. Talk with at least one friend on a regular basis and ask them to check up on you. Share with them what you are struggling with so they can pray for you or write you an encouraging note.
#2 Ask for Help
You may find yourself overwhelmed with all the new things that need to be done post-breakup. Finding a good lawyer, arranging for childcare, dividing up property, moving etc. Even things like going grocery shopping can add stress during this time. For your mental and emotional well-being, don’t be afraid to ask for help from your neighbor, friends or family. You’d be surprised how many people are willing to help or provide referrals if you just ask. Again, don’t feel like you need to tackle everything alone.
#3 Talk with Others Who Can Relate
Talk with others who have been through what you’re going through but who are now in a healthy place. Avoid talking with people who are still bitter about their breakup. Negative people will do you no good and just keep you in a negative place.
There are also divorce support groups offered by many local non-profits, counseling centers and churches. You can search online for one in your area. A support group offers a safe environment for you to be able to talk through what you’re experiencing. If you feel a support group is not enough, you can consider speaking with a mental health professional.
In any type of recovery, forgiveness is always a key component but also the hardest one to do. The lack of forgiveness will always lead to bitterness and resentment. It’s a place you don’t want to be in because it will negatively impact all aspects of your life: family, work, future relationships and friends. I had one good friend who was so bitter towards his ex that he started making irrational decisions that led to the loss of his house, his car, his job and friendships. He had to be hospitalized as well for a mental breakdown. For years, he was not able to function or think as a normal human being.
Save yourself from even more heartache by practicing forgiveness. It can take time to forgive and that’s okay. Perhaps, you are the one that needs to ask for forgiveness and that is just as necessary. Holding a grudge will lock you in an unhealthy past. Forgiveness will lead you to a healthier future.
Divorce can get drawn out and the emotional impact can linger for a long time. Your life may seem shattered now but hopefully, taking some steps towards a healthier place in your heart, soul and mind you will allow you to pick up the pieces quicker.
I leave you with this song, “Shattered,” that was inspired by a close friend who went through a devastating divorce. She was able to mend her heart and hope you will too.