It's not uncommon to experience a good deal of unhappiness when getting over a divorce.   The problems we experience can be difficult to solve without feeling completely overwhelmed.  Before solving them, we need to determine exactly what we're getting over, the root cause of our unhappiness.

It's common for many divorcees to have more than their breakup in their way.  We may have our own emotional baggage weighing us down.  Working through "it" will not only help us better cope with the divorce, but give us an opportunity to improve our self-esteem and confidence to solve any problems that come our way.

Could part of the problem actually

Divorce can bring up many things in our life that have been wrong.  These may have been wrong for so many years that we fail to recognize our own choices, habits and behaviors that have contributed to these problems.

Such issues may have started as young children, all or partially established through our upbringing.  Over the years they may have slowly evolved into life damaging personal issues.  It could be anything from how we eat, live, talk, worship, love or express our feelings.  Some may be part of the reason we got divorced. 

Difficult family problems, bad relationships, financial struggles or ongoing burdens and stress can also cause us to lose sight of what we really want and what we need to do to achieve it.  They can distort our feelings about ourselves, others and our circumstances.

The hardest part about recognizing these issues when we're divorcing is that instead of self analyzing many of us are in a constant state of blame, thinking of our spouse as the wrong doer, the antagonist.  Worse yet, is that since divorce can be heavily contentious and emotionally charged, we may guard ourselves or faults in an effort to avoid taking blame for the failed marriage which could be more than we could emotionally manage.

However, in realizing what we could do to improve our life, we don't necessarily exonerate our former spouse.  It's not an all or nothing observation.

It's important to realize that acknowledging our own personal issues shouldn't be thought of as self-blame. It's about self discovery, challenging our minds and hearts to unravel the years of influence by our community, family and spouse.  Not to reject all that we are, rather to accept all that we can be. 

It's never easy to see how much self-sabotage we actually commit as a result of our choices and behavior.  Perhaps we have not yet acknowledged our own wrong-doing in our former marriage or how we may have hurt our former spouse. 

Obviously, in some marriages, one person may have been the primary reason for the divorce.   However, in many cases, each spouse plays some part in the failed marriage.  Based on an article, "Life After Divorce" on most individuals who have divorced have less than 67% chance of a second marriage succeeding and less than 73% chance of a third.  In other words, until we recognize our own personal relationship issues, we are destined to repeat them.  

Before we can fully manage a new relationship, we will need to get over "it".  "It" is not just a representation of all the relationship stuff though.  The failed relationship can be a result of both spouse's individual failure to recognize their own issues.  These issues are at the core of many problems in marital relationships.   If we stop looking at the pain the other has caused long enough, we will be able to look at what pain we have caused ourselves.  i.e. If you were in a relationship where your spouse was the primary offender, someone who repeatedly lied and talked down to you, you may now realize that your own self-esteem issues contributed to your fear to speak up, demand be treated better or to leave sooner-than-later.  In many cases, when a victim escapes a verbally or physically abusive relationship, she has a high probability of getting into another one.  While she left the abuser, her own problems with self-worth and low self-esteem contribute to her attraction to a similar domineering individual.  

Now that we have committed to ending our marriage our focus should be on our individual recovery from that relationship.  We no longer have to ascertain who was right or wrong because we are now only vested in our recovery not our former spouse or marriage.  In doing so, we must identify all that damages what we value, seek and expect.

We then may recognize our individual characteristics that contribute positively or negatively to relationships with friends, family and love interests.  Not only will we be able to release some of the pain we attributed to our ex, but we will be in a better place to start a new relationship and achieve personal happiness. 

What is self-sabotage?

Our core belief systems, lifestyle choices and sense of self are primary platforms that support both our good and bad relationship qualities.   These qualities aren't something we necessarily think about daily, but are a part of our everyday lives.  They either interfere with- or support our long-term goals and relationships.   They are within our routine, language, habits, communication skills, interests and personality along with numerous other aspects of our identity.  They can either positively contribute to- or damage our self-esteem in both direct and indirect ways. 

These qualities are passed down from family members or persons of influence and are usually passed down to our children.

If we fail to recognize the difference between our positive and negative contributions from these traits and choices we may damage our relationships.  We may unknowingly put up walls that block our own success or happiness.  These walls may be made of fear of failure and lack of motivation that lead to finding fault in reasonable answers and/or actionable solutions. 

When confronted about these barriers we may become defensive.  This may lead to blaming others for offering genuine criticism. 

How to determine your origin of beliefs

Most of who we are is a continued evolution of the same or similar things.  Things we do, feel, say, believe, read, watch, hear, take, eat, drink- 

We are significantly affected by the community and society in which we live.  Our community begins with: self, family, school, church, employer - our society with: people, race, religion, culture, media, government, country. 

All of these affect who we are and further develop our sense of self like lenses in eyeglasses.  They influence our behavior, schedule, love, interests, choices and are very much part of our lifestyle. 

Often, we don't even realize how the lenses have changed over time since we are on the inside looking out. 

Just living our life naturally affects how we see, perceive, understand and believe.  This is the evolutionary affect of our communal and social influences.  It also makes it difficult to know the difference between who we were, really are and what we have become after all of the influence in our life.

But, we could no sooner remove our lenses of influence then we could live without such influence and it's continued development of our self.  This influence is a major part of our identity.  While it will certainly change over the years as we become more mature and knowledgeable, major beliefs and behaviors are less likely to naturally change without significant reasons (i.e. divorce, loss of a loved one, serious financial loss, addiction, etc.)   This means we may briefly take off our eyeglasses for a moment, but we would likely feel blind, lost.  In other words, you can't just go back to the person you were years ago.  But, it may still give you pause to think that perhaps your life, your influences and your direction are worth examining.  This may be the good that comes from difficult challenges and events like divorce.

These significant life events or problems may actually help us find the person within us we truly want to be.  Once we identify our personal issues that negatively affect our life and the life of others we will more easily be able to make the improvements that slowly change the lens by which we view our life, ourselves and the world.  The hope is that the lens will become a more parallel view of our true identity and beliefs. 

It provide us more empathy and acceptance of others outside our own influences/community or belief system.   This may happen not because our lens will then be the same as theirs, but because we realize there to be numerous viewpoints for the same beliefs based on ones own interpretation and that alone does not make a person who they are, rather more how they have been raised, influenced or blinded.  This is the first step to acceptance of all people and an advancement in the greater good of human kind.

Empower your own identity

While we have innate qualities and it has been argued these qualities have significant baring on our identity, it is clear that "outside influencers" are a strong factor of why you do, think and behave as we do.  Don't ask permission or advice about who you want to become - empower yourself to make changes to negative qualities then maintain and add positive attributes.  

Ironically, identifying negative qualities about ourselves in an effort to promote a clear sense of self actually promotes self-esteem and confidence.

It is a direct path to building our strengths and eliminating our weaknesses.  It should be a primary starting point when recognizing a problem we feel incapable of solving.

How to rid your life of self barriers

See your truest self

Recognize the influences of your upbringing, past and current social circles, religion, career, relationships.  Relax your mind and ask questions of yourself.  Do you really believe as they do?   .. as you do, verbally, physically, emotionally?  Are you really you?

Do you do what you want to do and what's really right to do? as you would like to live?  ..reside in a place you wish to live?  Do you truly believe in all that you have been told, been expected to do or expected to feel?  

Instead of looking at such influencers in your life as the problem, look to yourself for the solution.    Evaluate what hurts you, be strong in declining what doesn't help.  Allow yourself the power to critically evaluate yourself, your circumstances and reasons for those circumstances.

Acknowledge independent thoughts, beliefs, needs and wants

Let some radical beliefs enter your mind.  Radical because it's a far reach to acknowledge what you may have believed for years.  Use your skills to identify new opportunities that would further develop your truest self.  Educate yourself with new philosophies, explore world religions or consider the depths of yours.  Determine how you really want to live, what you really believe or want and make it happen. 

Understanding the beliefs and opinions of others does not infringe upon your own.  It just provides you a better understanding of life and possibilities through multiple viewpoints.  It provides you the wisdom, acceptance and a greater understanding.

Recognize vices that don't support your truest vision of yourself

Who was the first person who negatively influenced you?  Why?  How?  Was it something he/she said, did, failed to do?  Part of finding what's right for you, is to understand why some things were wrong.

Now, look at your lifestyle, what feels right about it?  What feels wrong?  What is in the way of your acknowledgement of what you truly want in your life that would make you feel like you?  ..the real you

You are not just born being you.  You are not just who raised you or influenced you. 

Instead you are all of these things.  Innate, learned, influenced, what you experience, your interests - all of these things and your own value of each is what makes you who you are. 

Take back control with a balanced life

A good way to know that you may not be true to yourself is when you let one thing take control, put too much value in one area of your life, stifling all others.  When you let a negative experience breed hate in your heart, it stays in front of every interaction, every relationship, every job.   When you let others control how you act, think, talk or behave in order to gain their acceptance you give them control.

Perhaps it's when you allow a religion to control your own individual happiness and diminish your greatest capabilities based on centuries old doctrine.  Is it wrong to allow some of these to influence your life.  No.  It's wrong for you if it interferes with your life experiences, education, faith, needs and influences that further balance your entirety of self. 

Only you know when something isn't quite right. To grow as a person, you must evaluate your life from time-to-time (with or without a significant reason), really ask yourself, is this who I am, what I believe and where I belong?  Sometimes we have major life corrections, but if we maintain awareness of what's best for our true individual, often these adjustments are minor. 

Determine how the influences in your life have been so instrumental at taking you off course.  Question the reasons for your actions and challenge yourself to know when you are allowing an improper influence to damage your vision of yourself and your goals. 

A divorce does not always mean you are not who or where you want to be in your life.   But, as we mentioned earlier, it may be a good time for a reasonable evaluation.

Take action to support who you are destined to become

Do, change, challenge.  Open your mind to the possibilities beyond what you had and realize your future self.  What can you become?  Then become that person. 

You no longer have the years from the past in your way.  Keep the past behind you and stay focused on your goals.  Your past experiences should naturally provide you wisdom, experience and strength to conquer the challenges of your future instead of challenge or weaken your goals by the negative experiences of the past remaining top of mind.

You only live and exist in today and tomorrow.  If you have a mess from yesterday, clean it up and move on.   Stop giving negative people and situations from your past control to damage your personal happiness.

Expect the freedom from letting go of something you don't want

Expect to feel better when you let something negative in your life go.  Look for the positive response of such actions.  That way you can truly appreciate what it means to let it go and allow the new you to emerge. 

The hard part is recognizing the differences between what is actually helpful or necessary and that which is in your way as a negative influence, belief or habit.

Realize how your divorce, ex spouse and failed marriage were only part of "it"

The problems with your former marriage and spouse were real and very painful.  Your divorce is probably still the most negative thing in your life right now.  The more you think about it, the larger it projects a picture of your pain in your life, giving it power.  This mental picture adds to your current problems, making them seem even worse.

The problems from your marriage do not need to be fed any longer.  Your marriage has been dissolved and is now part of the past.  If remnants from your divorce like child custody and support, financial damage and divorce reasons are still top-of-mind since they affect your present life, you may need to work with professional counselors or therapy groups in order to keep your life moving in the right direction.  

Don't make the picture of your pain and disappointment bigger.  Instead, focus on the new you, your renewed sense of self that allows you to appreciate the value in starting over.  Your pain from the divorce will naturally decrease over time, you will begin to develop a clearer perspective and your new future will be possible.  Remember, being proactive about diminishing your pain will provide a faster route.  So, take action today!

All that has been right in your life is still right.  All that is wrong in your life should be made right.

This one is easy.  If it causes you pain, holds you back or fails to improve your life, don't feed it.  If someone, something or somewhere is right for you, then don't change or remove it for the sake of change or improvement.  It's time to know the difference so that you can be most effective in procuring a successful future.  This is also where therapy may be helpful.

Continue to live as you truly want to be, not just a person of your influences

Finally, allow this time in your life to open a door to that person you never allowed yourself to become.  Reach further than your influences, community and society and be the change that makes your life better.  It's better for you.  It's better for your community and its better for the world!