Last week I wrote a post entitled, “7 Holiday Gifts for the Newly Divorced Friend in Your Life.” You can read it here. In it, I discuss how to be there for a friend who is going through a divorce or was recently divorced, and how you can give that person the care he or she needs, especially during the holidays when so many in this situation feel isolated and alone. Today, I would like to discuss a corollary to this article, and that is how to treat yourself to a divorce gift and why I encourage it.
If you haven’t been treating yourself well, the holidays are as good a time as any to start. Anytime you are feeling as though you need a pick me up, that you are not receiving the love and care each and everyone one of us deserves, consider giving a divorce gift to yourself.
A divorce gift doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, either. So don’t worry if funds are tighter than they once were. On the other hand, if you do have the means and no longer have anyone you must answer to, divorce can be the perfect time to indulge in that ring or designer jacket formerly not in the budget.
After spending months to years in a bad marriage and then months to years getting out of a bad marriage, it is undeniable how important it is to get your finances and career in order. However, it is also important to stop, slow down, and remind yourself who you were before being caught in this whirlwind, and who you are now.
That means figuring out what you like to do, what you like to wear, and how you like to spend your time. As anyone who has ever gone through the rigors of the divorce process can tell you, it is near impossible not to become disoriented and lose a part of yourself, at least temporarily.
You might have become distracted and, as a result, ignored anything in your life not divorced-related – your health, your friends, your closet, what have you. But as the dust begins to settle, take a few minutes to reward yourself for a job well done. No matter what the outcome of your divorce, you have made it to the other side, and the future is yours to behold. Though you might remain connected to your ex, whether through your children or your finances (at least for the time being), consider your slate clean.
It is hard to imagine that a seemingly insignificant purchase can carry so much significance with it. But it can. However, it is not the object you buy that is most meaningful, though a new bag, necklace, or perfume can certainly bring you pleasure. More than that, buying yourself a divorce gift can be a personification of the independence you have recently acquired. Now divorced, you are in charge. Your likes and dislikes matter. And you are free to care for yourself in a way that no one else can. All you have to do is show yourself as well as the rest of the world that you are deserving of being treated well.
More than a decade ago my first marriage ended. I also watched my parents go through a painful split when I was a young child. I know how easy it is to neglect our needs and desires, convincing ourselves that there are more pressing matters that must be attended to first. I know now that is wrong. When we treat ourselves well, when we build ourselves up, we face the world from a position of strength. No one will ever love us or look out for us the way we will. And if we cannot treat ourselves with love and respect, how can we ask and expect the rest of the world to do the same?
So today, take a few minutes. Think about what it is you have been wanting for a long time but have been neglecting. Then indulge and treat yourself to it. Believe it or not, sometimes small steps can take us the farthest. In the wise words of Lucille Ball (also divorced): “Love yourself first, and everything falls into line.”