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How My Divorce Surprisingly Made Me A Much Stronger Person

How My Divorce Surprisingly Made Me A Much Stronger Person

Recently, I was sitting on the beach with my friend Adam Gilad, who had just finished leading a workshop for divorced men. I was reflecting that since his divorce, he had become one of the happiest, most fulfilled people I knew – even going so far as to lead other divorced people towards their own happiness and self-realization.

I asked him if his divorce had made him stronger, and his answer floored me. He opened my eyes with what he said:

When I got divorced, I thought it was the end of my life. I thought I would lose the connection with my kids. I thought no one would ever date me because I was a “failure” having “lost” my family.

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But what should – according to the popular script –have been my mid-life crisis, turned out to be my mid-life awakening. What I thought was an exposure of my most powerless self for all the world to see turned out to be the springboard of my happiest and most powerful decade ever.

I became stronger as a man – I had to – in fact, I had the privilege to – take stock of who I was, free of the habits of being in a relationships. I got to choose how I wanted to spend my evenings, my weekends. How I wanted to eat. What I wanted to read.

When I didn’t have my kids at home (50%) of the time, I now had MORE time to self-develop and build my confidence than I did before. I attended workshops on self-expression, advanced sexuality, internet business building – and discovered whole new skills and communities I never would have found before.

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I became stronger as a father. Instead of taking the back seat on dinner and homework at night, I either cooked or grabbed a book for us to mine for gems over dinner. Mealtimes became learning times as my sons and I delved together into what it means to be a man, a leader, an artist. Because I had my sons for only 50% of the time, every minute became more precious – so we bugged out for more snowboarding trips, more movies together, more rivers to run, more adventures.

But more important than all that, my sons got to see their Dad in his deepest vulnerability rebuild his life. They saw me nervously preparing for dates. We discussed sex openly and honestly. As I got to know myself better and know what made a good companion, we three guys sat together and talked about how to choose a great partner and what qualities to look for.  We also talked about what to do to be more likable, nurturing, and valuable.

If, as Brené Brown says, vulnerability is the measure of our courage, I became damned courageous. If a relationship broke up, we’d crack open some cold ones and reflect on life, hope, heartbreak, and resilience.

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I became stronger as a provider. Up until my divorce I had been a screenwriter and producer but now needed to create a steadier income. By necessity I threw myself into entrepreneurial training and created a content-marketing business that has sustained me for 11 years. One of the proudest moments of my life was when my then 11 year old, watching me taking notes during a webinar said, “You know, Dad, a lot of people talk about getting rich. But you’re doing something about it!”

In fact, I wasn’t trying to get rich, I was trying to pay the mortgage!

But above all, I became stronger as the driver of my life. When we are married, we fall into habit and can potentially stop taking responsibility for forging our own destinies. We may go with the flow rather than carve new and exciting channels into our futures outside of our comfort zones.

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I soon began to reframe everything. I stopped saying “when I got divorced” and started saying “when I got single” – because I didn’t want to identify with being a “divorced man” but rather a man who was single and was looking forward, not backward.

I corrected those who said that a woman with kids had “baggage”. Instead I encouraged the perspective that a woman’s children were just “bonus” people I get to love in this life.

I undertook the study of what makes love thrive, what makes life worth living, and what it means to be inspired during these years we have on Earth. I challenged everything. I traveled to Peru to study with shamans. I traversed the world with entrepreneurs. I built businesses. Danced in the desert till the sun came up. Dove deep with astounding and sensually alive women. I raised my sons into happy manhood– and recently, married a woman who raises me to my highest self every day and every night.

At the end of my post-divorce decade, I told my sons, while we were sitting on a Caribbean beach after a day of kiteboarding lessons, “Hey, if I died today, please don’t mourn me. I’ve had the most amazing life. Celebrate that I was here.”

Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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Nick Bastion

Love Expert, Relationship Coach, Author

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Last Updated on December 10, 2019

5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

Here’s the truth: your effectiveness at life is not what it could be. You’re missing out.

Each day passes by and you have nothing to prove that it even happened. Did you achieve something? Go on a date? Have an emotional breakthrough? Who knows?

But what you do know is that you don’t want to make the same mistakes that you’ve made in the past.

Our lives are full of hidden gems of knowledge and insight, and the most recent events in our lives contain the most useful gems of all. Do you know why? It’s simple, those hidden lessons are the most up to date, meaning they have the largest impact on what we’re doing right now.

But the question is, how do you get those lessons? There’s a simple way to do it, and it doesn’t involve time machines:

Journal writing.

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Improved mental clarity, the ability to see our lives in the big picture, as well as serving as a piece of evidence cataloguing every success we’ve ever had; we are provided all of the above and more by doing some journal writing.

Journal writing is a useful and flexible tool to help shed light on achieving your goals.

Here’s 5 smart reasons why you should do journal writing:

1. Journals Help You Have a Better Connection with Your Values, Emotions, and Goals

By journaling about what you believe in, why you believe it, how you feel, and what your goals are, you understand your relationships with these things better. This is because you must sort through the mental clutter and provide details on why you do what you do and feel what you feel.

Consider this:

Perhaps you’ve spent the last year or so working at a job you don’t like. It would be easy to just suck it up and keep working with your head down, going on as if it’s supposed to be normal to not like your job. Nobody else is complaining, so why should you, right?

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But a little journal writing will set things straight for you. You don’t like your job. You feel like it’s robbing you of happiness and satisfaction, and you don’t see yourself better there in the future.

The other workers? Maybe they don’t know, maybe they don’t care. But you do, you know and care enough to do something about it. And you’re capable of fixing this problem because your journal writing allows you to finally be honest with yourself about it.

2. Journals Improve Mental Clarity and Help Improve Your Focus

If there’s one thing journal writing is good for, it’s clearing the mental clutter.

How does it work? Simply, whenever you have a problem and write about it in a journal, you transfer the problem from your head to the paper. This empties the mind, allowing allocation of precious resources to problem-solving rather than problem-storing.

Let’s say you’ve been juggling several tasks at work. You’ve got data entry, testing, e-mails, problems with the boss, and so on—enough to overwhelm you—but as you start journal writing, things become clearer and easier to understand: Data entry can actually wait till Thursday; Bill kindly offered earlier to do my testing; For e-mails, I can check them now; the boss is just upset because Becky called in sick, etc.

You become better able to focus and reason your tasks out, and this is an indispensable and useful skill to have.

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3. Journals Improve Insight and Understanding

As a positive consequence of improving your mental clarity, you become more open to insights you may have missed before. As you write your notes out, you’re essentially having a dialogue with yourself. This draws out insights that you would have missed otherwise; it’s almost as if two people are working together to better understand each other. This kind of insight is only available to the person who has taken the time to connect with and understand themselves in the form of writing.

Once you’ve gotten a few entries written down, new insights can be gleaned from reading over them. What themes do you see in your life? Do you keep switching goals halfway through? Are you constantly dating the same type of people who aren’t good for you? Have you slowly but surely pushed people out of your life for fear of being hurt?

All of these questions can be answered by simply self-reflecting, but you can only discover the answers if you’ve captured them in writing. These questions are going to be tough to answer without a journal of your actions and experiences.

4. Journals Track Your Overall Development

Life happens, and it can happen fast. Sometimes we don’t take the time to stop and look around at what’s happening to us at each moment. We don’t get to see the step-by-step progress that we’re making in our own lives. So what happens? One day it’s the future, and you have no idea how you’ve gotten there.

Journal writing allows you to see how you’ve changed over time, so you can see where you did things right, and you can see where you took a misstep and fell.

The great thing about journals is that you’ll know what that misstep was, and you can make sure it doesn’t happen again—all because you made sure to log it, allowing yourself to learn from your mistakes.

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5. Journals Facilitate Personal Growth

The best thing about journal writing is that no matter what you end up writing about, it’s hard to not grow from it. You can’t just look at a past entry in which you acted shamefully and say “that was dumb, anyway!” No, we say “I will never make a dumb choice like that again!”

It’s impossible not to grow when it comes to journal writing. That’s what makes journal writing such a powerful tool, whether it’s about achieving goals, becoming a better person, or just general personal-development. No matter what you use it for, you’ll eventually see yourself growing as a person.

Kickstart Journaling

How can journaling best be of use to you? To vent your emotions? To help achieve your goals? To help clear your mind? What do you think makes journaling such a useful life skill?

Know the answer? Then it’s about time you reap the benefits of journal writing and start putting pen to paper.

Here’s what you can do to start journaling:

Featured photo credit: Jealous Weekends via unsplash.com

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