Three Keys to Move From Closed and Contracted to Open and Operational

by: Deborah Hawkins, Integrative Coach


Once we settle into the idea that divorce is imminent, we can often close the blinds, turn off the phone and shut down in a myriad of ways. Reflection and healing are required, but for many the idea of moving back into the world is just too much.

Especially when you feel as if you are the one who did not want a divorce at all. I can remember struggling to just get to the grocery store in the beginning. I didn’t want to run in to anyone, didn't want to have to explain and I knew if anyone directed a question my way I would burst into tears.

The feeling of having to explain our intimate relationships or lack thereof, can bring double doses of shame and guilt over not feeling like we were enough in our marriage, did enough to make it work, and our self esteem can plummet.

The coming out process, (the yes we are separated or divorced conversation) is delicate and I encourage my clients to take it slowly. The wounding is still fresh and you can be triggered by most anything. One client I worked with went shopping to find that when she saw her exes favorite brand of clothing she was so distraught she had to leave the store.

There are times when our friends even respond and react to what is happening in our lives. Maybe they don’t know whether to invite us to the dinner party out of compassion and then we may feel like we are being rejected if they don’t. Other friends can be actually triggered by what we are experiencing.Our devastation and sorrow can be too much. Sometimes we can be a mirror for their unhappy relationships and be dropped out of their lives without reason.

Also memories seem to be everywhere, in songs, dropping off kids at school, even a smell can trigger old tracks in our brain that remind us of days when our marriages were sane and happier.

The re-entering period can be done with more ease and compassion for ourselves with the following insights:

  • Give Yourself Time - This is the most important as we can create set backs when we put ourselves out there too soon and are still in so much pain that we can’t seem to function. Give to that hurt part of you that still needs to cry the river of tears, give to the scared part who is not ready to go to the movies with a friend. Look at what would soothe you at that moment. Maybe it is having a good friend over, one who understands where you are. It could be running yourself a nice bath and a movie, or snuggling yourself on the sofa with a book or inspirational reading.
  • Get Support - The greatest gift we give ourselves in times of huge transition is support.It is such a loving thing to do for ourselves. We would give it to our friends and family in a heartbeat but at times there can be a deservability factor, especially in these situations. A trusted coach, counselor or friend can make all the difference in your world when you feel alone and can redirect any thinking that is taking you off your path to healing. Even connecting with others who have been there and can give you encouragement and real time good advice around these issues can put you back on track to feeling better.


  • Explore and Excavate the New You - I love this one! While you are in the internal mode why not rediscover things about you that you possibly left behind in the relationship? We all can give up parts of ourselves that we loved at one time. Maybe you loved to dance and your ex didn't. You could have once loved to create art but stopped because they didn't support it. This is a rich and fertiletime for you to open the box of you.......see what is there that may have beenlocked away. Use this time to nurture the next seeds you want to plant for yournew life.

Using these tools can move you much more quickly out of the constriction of the pain we can feel, and go for discovery when ready. Don’t be afraid to take care of you, be unafraid of the no word and dive into the newness that awaits......even jump if it feels right, the water’s really fine!

Integrative Coach and Change Catalyst Deborah Hawkins, facilitates workshops and teleclasses across the country promoting women’s empowerment on all levels. Having lost her own mother at an early age and having met with many of life’s challenges herself, she brings wisdom and insight from her own loss and grief, assisting others to discover their own strength inside. Deborah trained directly under best selling author Debbie Ford and is a former Board Member of Imago Therapy International, founded by internationally know couple’s therapist, Harville Hendrix. Deborah is a spokesperson for national equality and incorporates over 12 years in corporate banking to supporting others in the midst of massive change. She also runs a website that assists parents and children in conflict with communication. See Deborah’s website at Coaching website:www.Deborahhawkins.com.