Starting Over Again
Who's in control of your life?
A Series of Articles on Adjusting to Divorce
copyright 1996 by Harlan Jacobsen
GETTING YOUR INNER ACT TOGETHER IS IMPORTANT
However, you cannot grow and mature as a "together" person without other people. To grow, it seems, you have to interact with other people. Sort of have to be able to bounce things off other people before your big computer processes these things and everything falls in place, makes sense and becomes part of you.
STAYING HOME AND HIDING OUT FROM PEOPLE AFTER YOUR
DIVORCE STOPS OR AT LEAST RETARDS YOUR PROGRESS
So the more you get out and mix and interact with people, the better. You may have some personality distortions but your peers will shape you up. Initially, you will be uncomfortable with other singles.
Again, we compare it with being transferred to Guatemala. You didnít ask to be here; you feel uncomfortable with the natives, not quite sure if it is safe to be out mingling with them or not. What will they expect? Will you feel like an odd ball? Will they ask you to do things you donít want to do?
YOU ARE A NOVICE: TWO MONTHS FROM NOW YOU WILL BE COMFORTABLE: TWO YEARS ó LIKE OLD HOME WEEK!
But you have to get out there and mix mingle and really get to know a lot of people. Some go out with the idea that they canít be bothered getting to know someone unless they are potential marriage material or someone who may help them "escape" from this "single life" some way.
YOU CAN LEARN AND GROW THROUGH EVERY PERSON YOU MEET
No matter who they are, you can gain from knowing them. You are probably only comfortable with a certain type of person. You will tend to restrict yourself to finding more of the same type of people and exclude others. Allow yourself to get acquainted with and develop friendships with a wide range of people from all walks of life and of both sexes. It is true that if you were married to an alcoholic, you tend to find another personality of the same type. Why? Because you are comfortable with and used to interacting with that type. Get out of that comfort zone of familiarity and get acquainted with people you are uncomfortable with. Each time you do, you grow a little and each new person you are uncomfortable with expands your horizons for more than the same old type.
WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO OFFER OTHER PEOPLE?
Plenty. You have what they are all starved for. Attention and recognition that they are a worthwhile person. We call it "giving out warm fuzzies." Showing an interest in them helps them thrive. Getting involved with other peopleís live and welfare helps get you out of the "poor me" category. But most of all, you grow through your interaction with other people.
THE WAY YOU LEARN TO MEET AND INTERACT WITH OTHER PEOPLE HAPPILY IS THE SAME AS LEARNING THE PIANO
Both are learned only through practice. Initially, you have a lot of clinkers and it is a real pain but soon itís fun and the more you practice, the better you get.
GET OUT OF THE HOUSE AND PRACTICE MEETING AND REALLY GETTING TO KNOW A LOT OF PEOPLE
Not just the surface, hello there, how are you, but really be a friend and really get to know people, their aspirations and concerns. Share yours with them. You will grow more in the first six months of your divorce if you do this than you have in your last fifteen years of marriage.