Reinventing yourself after divorce is not unusual. Many people achieve things they never thought possible or imagined. That’s why I like to ask my interviewees to share what they consider to be their most significant accomplishment. Here’s how my guest, Sandy responded:
I would say my biggest accomplishment since my divorce is coming into my own. Sort of this phoenix rising. I feel like there was so much that was diminished in my marriage that I didn’t even realize.
A friend of mine pointed it out to me when she said, “You’re living such a small part of your potential and you have so much more to offer.” I really didn’t see it. That’s why I got into coaching. That was a part of me that I had suppressed for a long time.
I had started studying Art Therapy in college and dropped out of the program, because I didn’t like it. But there’s always been that part of me that loves helping people with their problems. I’ve always been a person with tremendous common sense and rational thinking and I’m able to see things that other people can’t. I have a very steady way of looking at crisis, which I found out during my marriage when my son was sick and died and I was able to hold it together in a way that other people remarked on and to me it was just what I would naturally do. I didn’t think it was extraordinary.
It’s really looking at the things in me that were extraordinary that I wasn’t able to see before that were really my gifts besides my art talent, which I had always capitalized on and knowing that I could make a bigger impact in the world and help other people through my pain, through what I had gone through.
Becoming a dating coach and helping people spot red flags before they get their heart broken is such a gratifying thing to me. Being able to be in major publications and getting my word out, having a TEDx talk , which is so exciting and scary. Being able to be seen. I spent a lot of years in hiding and so it’s coming out of my shell, it’s sort of a metamorphosis of the caterpillar to the butterfly and still so far that I can go.
It’s just the beginning and it’s not about me. It’s really about helping other people do the same and watching my kids unfold in the same way. To me, that’s the most beautiful thing to watch.
I think mid-life is so incredible. People don’t realize that there’s this certain level of beauty that comes with mid-life, with really knowing yourself, if you’ve done the work, and knowing how much you can still achieve in your life, being able to speak your mind, being able to not make the same mistakes and reach higher levels than ever before.
It’s really quite remarkable what we can accomplish when we’re untethered —that freedom. Nobody’s standing over my shoulder trying to control my thoughts, my actions which is why I write about narcissism so much.
I love the visuals of the caterpillar emerging into a butterfly and the phoenix rising. That transformation may be a process and at times, a difficult, turbulent one but it is also beauty.
While some spouses are controlling and manipulative, often times the tethering is what we do to ourselves and we may not even be conscious of what we’re doing. You may think it’s your spouse or your situation that’s fencing you in but is it really? Could it be you and the voices inside your head?
This is the last post in Sandy’s series and I’d like to thank her for bravely sharing her story. If you have a few minutes, do watch Sandy’s TEDx talk – it’s called I Went Through Life Like a Tootsie Roll Pop! Sandy is a dating coach at Last First Date where she blogs about dating and offers coaching services for completing your online dating profile. You can also sign up for her free report: Top 3 Mistakes Midlife Daters Make.
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