The decision to enter into a divorce is never an easy one. Once you’ve made your intentions clear, what follows will be nothing short of upheaval. Even if things go along without acrimony, you are still setting up a new life for yourself. If kids are on the picture, then there are even more complexities to sort out. The initial focus is on setting up the agreement and signing the papers. What happens next is your chance to truly process your divorce. This is when the healing can begin. Here’s what you should keep in mind:

It Takes Time and Patience

Going through a divorce is a lot like grieving and there is no set “timetable” for how long it should take for you to get over the pain. Every day it might seem like you’re feeling better but you can also have days where you want to shut down and not talk to anyone. This is where patience comes into play. Give yourself a break as you go through this healing process knowing that you will feel better.

You Need to Realign

Anyone who is in a relationship creates a new identity for themselves. It might be a radical departure from who they were in the past or just subtle changes as you blend a life. As a result, you own concept of your self will change. After divorce, you need to realign that concept. Yes, you’re losing a part of yourself, which was the relationship, but what you’re gaining can be so much more important: Who you really are as an individual.

You Are Going To Untangle

So much is tied up in a marriage that it seems overwhelming that you’ll have to untangle all that was woven together. You might start to question if you have value outside of the relationship. After all, who can you take care of now? The answer to that is simple: You. You get to redefine who you want to be on your own terms. As scary as that might sound it will ultimately be invigorating.

Your Relationship with Your Ex Will Evolve

Even though you’ve signed the papers and are now living apart, you will still have a relationship with your ex spouse. This is especially true with children in the picture. That means finding a way to co-parent by putting making the kid’s needs a priority over your own issues. Without kids, you’ll still have a relationship with the ex but it will evolve. There might be some initial hurt when they start dating again (and they will!) but you also have the opportunity to find love again. Start to look forward to that instead of focusing on what your ex is up to.

Make Time to Reflect

The healing process after divorce is all about reflection. So many things will come up for you to process. Take them head on and try to find out what they mean moving forward. This all spins back to the idea of you rebuilding your sense of self-worth. It might help to work out some of these issues with a professional therapist. An objective listener can be very valuable. Remember, this isn’t about assigning blame. It is about reframing your life and perspective. That is the ultimate post divorce goal.