5 Effective Exercises to Regain Your Self-Confidence After a Divorce

Divorce is almost always accompanied by a feeling of shame, low self-worth and broken self-confidence. After a divorce you find yourself single again, and it doesn’t help if it cost you quite a few of your friends and associates, who may take the side of your ex-spouse, or who may simply have no clue how to talk to you, or worse still may judge you, no matter what the reason for the divorce.

You may feel alone and isolated, stop trusting yourself and second guess all your decisions.

Outlined below with exercises are highly effective ways to regain your self-confidence and boost your self-esteem after a divorce. You can also click on any particular section of your choice below, to directly go to the section you are most interested in:

You can use these simple techniques, along with the techniques to process your emotions outlined in the first part of this article, How to Recover From A Divorce – Emotionally, to reinvent yourself and jumpstart your new life.

The Mirror Technique

A very quick and highly effective way to boost up your self-esteem and self-love is by doing what I call the Mirror Technique. The Mirror Technique is a form of positive self-hypnosis or rather, what I call un-hypnotizing ourselves from negative dysfunctional beliefs.

How The Mirror Technique Works

You must have heard of the saying, “the eyes are a mirror of the soul”. Yes, indeed they are. It is using this mirror that many adults (parents, older family members, teachers, coaches) unknowingly hypnotize their children. They look directly into the eyes of the children and tell them what they believe about the children.
The ones which have the most impact are the negative statements. Statements such as, “you are not good enough”, “you will not amount to much at this rate”, “why are you so careless?”, “why do you keep making the same mistakes?”.

These are statements which the adults actually believe to be true because they themselves were conditioned during their childhood in the same way (through eye-to-eye contact) by grown-ups surrounding them! So, these statements that they utter are actually what they believe about themselves!
Every time they repeat these statements to their children, the statements go deeper into the subconscious minds of the children and became deeply-rooted beliefs. These beliefs then begin to guide and steer the children, by influencing their everyday behaviour and ultimately influencing their careers and relationships later on in life.

This eye-to-eye contact and the statements uttered, colours the way these children look at themselves and finally the world. Later as adults, they see these beliefs show up repeatedly as experiences in their lives, which ironically goes on to further strengthen the faulty beliefs!

Even a divorce is a result of the belief in you somewhere saying that you are not enough or that you deserved the way this relationship went and this pain. Whatever the circumstance, you would not have gotten into the relationship in the first place had your perspective been absolutely clear, and your belief in and love for yourself had been strong enough. If that had that been the case, then there would be only two alternatives that would have taken place:

  • you would not have gotten into this relationship which would break
  • the relationship would not break and would instead grow with both of you growing in different aspects of your lives together while helping and supporting each other

Since you did not experience both the above cases, clearly, there was something here to be unlearned and something new to be discovered in yourself.

The divorce does not prove to you that you are not enough, it simply proves that you have the belief you are not enough. This belief was already there, deeply embedded in you and the broken relationship only highlighted it. And beliefs can be changed.

It is now time to unlearn the old perspectives.

How To Do the Mirror Technique

The mirror technique can swiftly transform faulty belief systems, which were never truly ours, and ‘truly us’ in the first place and bring about amazing results.

This technique boosts your self-love and self-appreciation which are vital to up your self-esteem while regaining your self-confidence after a divorce. To do this exercise, find a room of course with a mirror (the bigger the better) where you will not be disturbed.  The exercise will hardly take 5 minutes.

While doing this exercise, in the beginning, you dear reader may feel awkward, tongue-tied, breathlessness, nervous, or even see drops of sweat on your face! Yes, all the signs of a teenager approaching his/her first crush to express the yearnings of first love. Only this will be worse because you are not even sure you love the face in the mirror, but it is a face you cannot ignore! However much you doubt yourself, go through with it.
Look into those eyes in the mirror and say out loud every line in the script given below, even if you mumble, fumble, grumble, and stumble. Say it like you mean it.

And here’s the deal, I guarantee you that after the seven days (sometimes even after three days) of earnestly doing this exercise you will experience a change in your posture, the way you walk, the way you talk, you will begin to worry less about what other people think of you and start expressing yourself more and more confidently.  All of this, simply because you are able to look into the eyes of the person who really matters in your life and express your love to him/her.

Here’s the script:

(Say your name aloud – cringe if you must but say it.) I have come to you after a long time. I am sorry. Please forgive me. I don’t know why I forgot you. But I am here now. You mean a lot to me. I’ll never leave you again. I am here for you, always. I love you so much! You are the best thing that has ever happened to me.You are so precious! You are irresistibly attractive. There is no one like you and there can never ever be. I will never ever give up on you. You mean everything to me.

Do this mirror exercise twice daily – morning immediately after getting up and at night just before sleeping. You can add your own words to the script. The more loving you sound, the better.
What you are doing is giving yourself the love, acceptance, and approval that you so desire from an external relationship. You will stop distrusting yourself and second-guessing your decisions. From now on, your decisions will come straight from your soul.

And I recommend you keep a journal to document all the surprising little things that begin to happen after you start this exercise. You’ll amaze yourself!

Here are a few things that will happen, for sure, when you practice the mirror technique:

  • Develop a higher opinion of yourself
  • Begin to love and appreciate yourself unconditionally
  • Start trusting yourself, your abilities and the decisions you make
  • Stop getting affected by what others think of you
  • Be yourself under any circumstances, as you now are beginning to trust yourself
  • Feel very strong and powerful
  • Be highly positive
  • Self-confidence will boost and people will start to treat you differently because your behaviour will change
  • Looking into people’s eyes and talking will become easy for you since you look into the eyes of your own soul everyday
  • You will be able to forgive yourself and others easily

After around three days of performing this Mirror Exercise, you can write a letter forgiving yourself for the relationship and the divorce, as is mentioned under the section Write Letters to Your Ex-Spouse and Yourself in Part 1 of this article.

Groom and Pamper Yourself

As you grow more self-appreciative doing the mirror exercise, it will automatically prompt you to groom and pamper yourself, for that is a way of expressing love towards yourself. This will work wonders to boost your self-image. Allow yourself to go for a massage in a spa, get a new wardrobe, and if you wish also get a new haircut.

A new haircut has deeper meanings.
In some cultures of the world, after a close one dies the relatives shave their heads as part of the death-related ceremonies. It implies letting go of the attachment to the old so that the soul of the deceased too can go forth in peace on a new journey, while the earthly relatives shed off the old and invite in new energy, and new growth.
With new hair growth and a new look, the person gets ready for a new life now.

Divorce too is death in a way. The death of a relationship. And it is a well-known fact that women especially feel cathartic when they re-style their hair after a break-up, but yes only if the hairstyle suits them!
A complete makeover is one of swiftest ways to regain your self-confidence after a divorce.

What Do You Truly Want?

The next step to regain your self-confidence is to find what it is that you truly love and want.The more you know about yourself and what you want in life, the more confident you will become about your decisions. You will stop second-guessing your decisions.

At this stage dig deep. Ask yourself:

  1. What is it that brightens my heart?
  2. If time and money were not constraints what would I love to do?
  3. What are the activities that make me forget the time and I can go with the flow with ease?
  4. What activities make me happy and feel at peace?
  5. If I had just one month to live what would I want to do the most?
  6. What are the books I love to re-read or the movies I watch again and again, or the characters I love because they uplift me? A Pointer: The feelings you feel when reading or watching these movies or the characters are the hints to what you really want to do in your life. These are the very feelings you want to experience while doing something in your life. Because at the end of the day we want to experience certain feelings and that is why we do what we do.
  7. Most importantly, what is it that I DO NOT LIKE?

The last question is an essential one.

For it is in finding out what you do not want, that you are left with what you do want.

A great saint of India called Ramana Maharshi had said the answer to all your problems lies within the answer to just one question – “Who am I?” To find out the answer to this question you need to first find out what you are not.

You are not the anger, the rage, the guilt, the depression that you feel after your divorce. You identify with them for sure and you get swayed and lost in your emotions. You can say ‘I am feeling depressed’. But you are not your depression.

When you keep peeling away what you are not, what remains is what you actually are.

Similarly, when you become aware of what you do not want for sure, however attractive it may seem, what you really do want becomes crystal clear.

What you do not want and what you want are simply two sides of the same coin. What you do not want is a pointer to what you want. And what you want is your ultimate truth, you simply need to express it to yourself.

So if you want to play with kids, go play. If you want to join a dance class, learn to dance. You want to bake, bake. If you want to dance in the rain, go get wet and dance. If you want to write but are too scared well, be scared but write. If you want to go skydiving but you are scared, first be safe, find a good instructor then be scared but with assistance dive! Do not be reckless. There is a difference.

Fear is good. It will keep you safe. But do not let it hold you back. You’ll find a way through your fear.

If it is something that you are not comfortable doing because it is new and out of your comfort zone, well with the divorce you are already in an unknown zone, far away from your comfort zone. So what do you have to lose when you do it all anyway?

A Meditative Exercise to Find Out What You Truly Want

We usually are focused on what we do not want more, instead of what we do want in life. And wherever our focus goes, energy flows. Therefore, we often are very clear about what we do not want, we fear it even, but we get confused about what we do want in life.

If you are one of those people who is confused about what you truly want in life, then the guided meditation given below is for you.
You may record the script given below and play it to guide you through this meditation process. Or you can read the script carefully and guide yourself mentally during the process.

Get yourself in a comfortable position. You can sit up straight for this exercise or even lie down if you want to. Now follow the meditation given below:

  • Allow yourself to relax.Take a few deep breaths. Now think about what you do not want in life. Pick anything. You’ve just had an experience of separation so it will be easy for you to pick anything that you do not want in life.
  • As you think of what you do not want in life you might get agitated, feel frustration or a sense of loss even, that’s okay. Let it all come up. Do not resist.
    Tell yourself, “I give myself give myself the full permission to feel these feelings to the fullest. Allow yourself to fully feel how much you do not want this thing.
  • Now speak to those feelings. Ask the feelings to take any shape. Notice the shape and the colour. Thank the shape for appearing. Tell it, “I am not sure why you are here. But I know you are here for a reason and you are serving some purpose. Thank you. Perhaps you need me to go through this experience. You’ve been here for quite some time keeping my focus on what I do not want, perhaps to protect me. Perhaps to keep me safe, from new things that can bring uncertainties and risks. However, now I feel stuck. I feel resistance and even confusion in finding out what I truly want. Perhaps it is time for you to understand that you have been successful in keeping me safe and protected. Your purpose in a way has been fulfilled. So now I would like to request you to show me what is it that is being hidden? What is it that I truly want?”
  • Wait for awhile as the shape begins to change and starts flooding you with images or feelings of what you do want. The shape can show it to you in the form of images, feelings, or overwhelming thoughts. Be open and receive. Notice now, that there seems to be no resistance, no discomfort, no fear, just a sense of ease and flow.

Knowing what we do not want is a gift, and the fear of it can keep us safe. But if the fear keeps our gaze trapped only onto what we do not want, then we become prisoners. We become free when we realize, that knowing what we do not want in life is simply the key to finding out what we truly want in life and shifting our gaze to that. We can then walk right through the fear and be free.

And as the saying goes “energy flows where attention goes.” As soon as your gaze shifts to what you want, your energy will align itself towards taking steps to make your dreams come true. It will happen effortlessly.

The more we know about ourselves and what we want, the more comfortable we become being ourselves in any situation. And the more our self-confidence grows.

Remodel Your Social Circle

Once you lose your fear and you begin to love life again what will change is your social circle. It would actually be wise to actively seek out a new social circle- people who uplift you. As you begin to understand yourself better with the all inner work you do on yourself, you will know what kind of people you do not want in your life, which leaves you with the kind of people you do want in your life.

Ask yourself: 

  • Who understands me and accepts me for who I am?
  • Who supports me through the worst of times?
  • With whom I feel comfortable being myself?
  • Whom do I not need to impress and instead in front of whom I can express myself fully?
  • Who can uplift me and keep me positive?

A Pointer – look for people who are content, are comfortable about their vulnerabilities, passionate about what they do, self-assured, and happy. It will all rub off on you.

Look for people with similar interests, join support networks you will meet some amazing people there. Go for guidance and counseling because having a different perspective on your life from someone other than you, and your family helps. You will never see the whole picture if you are in the picture. Going to a counselor will help you to get out of the picture and see the whole picture from a different context. There are portals dedicated to relationships such as askmile.com, where you can not only post queries anonymously for free and receive answers, but you can also choose a counselor of your choice to seek professional help and guidance.

Be with people with whom you feel safe being vulnerable and sharing your emotions. People who are strong and accepting enough to see you grieve and be with you. Allow yourself to grieve in front of these people whenever you feel the need to.

It is a vital part of the healing process to be able to weep out your grief.

The discomfort you may feel when meeting new people or while trying out new things to do will channel away from the residual pain you feel because of the divorce.

The pain transforms into energy which rings in the new into your life. This way you are not wasting your pain, but investing it.

Meet Your Future Self – An NLP Exercise

Now is the time to move on to the next phase of your life, to ask yourself:

  • How do I see myself five years hence?
  • Where do I want to be?
  • What would I like to do?

In other words, think about your long-term goals. Then make a plan to meet your future self half-way. You can break your long-term goals into short-term goals.

Writing down everything puts things in perspective, brings new insights and shows you what you need to prioritize in life at this moment.

So take out a diary. Write down:

  1. What would I like to accomplish in the next two years?

    Under this question list out two most important things that you want to do. Maybe you want to start your own company. Or maybe you want to travel to certain places. Maybe you want to enrol yourself in some educational programme and get a degree. Whatever it is, just take the two most important things you want to do in the next two years and list them out.

  1. What would I like to see having in my life in the next two years?

    Here you can write the two most important things you want to be able to have in the next two years. Maybe it could be earning and saving a certain amount of money, or being in a new relationship, have a new car, or a new house. Whatever it may be just write down two things

  2. What am I good at and enjoy doing? Which two skills would I like to learn the most in the next two years?

    You can list out two or three things you are really good at and love doing and can see yourself becoming proficient. Do not put in more than two or three skills that you can acquire in the next two years. 

  3. How do I see myself at the end of two years?

    To find out the answer to question number 4 do the simple meditative exercise given below. You can record the entire process and let the recording guide you when you do the meditation. Or you can simply read through and guide yourself through the process.

The NLP Exercise

Go into a clear space or clear some space in your room. Let there be nothing hindering your movement in front of you, for at least ten steps.

  • Allow yourself to completely relax. Take a few deep breaths. Once you are completely relaxed, visualize a lush green beautiful garden all around you may be with a fountain nearby or a running stream. You can hear the sound of the running water and the birds chirping as the breeze gently blows across your face. You are safe here. Let yourself be completely relaxed and at ease as you take in the sights and sounds of this beautiful place.
  • Now invite in the you two years from now. The future you who has already accomplished those things, who already has what you want, who already has those skill sets that you just listed in your diary.
  • Watch the future you two years from now walking towards you. He/she might first appear as a speck at a distance. As he/she gets closer, you begin to see him/her clearly. Notice what is he/she wearing? What colour are the clothes? How is he/she walking? How does he/she look? What is the expression on his/her face?
  • As he/she gets closer, get up. Physically get up with your eyes closed. (This is what you cleared the space in front of you for, before starting the meditation.)
    As he/she has ten more steps to get close to you, start walking physically with your eyes closed towards him/her. Take eight steps and wait. Looks at his/her face. Look at how he/she looks. Is he/she happy?
  • Now ask her/him “is there anything you want to tell me?”
    And let him/her speak. Listen carefully. Then ask again, “Is there anything you want to me to know?” Listen carefully.
  • Now tell him/her, “thank you for coming all this way to meet me. I am here to meet you halfway so that it is easier for us to be where we want to be. Can I now step inside you, and will you guide me from here on?”
  • Listen to the response. It is usually always positive. When you hear the “yes” take a deep breath in and take two steps and enter this future you. Take in his/her energy. Breathe in deeply.
  • How do you feel? How does your body feel? Your shoulders, your arms your legs. Notice the clothes now. These are the clothes of the future you two years from now. What colour are the sleeves or the front of the dress? Or is it sleeveless? Notice how your feet feel. Breathe in that feeling and let it course through your body, down through your feet into the ground and back again to the top of your head.
  • Thank your future self for coming all this way. And now gently when you feel like it open your eyes.

Drink some water after this exercise. And then return to your diary. Note down:

  • the date and time in your diary two years from now
  • what kind of clothes your future self-was wearing and the colour of those clothes.
  • the way you felt or are still feeling
  • what your future self-told you
  • anything that comes through you as insights

Do this exercise, for at least 21 days. You will find out:

  • How will you be after two years?
  • What are the gifts that you need to share with the world?
  • How far are you willing to go for yourself?
  • How much love do you have to give?
  • What are you willing to let go of to manifest your greatest self?
  • How much love are you willing to receive?

Meeting your future self can open up a whole new world of possibilities for you. Hence, you will discover abilities, gain focus and a sense of direction you never thought you had before

Begins a new journey, a journey for the real you to emerge. Do not hold back. The world needs your special gifts and your uniqueness. Come out and shine!

(To read part 1 of this article please go to How To Recover From Divorce – Emotionally)
– Anoo Pathak
Spiritual Counselor & Mentor

Online Counseling Askmile