You Are Greater Than Your Perceived Sum

Divorce is hard.

Let me rephrase that: the transition that comes with divorce is hard.  For some, the actual decision to divorce isn’t hard.  However, that doesn’t negate the sleepless nights, moments of breathless sobs, and swirling questions that range from, “what am I going to do for money?” all the way to, “how in the world did this happen?”  For some, both of those questions are easily answered.

For others?  Not so much.

Whether you’ve experienced this transition with children or not, it’s a road filled with uncertainty, emotional upheaval, and constant re-evaluation of what the next hour will bring.  Some people have to move back in with parents, and some people have to begin scraping the bottom of the barrel for whatever job(s) they can find.  Some people deal with the emotional breakdowns of their soon-to-be ex-spouse, and some have to deal with moving their belongings over multiple state lines in nothing but a car and the hope of a brighter tomorrow.

If you are like me, you’ve had to tackle all of those scenarios at once.

It can be breathless to navigate, and in the midst of it all — when you lay your head down at midnight after staring at a wall for an hour wondering what in the world you’re going to do — you can’t help but to allow the tears stream down the sides of your face before taking a deep breath and allowing sleep to finally creep you closer to that impending date.

The court date that will change the rest of your future.

If you’re like me, you had to take the time to grieve.  Not necessarily for the loss of the marriage, but for the loss of the future you built upon it.  If you’re like me, you assumed your relationship with your spouse was something you could always count on to be there.

If you’re like me, you allowed that broken trust to creep to the forefront of your mind.

And then, just like broken trust does, it begins the audio reel of self-doubt.  You begin to wonder what you did wrong, or what you could have done better.  You waste time analyzing your every move, backtracking through every argument, looking for every sign, and all the while you question your ability to see those red flags through the rose-colored lens you looked through for as long as you did.

Well, I’m here to dispense a bit of advice.

You are greater than the sum of your perceived parts.

Whether you are a man, woman, transitioning, or undefined, divorce has the same impact.  Why?  Because the effects of divorce are rooted in emotional dimensions.  Emotions are made up of the same chemical reactions no matter the gender or sexual identity of the person experiencing them, and it can leave destruction in its wake if any one person allows it to swallow them whole.

You are greater than the sum of your perceived parts.

If you are a stay-at-home mother like myself, you’re probably thinking that you are incapable of finding a job that will support you and your children.  Chances are, along down the line, someone convinced you of the “fact” that your dreams and your aspirations weren’t as important, and that you wouldn’t be able to accomplish half of what the “true” breadwinner of the family could.

You are greater than the sum of your perceived parts.

If you have no children and find yourself alone, you’re probably sitting there thinking that true love has passed you by.  You might be thinking you had your chance at a lifetime of love and now there isn’t anyone else out there for you.  With that train of thought might come the idea that your life stops here.

You are greater than the sum of your perceived parts.

Maybe you were in an abusive relationship, and that ex-spouse beat you down verbally, or mentally, or emotionally for years before you could escape.  Maybe you’re sitting there thinking they were right, you aren’t worth any more than what they originally saw.  Maybe you were isolated and left a relationship with no friends, no job, and no family to take you in as you move throughout this transition.

You need to pat yourself on the back… And then you need to understand something.

You are greater than the sum of your perceived parts.

The way someone sees you doesn’t hold enough wind to blow a plastic bag off the ground… Unless you believe it.

The way someone interprets your life and how you live it doesn’t amount to a hill o’ beans… Unless you allow their interpretation to become reality.

The way someone has analyzed how you live your life is inconsequential… Unless you begin to live it that way. 

How someone has interpreted you has no bearing on what you can become.

For some, the idea of “doing anything” that comes with a divorce can be excruciatingly scary.  You’ve gone from a shared track with another person– a track with a defined path– to a path that no longer houses a planned future.  And that can be crippling.

It was for me.

I looked at my son night after night and wondered how in the world I was going to support him.

And it wasn’t until my ex-spouse mentioned becoming the residential parent because of his full-time job that I realized I was greater than the sum he had derived for me.  It wasn’t until I had to furiously convince him between gritted teeth on a playground as my son was swinging that I was capable of being the residential parent.  It wasn’t until I took to the internet and began scraping the bottom of the barrel for writing jobs that I realized I was capable of this.  That I was capable of more.

I am greater than the sum of my third-party interpreted parts.

And so are you.

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