The Pressure of Valentine

Broken Red Heart

The heavy weight of loneliness can be suffocating, especially for those going through a divorce. Many don’t recognize that the death of a relationship elicits many of the same emotions as a physical death. However, instead of getting sympathy from friends and family, divorce often cuts a swath of destruction in many relationships for a multitude of reasons. Instead of comfort, many receive judgement and criticism. Loneliness compounded by rejection and strife on top of major change results in hurting people.

Holidays are often especially difficult for those who are hurting. It’s easy to assume that everyone else is happy and secure. Of course, this image is largely a function of the media and not necessarily based in reality. Valentine’s Day is accompanied by images of laughing couples and happy families, accentuating the loneliness a divorcee is feeling.

Here are three ways to combat feelings of isolation, on Valentine’s Day or any other day.

1. Refuse to play the comparison game. Write down the things you are thankful for and focus on what you have, not what others have. Put your list in your pocket and look at it throughout the day. When your mind starts to go down the path of longing for what others seem to have, rein in that thinking by reading your list.

2. Make a plan to do three random acts of kindness today. Look for opportunities to put a smile on someone else’s face.

3. Be kind to yourself. Indulge yourself in a treat. It doesn’t need to involve a big expense. Buy a book, take a walk in the park with your dog, or call a friend you’ve missed and haven’t taken time to connect with. Intentionally choose to do something that brings you pleasure.

There is no easy way to work through the pain of divorce. It takes time for a damaged heart to heal. Day by day, you are getting stronger. May you experience comfort in the unfailing love of God, today and every day.