Balancing Self-Acceptance and Self-Improvement in Your Life After Divorce

There are two ideas out there in the world of healing, both of which you may encounter in your post-divorce trauma. One of them is that the most important thing you can do on your journey is to practice self-acceptance and self-love. The other concept says that self-improvement and personal development need to be where your healing focus is. Do you feel both of those messages coming toward you in your life after divorce? When is it time to practice self-acceptance, and when is it time to practice self-improvement?

What is Self Acceptance

Self-acceptance is at the core of all healing work. When we women do EMDR therapy, EFT tapping, immersive journaling, or find the perfect constitutional homeopathic remedy, we are healing layers of traumatic energy that have been stored in the body.

We are peeling back deeper, deeper, and deeper layers of self-acceptance.

EMDR Healing Trauma

Oftentimes, when we’re born into this world, we are born more of a clean slate.

We women do come with genetics and historical energies in our bodies, but we tend to be born into the world a more clean slate than where we are four decades later. In EMDR, we take a look at the painful experiences we had and identify what negative core beliefs we associated with that experience.

“I had to be perfect,” “I should have done better,” “I’m not lovable,” or “I can’t trust myself.”

These are all negative beliefs that we women have come to pair with these painful post-divorce experiences that led to us not believing in ourselves, not trusting in ourselves, not accepting ourselves, or not believing we did the best we could at the time with what we had. These negative beliefs are forms of self-deprecation and self-rejection, not self-acceptance.

We end up distorting ourselves to fit into a weird idea that we women should have been different or we should have been more.

That leads to feelings of not being enough or not being loveable, which then makes you dissociate.

You have to separate from parts of your mind or certain memories to try to get out of how it feels to be in your body because you have created this space of “I am just simply not good enough.”

None of that’s true.

We know from living in a modern world with social media that we can become convinced of just about anything and then adapt to live accordingly. We see this throughout history if we look back at the trends in clothes, skincare, or what is perceived to be an ideal weight.

empty glass bottle with dry wild flowers in it, picture frame next to vase with wording 'be you do you for you', balancing self acceptance with self improvement

Your Best Goal: Self Acceptance

Your current and best goal in your life after divorce will always be self-acceptance. And we women struggle with that. Self-acceptance has been very hard for me, but with each layer of healing that I do, that’s where I find peace.

What Do You Want?

When you ask someone, “What do you want?” So many people will say peace. And yes, I want happiness. I want joy, I want love, I want abundance. But at the end of the day, what do we crave? It’s peace. And what is peace? Self-acceptance.

Practicing Self-Improvement to Accept Yourself

When do we women know if we need to focus on self-acceptance or we need to focus on self-improvement? What is it about self-improvement that can lead me to those more profound levels of self-acceptance?

What is Self-improvement

Think of your future self. It’s a vision or the vibration that you endeavor to embody. It could be a particular relationship, job, home, or a way of experiencing family relationships.

When I’m sitting with my current self, and I’m thinking about my future self, I say, “Okay, future self, let’s hash it out. Let’s have a meeting. Let’s do a little immersive journaling. Are the choices I’m making today in alignment with who you are? With who she is?”

If I’m visualizing this peaceful version of myself in a magical relationship with a healthy body and a dream job, are the choices I’m making today in alignment with my future self?

Or are the choices I’m making today leaving me stagnant? Or are the choices I’m making today leading me to end up with a completely divergent future self from what I visualize?

woman with white blouse and heart crystal on necklace, both of her hands over her heart, silver jewelry on fingers and arm, balancing self acceptance and self improvement

My Future Self: In Peace & Self Acceptance

My future self is a version of me where I’ve accepted myself so wholly that I feel peace and so much self-love that I am attracting powerful stuff in my life after divorce.

I’ve become one of those happy, joyous, and free people via self-acceptance.

There’s a difference between finding what feels good from self-acceptance and finding what feels good from numbing.

Is the way you’re living life right now contributing to these deeper levels of peace? One way you might ask yourself as you’re moving through your day is: “Is the choice I’m making for myself right now skin deep or soul deep?”

In a world of chasing what looks good versus what is in alignment with the future self, a lot of those solutions are going to be skin-deep when we women want soul-deep. Ask yourself in this recovery process: “Is this speaking to your soul?”

You are moving through this divorce recovery process in the first place because you wanted soul-deep solutions. Your soul, on some level, needs you to be in this transformational process. And so I want you to start using this as a divorce trauma tool. And maybe it’s time for a fresh mirror message. If you’ve done my Post-Divorce Roadmap, you know that I’m a big fan of mirror messages where you write something out on your mirror – because we all need reminders.

mirror showing a palm leave

Focus on Healing

Is what you’re thinking about right now skin-deep or soul-deep? I go outside each day and ask myself that question.

When we sit in nature, and we stare out at the ocean or the mountain valley, we remember there is larger life to be lived out there.

I want you to take a deep breath and get in the habit of asking yourself this question. It’s especially important as we’re inundated with these messages from our friends, our family, or social media about what you should be doing, how you should be living, and what you should be focusing on.

Focus on You

A lot of times, self-acceptance in your post-divorce recovery is doing uncomfortable things and saying hard things because self-acceptance is asking yourself, “How do I feel about this? What do I want at this moment versus what will I settle for?”

Focus on what you want. Focus on you.

woman with long black hair and white sweater, holding her red nail polished hands over her heart, balancing self acceptance and self improvement

I Am Enough

Self-acceptance doesn’t mean having all the answers.

Peace often comes from saying, “This is what I want; this is what I long for, and I honestly don’t know how to get there.”

Self-improvement comes with sitting with the unfolding of that process and believing you can do it. Repeat this phrase:

“I dare to say my future self wants this, and I’m not going to give up on that.”

Getting into a negative belief rut is not self-acceptance. That’s self-denial. That’s self-abandonment.

Pain and discomfort are a part of living. Growing strong comes with discomfort.

I Can Do Hard Things

Building resilience comes as a result of tolerating discomfort and saying hard things. It stops you from being hard on yourself. It’s having grace for ourselves in the growth process.

Have you gotten into a rut of denying what’s possible for you? Or not allowing yourself to know what you want or what you need, or saying what you need? Or are you doing a really good job of pressing just outside of your comfort zone to practice?

Self-accepting beliefs you can focus on this week: I am lovable, I don’t have to be perfect, I can learn how to trust myself, I am learning from this, and I’m doing my best today.

Write it in your journal.

You’ve got this. I love you so much.

Divorce recovery coach Dawn Wiggins

...helps people crack open. Challenging the status quo, she integrates multiple modalities from EMDR to EFT tapping, journaling, homeopathy, and movement, embracing remedies that heal both the mind and body. Divorce recovery coach Dawn Wiggins is on a mission to deliver life-changing therapy in an accessible, scalable, affordable way and make waves in the world of mental health with the same enlightenment that happens in her office. Part science, part essential oils, pure magic.

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