How Gifts from a Softer Side of Divorce Can Help You Recover

By Pamela Elaine Nichols

Gift Divorce RecoveryDivorce is an experience that is...well...just depressing. Divorce disempowers, holds couples hostage, steals, haunts, and overstays its welcome. How does one cope with divorce and life afterwards? One way is by accepting the gifts divorce's softer side offers.

 In America, divorce happens approximately every 36 seconds:

  • It is responsible for financial devastation, particularly for women
  • It is expensive, costing anywhere between $20,000 to over $100,000
  • It brings discord and disharmony
  • It severs the bond thought to connect the best of friendships
  • It has long-term negative effects on children, their health, and their future intimate relationships
  • It affects 50% of married couples, bringing their relationship to a screeching halt.

D.I.V.O.R.C.E. is:

D - Destructive

I - Inciting

V - Vicious

O - Obdurate

R - Rocky

C - Contentious

E - Emotionally Draining

I marvel at the amazing, destructive power of divorce. Yet, I marvel more at this: divorce has magnanimous power because we have given power to it. "We", being those going through it, well-meaning family and friends, community, practitioners, and media. We give divorce the claws, teeth, and legs that make up the beast that it is.

We created the beast. We feed it. We give it a warm place to stay when we:

We created the beast 

  • Fight in front of the children
  • Speak poorly of the other parent in front of the children
  • Endlessly speak negatively about the ex-spouse to anyone who might listen
  • Battle in court over one’s “rights” to this or that
  • Withhold financial support
  • Bully the ex-spouse emotionally

All of these examples and many others demonstrate how we allow the beast of divorce to wreak havoc in our lives. The beast of divorce is in full-effect 24/7 all over the world.

However, a grass-roots swelling is happening. Divorced and divorcing couples, and divorce practitioners are benefiting from an apparent contradiction: underneath the thick, hairy, impenetrable layer of skin, the beast of divorce has a heart...dare I say, a softer side. This softer side is not intended to destroy, rather it is intended to offer something unexpected: gifts that make life better for all; gifts intended to help co-parents relate better to one another; gifts that help couples move on and in a peaceful way. 

7 Gifts from a Softer Side of Divorce - Life After Divorce

Could there be a softer side to the beast of divorce? A side capable of giving rather than taking? A side capable of building rather than destroying? Offering peace rather than war?

Yes, indeed. Remember that WE are the ones who created the beast in the first place. Therefore, WE are also the ones who can create a softer, gentler entity that beckons us to heal, grow and become a higher version of ourselves. 

7 Gifts from a softer side of D.I.V.O.R.C.E. are: 

D = Determination

I = Independence

V = Victory

O = Optimism

R = Resilience

C = Calm

E = Emotional Intelligence 

1) The Gift of Determination

Go start that business you were told was a waste of time that no one believed you had the skills to run. Lose that weight, finally, because it’s good for your health not because you feel inadequate. Take that trip (without the kids) that you have been dreaming about. Leave that job you hate and start a new career. Go do you! Do what you have wanted to do and don’t even think about asking for someone’s permission.

2) The Gift of Independence

You get to make decisions on your own terms. Period! Now is the time to trust your own guiding system to do what you know is best for you and your family.

3) The Gift of Victory

What you thought would destroy you, didn’t, whether infidelity or financial misappropriation. With victory comes self-confidence - the energy of motivation. Even better, victory comes when you know how to get over someone who hurt you deeply. His or her words and actions no longer send you on an emotional rollercoaster.

4) The Gift of Optimism

Your future has promise. Give thanks for what you have and the good opportunities that are to come, rather than obsess about what you don’t have or fear what may come.

5) The Gift of Resilience

How could you know your own strength to bounce back unless you were first stretched to your breaking point? You really are a superhero!

6) The Gift of Calm

There is no better time to learn the practice of meditation than now, whether going through a divorce, coming out or well beyond. Meditating daily as a practice confers long-term emotional, spiritual, and physical benefits. The world may fall apart around you, but you won’t because you have tapped into an endless reservoir of peace and calm.

7) The Gift of Emotional Intelligence

You are a human being with emotions and as long as you are human, you will experience emotions. How you manage these emotions determines your level of intelligence. Emotional intelligence is a skill that anyone can develop and strengthen. Success in work, life and love are linked to high emotional intelligence. Self-awareness and self-regulation of your emotions improve your relationships because the stuff that used to irk you no longer does. Instead of (over) reacting, you now thoughtfully respond. 

These are just 7 gifts from a softer side of divorce. Freely take them. The supply is endless. Why not create a list of your own 7 gifts? Start creating the future you want. Live your dreams and be the highest version of yourself. Focus on your inner world and your personal development. You will find that in so doing, you become a gift to yourself and to others.

What a win-win.

About the Author

Pamela Elaine Nichols

Picture of Pamela Elaine Nichols Prior to joining Main Line Family Law Center, Pamela Elaine spent time as a stay-at-home mother after an extensive career in healthcare management. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Biology from California State University at Northridge and a Master of Health Sciences Degree from The Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health. Pamela Elaine is a Certified Six Sigma Black Belt in business process improvement and a graduate of Landmark Forum’s Curriculum for Living. She is an author and motivational speaker on the topics of emotional intelligence and resilience, a singer/songwriter, and a half-marathoner.

Why not learn more about preparing for divorce

Download THE EMOTIONAL ROLLER COASTER: A Guide to Preparing for Divorce


  • The 10 essential strategies for navigating the emotional ups and downs of divorce.
  • The 6 stages of grief and loss in divorce, and 3 important things you should know about it.
  • Over a dozen tips to keep your emotions "in check" so you can handle the legal and financial side of divorce.

Topics: Your Wellbeing