5 Keys to Thriving After Divorce
Rebecca Perkins is a dedicated and inspiring midlife coach. She is passionate about midlife as a time for renewal and for living the second half of life with enthusiasm and vigour. She is the author of Best Knickers Always: 50 Lessons for Midlife and began writing to make sense of her life after the ending of a 20 year marriage.
She has appeared on BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour and BBC Radio London and writes regularly for The Huffington Post. She is a professionally qualified NLP Master Practitioner and Coach.
Rebecca lives in London, celebrating life in her 50s. Following are loosely transcribed highlights of my interview with Rebecca on Last First Date Radio about the 5 keys to thriving after divorce.
5 Keys to Thriving After Divorce
What inspired you to write your book, “Best Knickers Always: 50 Lessons for Midlife”?
Across the pond where I live here in London, knickers stand for panties. The title came about when a girlfriend texted me. I was divorced, and I had just ended a relationship with a man I had fallen head over heels over. I was sulking. I felt like my whole life had collapsed. She asked how I was doing. I answered, “I don’t think I’ll ever get over it.” She said, “One step after another. Look after yourself. And remember ‘best knickers always’”. That was such a great reminder. I used to care so much about my appearance and paid particular attention to my lingerie. Now, I was wearing old knickers, and I’d neglected myself. That’s where the title came from.
The book came about on a beautiful spring morning a few years later. I felt at peace with the world around me. I asked myself, “What’s changed in the past few years to get me to where I am today?” That led to 100 bullet points, which led to the book about my 50 top lessons.
Some of the lessons I learned: the importance of spending time outside, spending time with people older and younger, doing things that are different, having a purpose and passion. Although it’s a book written for midlife, an 18-year-old I know read it and said the lessons were relevant to him, too.
What does ‘thriving after divorce’ mean to you?
Having been in the opposite of thriving after divorce and having suffered depression as well, I knew I wanted to have a renewed vigor in the second half of life. “If not now, when?” became my motto. I wanted to be excited and get my mojo back. I wanted to believe and trust in myself and my abilities to support my family. Thriving after divorce means nourishing body, mind, and soul. It’s about seeing possibilities, and risking more by stepping outside of my comfort zone, and by letting go, and by self-care. It’s also about respecting myself and becoming authentically me.
How do you define your authentic self?
We come into the world full of love, and un-love ourselves over time. It starts with self-care. Register yourself on your daily list. Peel back the layers to what’s basic. This is not about being selfish. You can’t be of service to others if you’re not looking after yourself. What are your daily practices? Read lots of books about valuing yourself and choose from the huge collection of self-help books out there. “Simple Abundance” is a wonderful book that includes daily passages that were particularly helpful to me.
What are the 5 keys to thriving after divorce?
1. Acceptance: Accept the situation that you’re in. You are divorced. Wishing things would be different holds you back. When you accept, then you can make positive changes in your life.
2. Courage: Guide your courage toward yourself and use it for your own needs. Doing the little things that take courage, like asking for help and support. Stand on your own and believe in yourself.
3. Clarity: If you can have clarity and create a picture for the life you want after divorce, you can create that. What do you want? What’s it look like? Also, look at what you don’t want. That’s a good place to start.
4. Non-judgment: If we can learn not to judge ourselves, we can learn not to judge others. People usually behave badly out of fear. If we can have compassion, it goes a long way to helping us become more understanding and better. Be curious, less judgmental.
5. Self-responsibility: No one is responsible for your life except you. Quit blaming others, and take responsibility for your own life.
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