When we’re going through a stressful time like a divorce, how do you move forward? These are the moments that define who you are and reveal the important inner workings of your own mind. Sure, it’s easy to feel good about yourself when things are going your way. More important to consider is how you feel about yourself when the going gets tough. When you stumble and fall along your path, do you dust yourself off with a loving hand or do you reach for a club to beat yourself forward? The secret to peace of mind and success is in learning to love yourself unconditionally.

I coached a client I’ll call Sarah who was going through a separation. Sarah’s internal dialogue was toxic. “How could you be so stupid?”, “If you had been a better person this never would have happened to you!” and “You are going to be single forever” are just a few examples of the self-talk she had. Until we worked together, Sarah was not completely aware of how she treated herself. Sarah was a dog-lover. The penny dropped when I asked her if she would ever speak to her dogs this way when teaching them new tricks. Her answer was “Absolutely not! That would be cruel and totally discouraging to them! It would make it much harder for them to trust me in the future.” Sarah realized she was willing to give her dogs more love, respect and encouragement than she was giving herself. This was the beginning of her shift to leading with her heart.

Often people try to move forward through adversity by bullying or intimidating themselves. Others endlessly second-guess and judge themselves. Sometimes people shame themselves. Sarah was skilled in all of these modes.

If you want powerful and long-lasting results, learn how to love yourself through your journey. Be gentle and loving with yourself. Encourage yourself for every step along the way. Celebrate your victories and your losses, because each experience will bring you to a greater understanding of who you really are.

Here are some strategies to get you started:

1. Identify Your M.O.
What does your typical inner dialogue sound like when you come up against a challenge? Does that voice sound critical, blaming or judgmental? Ask yourself where did you first hear that voice. Perhaps it was with a parent or a teacher when you were a young child. Consider whether that person got her desired results in life by using that type of dialogue.

2. Connect with Your Heart
Research compiled by The HeartMath Institute shows that your heart emits an electromagnetic field that can be measure up to 8 to 10 feet outside your physical body. The heart’s field is approximately 5,000 times greater in strength than the field produced by your brain! The heart plays a central role not only in circulating blood, but in many other ways that improve our immune system and manage stress. Connecting with your heart can be as simple as taking a moment to place your hand on it, close your eyes and take some deep breaths while bringing your awareness to your heart center. Connect with your heart to help break out of the pattern of negative dialogue.

3. Let A Dog be Your Yardstick
You don’t need to be a dog owner to adopt this strategy. Become aware of the thoughts you hold about yourself or the beliefs you have. Stop and ask yourself whether you would treat a dog, or a small child, in the same way. If not, stop and connect with your heart again. Treat yourself in that moment to some kindness and encouragement. Thank yourself for breaking the pattern and creating a new commitment to loving yourself forward, instead of beating yourself up.

In each moment of challenge and despair, there is an opportunity to transform it into a moment of revelation and insight. The key to that transformation is leading with your heart.

Author's Bio: 

Author and spiritual divorce coach, Carolyn B. Ellis, founded Thrive After Divorce, Inc. to help separated and divorced individuals improve relationships, increase self-confidence and save time and heartache. She is the award-winning author of the best-selling The 7 Pitfalls of Single Parenting: What to Avoid to Help Your Children Thrive After Divorce. If you want simple life-changing tips for single parenting, visit http://www.thriveafterdivorce.com now to receive a FREE report.

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