April 23, 2022
A Personal Story About Emotional Recovery

The 4 R’s are a roadmap, a guide to restore and rebalance yourself after loss and betrayal.

I was raised to believe in the Cinderella story, the one where the prince appears and we live happily ever after, so when I got divorced in my late 20’s, I was shocked and devastated. How had this gone differently? What happened to my prince? Was he not for me, and had I failed to notice? These were the questions I asked myself between tears and heartache.

Many of us have been there. Many of us have seen and experienced this story.

After a while, when I was able to set some of my disappointment aside, I decided to become a “searcher.” I was on a mission to find the “perfect partner.” Until I realized that not only was I attracting very “non-perfect” partners, but I was also quite unhappy. That’s when I realized that I had to return to the source, my source, myself.

I started to do this by allowing myself time and space to REST. Truly rest: mind, body and soul. Whatever and however that looked like – without judgment. This felt like a tough one in a society where rest is associated with laziness and unproductivity. Giving myself permission to do nothing, to sit on the beach quietly or with a book, going for solo walks, wandering through museums without a focus or timeline allowed my mind to slow down and my soul to soothe itself. My internal critic (IC) was on fire during this time, questioning my decision to both marry and then divorce, and the best way I found to quiet that IC was through solo time.

Then I naturally began a REFLECTION period. My internal critic may have started this by forcing me to look within, and tend to thoughts and questions I was avoiding. By intentionally looking inward and listening, I was able to redirect the criticism to feedback. The questions became “lessons learned” about myself and gave me clarity as to who I was and wanted to be. I did this solo, in writing and out loud. I also did this with my girlfriends. The trusted circle that allowed me to cry into my drink as well as give me “tough love” when needed.

Only when I had completed (at least for the moment) these 2 parts of Emotional Recovery, was I able to consider the idea of RE-SETTING. How to return to a more social life? With whom? How to trust my instincts? Setting the parameters of who, what, when and how to choose others outside my trusted circle. Re-setting for me was about intentionally creating a life for myself. Not just what I did (activities), but also how I did life. I set about doing the activities that called me, that had called me in the past: travel, learning and work. I completed graduate work and set my sights on my original goal of private practice. Lived on my own in my own apartment for the first time. Moved to an area that aligned with all this: near the beach. This was my time with friends both old (trusted circle) and new (mostly work friends). These people and things refreshed my soul, restored my confidence and encouraged me to play.

There is no timeline for this path. It is unique to each of us. When we focus on ourselves intentionally and lovingly, we can naturally enter the fourth stage: RE-ENGAGEMENT.

Re-engagement is the decision in both mind and body to return to relationships. Return to the process of getting to know someone else, now with a fuller knowledge of ourselves and what we want. We can use this knowledge to direct us to people that will fill us, instead of drain us. There are no guarantees that the next person you allow in will be “the One,” however by practicing the 4 R’s you can give yourself the time to heal and pivot in a clearer direction. Clarity will help you stay on track and even help you return to your path if you get distracted or detoured.

The 4 R’s are a roadmap, a guide to restore and rebalance yourself after loss and betrayal.

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