Finding Your Feet: First Steps in Divorce Recovery

Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is key to feeling better.

Posted May 19, 2018

I watched a movie last night called Finding Your Feet. It’s a story about an upper class British woman, Sandra, who discovers at her husband’s retirement party that he’s been having a five-year affair with her friend. Devastated, she leaves to go live with her sister, Bif, with whom she’s been estranged for 10 years, and the husband quickly moves in with his affair partner.

Spotmatik Ltd/Shutterstock
Source: Spotmatik Ltd/Shutterstock

The movie is about Sandra’s transformation. When she arrives at Bif’s messy working class flat, she’s emotionally shut down, crying and depressed. Bif, a free spirit, pushes her to come to her community dance class and Sandra reluctantly complies. After she's attended the class a few times, she can’t help herself and starts to be swept along by the fun of dancing and comfort of being in the group.

She meets a guy there who she initially can’t stand but eventually comes to love. She changes from being an uptight repressed lady (literally; she’s Lady Sandra) into an alive fun-loving woman. She remembers that she used to love to dance. She finds her feet.

Okay, cliché. Why am I telling you this? Because the message is essential to you: Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. When Sandra’s husband first left, she couldn’t imagine that she could refashion a life for herself with the help of her kooky older sister. But the turning point came when she agreed to go to the first dance class.

She was miserable at that first class and didn’t want to participate. She struggled with herself and couldn’t raise her arms or move her feet and throw herself into the flow of the class. But just by going, miserable and all, she triumphed. She didn’t know it at the time but it was the first step toward her recovery.

A month after my husband left, some friends invited me to their annual Christmas party. I dragged myself there and, sitting among all the couples in a room that I’d been in with my husband the previous year, I was so wretched that I left after 20 minutes. I thought it was a failure, but it was really an important step.

Wherever you are in your recovery, you need to push yourself past your comfort zone. If it’s early in the process, that may just mean getting out of bed, taking a shower, getting dressed and forcing some food down your throat. Later on, it may mean going to your friend’s birthday party or taking a class by yourself. And if you want to, even later on, it may mean taking a leap of faith and dating again.

Each of those little steps are essential to your recovery. You won’t be able to see it now but you need to push past your impulse to retreat, even in small ways and even if it doesn’t feel good. It’s a struggle, it’s a journey and I know you can get there. So stop and think right now of something that you know would be good for you that feels too hard and make up your mind to do it. Like Sandra, you can find your feet again.

Add your comments below. Tell us what that hard thing is, big or small, and how you plan to accomplish it.