Survival Steps: Choose your friends wisely

Baby steps are so important when one is fighting for one's happiness. During the first few weeks after my husband and I separated, the world as I had known it had disappeared. In my new emotional state I felt I had no future - at least, it wasn't the one that I had planned or wanted.

So I took each day as it came, sticking to a strict regimen, forcing myself to maintain a schedule, exercising, eating what I could, talking to a few select friends whose judgment I respected, and seeking a job with benefits.

If I looked too far ahead all my anxieties would crowd out any good thoughts I managed to retain. I fought fear at every step. It took all my energy to survive the emotional pain I was going through. If the pain became unbearable, I would call a friend whose judgment I trusted. Two close friends made themselves available when I needed to babble. They simply listened, rarely making a judgment, and had the good sense to know that all I wanted was to connect with another human being. Nothing they said would have helped me in my raw state anyway. And they had the wisdom to understand this.

My advice to those who are seeking some guidance from this blog is to choose your friends wisely during this vulnerable time. You'll need someone else to think sensibly for you, someone who only has your best interests in mind, so don't choose a drama queen to lean on. And don't choose someone who just wants to one-up your situation, the kind that says "I know someone who had it way worse than you, or I know a woman who lost her house, and job, and children." Such talk doesn't help. In fact, it trivializes the pain you're going through and will make you feel worse.

If you allow yourself to feel the pain as you are experiencing it, to cry, and to lean on others (without too much self pity) your healing will begin so much sooner. During your darkest times, trust this hard won piece of knowledge I learned: You will survive and emerge a stronger, better person. Just give it time.

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