When something catches you unawares, oftentimes you are totally unprepared for it. That lack of preparedness might leave you feeling powerless. And that powerless comes from not knowing what your options are to deal with the new situation at hand.
You may panic. You may feel hopeless. You may despair. Before you sink any deeper into the black hole,you need to take back your power.
Knowledge and having a plan are the first steps you take to empower yourself.
You need to have knowledge of the facts and what your options are. Without knowing the facts, all you are doing is speculating and scaring yourself with the results of the speculation. It also leaves you vulnerable to others’threats. Even if you do not end up going with either option, knowing the consequences will help you make an informed decision.
When I first found out my husband had been having an affair, I was in a divorce lawyer’s office one week later, armed with whatever documents I could extract. Even if I didn’t end up divorcing him, I needed to know where I stood. And the best person who could tell me that is a divorce lawyer.
Once you know what your options are, make a plan.
I like planning ahead. For instance, I check the weather app on my phone every night so I’ll know how to dress myself and my daughter the next day. I go down to the detail – I look at the hourly forecast to figure out what the weather would be like when we leave our apartment and when we walk back in the evening – I even look at the wind speeds. I also check the weather a week and a half ahead for weekend activities and Google average temperatures months ahead for vacation destinations. I’m a little extreme I know. But it’s always good to have a plan.
Having a plan gives you a sense of direction. It also keeps you in check. I remember when I first found out about the affair and was in the throes of devastation, my colleague who’s been through a divorce gave me a very good piece of advice. She said to buy a whiteboard for the home and write down all the things you want to do to make yourself feel better and start the rebuilding process. She said it could be something as minor as buying a new suit to something major like getting an MBA. It could be long term, it could be short term. It could even be things that you would never get down to doing in the end – because plans change.
It doesn’t matter because no one’s going to see your plan and judge you for it. Writing down your plan is therapeutic – for yourself. It reminds you that life still goes on besides this bad thing that happened to you. It gives you hope for the future. It helps you with your recovery. It tells you you’ve got this.
My plan looked like this (in no particular order because remember it doesn’t have to be in order as you are only brainstorming):
1. Move out of in laws’ place
2. Order furniture
3. Register my daughter for daycare
4. Do well at work
5. Move to Manhattan
6. Get an MBA
7. Buy a place
Already I’m thinking I might scratch number 6 about the MBA and do something else instead because it doesn’t fit into my long term plans. (I also did not buy a whiteboard. I wrote my plan down on the back of a notebook.) But the point is – plans can change but having a plan helps you focus on your recovery and your future.
So go ahead and make that plan today.