How I Healed My Low Self-Worth After Infidelity and Divorce

“It’s okay to let go of those who couldn’t love you. Those who didn’t know how to. The ones who didn’t even attempt. It’s okay to outgrow them, because that means you filled the empty space in you with self-love instead. You’re outgrowing them because you’re growing into you. And that’s more than okay, that’s something to celebrate.” ~Angelica Moone

One day, the man I had always wanted to be with was found. I met him as the most loving, romantic and amazing man I’ve ever seen. He wanted to spend time with me because he was so passionate about his love for me.

I was an outsider. My mommy had died and I had issues with control. I was the little princess who needed to be saved by a prince. Und ich. This wasRescued and whisked off to a different state. I was adored and loved by my wonderful husband, whom I later married.

Our relationship lasted almost nine years. However, my eating disorder history caused us to disconnect. My perfect day was interrupted by my obsession with food and exercise. It was impossible for us to talk. There was no way to communicate on a spiritual, physical or emotional level.

Two days after Christmas, he told me he didn’t love me. In early 2021, he filed for divorce.

I admit, the facts remain foggy about when husband’s affair started, but the emotional truth is this: I felt raw, exposed, ripped apart from the inside. Then my heart broke apart and those broken pieces fell into even more.

Every time he went out of the house I could see where he was and with whom he was. My chest was continually gnawed with a pickaxe. This made the constant pain and yearning for my spouse, from my past life, even more severe.

He should be next to me in bed. It was my desire to see him in darkness, feel his weight as he sleeps. You can hear his snoring and breathe. They kept on coming night after night.

All of this was because I took responsibility for it all: my husband, house and dog, as well as losing my spouse. My marriage fell apart because of me. Unlovable, unworthy of love. Broken. That is why my husband didn’t love me enough to want to work through our problems.

We could have been together had I sought out help sooner. If I wouldn’t have been so obsessive over exercise and what I ate, then he wouldn’t have stopped loving me. If I would have loved him perfectly, then he wouldn’t have found the love he needed with another woman. 

I had nightmares about him in both good and bad times. Harsh words, hurtful things that I said and did, would wait for me to get into bed, then pounce when I was trying to go to sleep. The constant stream of tears threatened my life no matter where I was.

He filed for divorce. I decided to end the relationship. I didn’t allow my eating disorder to control any of my lives.

I realized I couldn’t blame myself entirely for the end of my relationship. My body was not perfect for me, but I decided to put my all into the healing process.

It was time to let go of my past and heal myself. I needed to take real control of my past and learn from my mistakes so I wouldn’t make them again. It was a life-changing experience that I felt I needed to overcome. But I didn’t know where I should begin in the healing process. I found this was what saved me.

1. Prayer and Gratitude

Each day I’m reminded that there are always things to be grateful for. It is the return of light after darkness. A gentle shower that falls upon the end of a long, dry spell. The change in leaves. A functional mind and body. Your life is filled with people who are committed to you.

These things were still there for me, and they still brought joy to my heart. Each day I expressed gratitude, even for the smallest of things.

I wrote down three things about the night that I was grateful for. It is a blessing to be able to get up in the morning and make my bed. My job is a blessing.

You can start to appreciate even the smallest things in life and stop dwelling on the negative.

Since childhood, I’ve believed in the existence of a greater power and have been spiritually inclined. Every night I prayed to my family. Next, I prayed for my family and friends. And eventually for myself, something I’d never done before because I didn’t feel worthy.

The gnawing pain in my stomach and the brokenness of my heart I felt was what I needed to get rid of. My life of blaming myself and beating myself up about it had failed, so I didn’t have much to lose. The only thing I could gain was confidence and strength.

2. Counseling, self-love and counseling

Counselor was recommended to me. This helped me to tell my story to someone who was able to help. It was liberating to tell someone the beginning of my story. It didn’t own me anymore.

However, I had much to learn.

My husband felt cold and uneasy. He felt the same way. I was ignored by him. He looked down at me with disgust and disdain when we finally met. I went straight to my default thoughts; he must think I’m ugly. I was able to escape from the downward spiral of self-loathing but it wasn’t for too long.

It was my goal to improve, and to end struggling with self-worth issues.

Counseling has helped me see things from a different perspective. She shared something with me that will stay with me forever in one of our sessions. You could not have done anything differently. He would have to go. To know that I hadn’t failed at my relationship and it wasn’t all my fault was a huge relief.

Counselor introduced me to self-love exercises, which seemed so strange. I couldn’t wrap my head around it. It was awkward to look in the mirror at myself and give myself compliments with compassion. But I managed it. As I demonstrated compassion towards myself, I saw my intrinsic worth.

It was the simple statement: I Love You.

This turned out to be: I deserve your love.

These were the words I kept repeating every day no matter where I was. I changed my reality because of this shift in thinking. It was then that I believed I was worthy to be loved.

3. Acceptance and Forgiveness

Although I had regular conversations with counselors, it was still a hellish rollercoaster ride. My husband told me that he was on his way to fish a couple hours from my house. I knew he was lying from the core of my being.

When he came back to me on Monday, I went into the room where he had been sleeping and located the receipt. The receipt was for a two-person hotel room that was only twenty minutes from my house. I confronted the man and he denied any wrongdoing. I couldn’t mention the receipt because I was ashamed for trying to find proof.

He was lying, so I did horrible things that night. I was with him almost nine years. How is he able to continue to disregard my feelings after all that? I don’t understand how he could lie. He was clear in his behavior that he wanted to end our marriage. We should admit this.

It was as if he had never truly loved me. Tension between us grew and I was left feeling like an outsider in the house I’d lived in for six-years.

I wanted him, like me, to experience my hurt, my loss, and to be able to relate to my feelings. His experience with the loss of his parent was not like mine. He hadn’t experienced the abandonment of loved ones who were supposed to care for all parts of you. My pain and my grief were beyond his comprehension. It festers in the body like a volcano and then explodes as self-harm.

Despite my mistakes in our relationship and my feelings of unworthiness, I knew I didn’t deserve his lies. Next morning I made a promise to myself not to try and find evidence of his affair. It wasn’t worth the pain. He could choose to keep libeling or I would have known the truth. Also, I stopped beating myself up for saying what I said.

It was clear to me that I couldn’t go back in the past and do everything again. I couldn’t take anything back. I needed to move on from the past. He was a man I loved and part of me loves him. At that point, I forgiven my husband for his actions. I just couldn’t forgive myself yet.

4. Meditation and breath

I tried meditation on my own, but I was in the same boat as so many other people who say they can’t meditate because their mind wanders. I didn’t have the patience to meditate, but I still tried.

I sat down on the floor, closed my eyes, and began thinking of all the things I wasn’t supposed to think about. Like I had done so many times before, I tried my best to remain focused on the current moment. I was in need of help.

A Meetup group I joined was about mindfulness and healing. I learned tactics for finding awareness and my own inner peace, like repeating a mantra over and over, “I am here. I am love. You are enough. I am okay.” I learned about the power of breathing and the breath cycles: inhale for four seconds, hold for seven, exhale for eight.

Through practice I was able retrain my brain so that it can stay present in the moment and not worry about the future or dwell on the past. Meditation helps to change the mind’s thoughts, too.

Meditation helped me to become more aware and accept my emotions. The sadness came and I allowed it. I crumbled to the floor and allowed my tears to fall for as long as needed and eventually, I rose from the floor and moved forward, telling myself that it’s okay to feel whatever it is you feel.

It threatened to cripple me when I was lonely so I allowed it in. It eventually left. Emotions are unwelcome guests. They can be annoying, but eventually they leave.

Within the next couple of months I noticed a change in me. I felt empowered. I felt more confident.

5. Writing

Writing is part of my soul. This helps me to see the world in a whole new light. To help me process the events that happened, I have written down my thoughts since I was young. With some distance, I see things from a different perspective.

When I was traveling, I always carried a notebook with me. I kept a notebook with me wherever I went, and wrote down my thoughts when I was feeling overwhelmed. I used it as a sort of brain dump to organize all my thoughts.

The tangible evidence of change is in writing. The rearview mirror is a reflection of our view on life. It’s never the same.

My work is still in process. I am healing. I’m growing. I am constantly learning. Each day brings me closer to my goals. Even though one person might not be able to see my value and worth or recognize my inherent goodness, there are many who can. They have also shown me I’m worthy of their love.

Humans truly seek love when they waste their money buying new gadgets or clothes. Humans thrive and prosper because of love. There is no substitute for the need to love and feel loved. Self-love is the most precious love.

My value and self-worth are still questions that I have. However, I’m getting more adept at recognising those thoughts and shutting them off sooner. Then, replacing them with more compassionate ones.

My experience with mental illness has taught me that it isn’t something you should be embarrassed about or keep secret.

It is fine to discuss mental health. You can ask for help. Don’t hold it in no matter what you assume other people will think. Your healing and peace are yours. Your best selves are yours. You can only forgive yourself if you accept yourself. Love yourself first, and all the rest will follow.

Kaycianne Russ

Kaycianne, a calm-mannered teacher at day and an ardent writer at night, is Kaycianne. She encourages her students to express themselves in writing in order to realize inner strength they didn’t know they had. She is a certified personal trainer and health coach. Students can learn relaxation and breathing techniques in a mindfulness and yoga class. Check out her for more about her story and how she is taking steps along her path to healing.

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Tiny Buddha published the post How to Heal My Low Self-Worth Following Infidelity and Divorce.

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