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  • Writer's pictureLoren

How to Overcome Embarrassment After Divorce: Tips for Rebuilding Your Confidence

gain confidence after embarrassment from divorce

Can I share an embarrassing moment with you? This occurred after my divorce while I was trying to mark one of the last things off of my divorce to-do list. After my divorce, I was downtrodden, going through the divorce process of legal papers and contracts, sifting through my old life to determine what was worth taking into this new season and starting a business and working with new clients. Changing my name was another bullet on a very long divorce list.

When I changed my name the first time after getting married, I expected it to be a bureaucratic nightmare. I planned a few extra days after our honeymoon to account for changing my driver’s license at the DMV, visiting the Social Security office, and going to other places. I was pleasantly surprised when I was in and out of the Social Security office, and the man there even gave me tips for the DMV. Where I expected to take multiple days to get everything accomplished, God accomplished in one easy outing. People were pleasant and helpful and celebrated my marriage with me. The name change back to my maiden name was a different experience.

When I went to the DMV this time, I was almost home free when I decided to change my name and take the picture while I was there instead of getting a temporary card until my license expired. When I chose this route, the DMV agent got very weird, looked at me like I was suspicious, and called security to escort me out. Talk about embarrassing. I was already feeling the shame of having to check “divorce” as the reason for changing my name on all the paperwork and then telling people about it, but now I was actually being escorted away.

Given no explanation other than that I needed to call the Commonwealth of Virginia, I headed to my car with tears streaming down my face. I actually put on makeup for my photo, so I now had the raccoon eyes as black smears made their way down my cheeks. I gathered the courage and called the Virginia DMV, hoping for a better experience than in Pennsylvania. My mind was racing while I was inevitably on hold. What did I do? Did I lose my license? Did I do something I don’t remember? Was it a case of mistaken identity and some felon was out there with my name?

Finally, I got some answers when a most generous and calming lady answered the phone. She assured me that the problem was simple: the Commonwealth never got my license plate, so they thought I was still living there, and when my insurance expired, they flagged me as an outstanding driver without insurance. It didn’t register when I first moved to Pennsylvania because my insurance was still intact in Virginia.

With that last check mark behind me, I settled into my new life back in my original name. My mistakes behind me, my shame in the rearview mirror, my eyes ahead on God’s promises. Just like Abraham, I had been given a new name. And though it was always a part of God’s plan to bring me through to the promise fulfilled, I made a detour like Abraham did in Genesis. Rebuilding my confidence after my divorce was not easy. Not only was I learning to be confident again on my own, but I was starting a business that added a whole other level of imposter syndrome and fear.

Going through divorce and starting a business at the same time taught me seven important lessons to help you bounce back with confidence after suffering a blow or embarrassment.

1. Light your lamp to rebuild confidence after divorce.

During the fall of a marriage, your lamp may be completely out. Not only will that keep you from letting your light shine or allowing God to show you a glimpse of where you need to go next, but you are also, instead, sitting alone in darkness. You may be literally sitting in the dark, crying and wondering how you got there. If you’re like me, you may not even want to tell anyone what you are going through because you’re embarrassed. I felt like I failed at everything—my marriage and my career. I just held it all in, not prepared for what was ahead. In order to move forward--even just a tiny step--in confidence, you will need a little glimmer of light. Proverbs 31:18 tells us that a "lamp does not go out, but it burns continually through the night [she is prepared for whatever lies ahead]” (AMP).

2. Know who you are.

Feeling shaken after divorce, you may have forgotten who you are. For so long you held the word spouse as an identifier and now you may not know how to reconcile having the prefix "ex" before it. Or more embarrassing for you could be living with the label "divorced." During this time, to build confidence, you will need to remember what God can do in and through you. Your most important identity is as a child of God. Through His strength you are wonderfully made and highly capable. When you remember that truth, you will start to see positive traits in you and you can focus on your strengths instead of shortcomings. Philippians 4:13 reminds us: "I can do all this through him who gives me strength" (NIV).

3. Gather around good people.

When you are down, the last thing you want is to be around people who will kick you when you're down. You may be wondering how that could even happen, but when you go through a divorce, new friendships may be needed. Old friendships may leave. Maybe you find that friends are forced to pick sides. Maybe you discover through your divorce who your "real" friends are. The ones who will be positive, lend a loving ear, talk to you in truth, and even try new things. By finding safe people where you can be vulnerable, you will discover a confidence in you to try new things with them. Life is less scary when you have good people around you. Ecclesiastes 4:12 exclaims: "And though one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken" (AMP).

4. Keep it simple.

Going through a complicated event like divorce can leave your mind racing. During this time, you may be tempted to overanalyze, overcomplicate, and overstate ideas, thoughts, and emotions. One way to gain confidence back is to set achievable goals. You can tackle one thing at a time. It doesn't have to be giant. As you crush these simple goals, take time to celebrate every small win. These wins will give you momentum to thrust you forward. Psalm 116:6 assures us: "The LORD protects the simple (childlike); I was brought low [humbled and discouraged], and He saved me (AMP).

5. Stop comparing.

When you have a disruption to your life and are facing embarrassment, the worst thing to do is compare your situation, life, or self to someone else. Not only do you need to eliminate comparison, but you also will need to eliminate negative self-talk. The more you compare apples to oranges, the more likely you are to think negatively about yourself and your life. Instead, try to visualize success. What can you do in YOUR life to move closer to living confidently and freely? Philippians 4:8 teaches us: "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things" (NIV).

6. Laugh.

Laughing after divorce may seem too difficult. You may think the only laughter you have is cynical--like you are laughing at hope instead of laughing with joy at the possibility of hope. When you allow yourself to laugh, you open up the gates of letting good things in. When you put up walls you may keep out what could harm you, but you also keep out what could bring you joy. When you laugh, you can start to dream again. To have confidence is to laugh even when things are hard. Job 8:21 boasts: "He will once again fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy” (NLT).

7. Face your fear.

Sometimes the most necessary way forward is to face your fear head-on. You may have suffered an embarrassment and want to avoid the feelings, scene, and people involved. Hiding from what hurt you won't help you heal any faster. You need to step outside of your comfort zone in order to build your confidence. With every step outside of your comfort zone, you will learn to trust God a little more with each step. As you take these faith risks, you will discover that you no longer let fear dictate how you live--your faith will lead. Psalm 34:4 promises us: "I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears" (ESV).


Remember that building confidence is a continuous process. Be patient with yourself and keep practicing these tips consistently. As you continually pray, ask the Holy Spirit for guidance, and heed to God's plan, you will find that over time, you'll notice positive changes in how you perceive yourself and your abilities to rebuild confidence after divorce.

If you found these tips encouraging, consider buying my book, Wings to Rise above Divorce for more ways to find forgiveness, redemption, and renewal during turbulent separations.


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