How to speak up for yourself after divorce

Want to know how to speak up for yourself after divorce? If you’re struggling with speaking up for yourself after divorce, I have a story. What happened when I started speaking up for myself after divorce.

When I started speaking up for myself after divorce, 3 incredible things happened.

Now, here’s the disclaimer: speaking up for myself wasn’t easy. 

I had been divorced for a while, but still felt stuck and scared. 

Feeling fearless after divorce still felt like a pipe dream.

Social media didn’t help. It kept telling me to “celebrate today” and other hippie shit, but I still lacked the confidence and fearlessness I needed to move on. 

And even when I went to a therapist and tried to go on a couple of dates, I still felt like shit. 

I wanted to feel brave, fearless, and confident, but wasn’t sure how. 

It took a while to shake that stuck feeling. And after a thousand mistakes I realized the one thing that was really holding me back. 

I *had* to start speaking up for myself. Even if I was scared. 

Even if society had said women shouldn’t cause a scene because they don’t want to be a “Karen.” 

But I’m here to tell you to f*ck society. And that you can learn how to speak up for yourself after divorce.

Because you won’t start feeling better about yourself until you start speaking up for yourself. 

Here’s what happened to me when I did just that. And the same will happen for you. 

Result #1: How to speak up for yourself after divorce.

I got what I wanted. Instead of just wishing for things to happen.

When I started speaking up and advocating for myself, I noticed that shit started to happen. 

I got my vacation requests approved. 

Co-workers quit texting me at 11:30pm on a Tuesday night. 

My late-ass friend who always showed up 45 minutes late started to show up on time. 

Losers on dating apps quit sending me boring messages that went nowhere. 

Little by little, speaking up for myself put divorce recovery in my own hands. 

Learning how to speak up for myself after divorce was scary. But it wasn’t until I stood up for myself that I started to internalize that I was worthy.

It made me realize too that change and the post-divorce life of my dreams wasn’t going to just fall in my lap.

So start telling the coworkers saying that you’re not available for phone calls after 5:00pm. That’s a way to speak up for yourself after divorce.

Use your strong voice to express to your bitchy older sister that you don’t appreciate her snide remarks about how “you’re not as thin as you used to be in high school.” 

Don’t be afraid to tell the guy who keeps texting you without asking you out that you’re available for drinks next Friday. But that you won’t just keep texting him anymore. 

These skills didn’t come easily for me. I grew up in a strict Catholic family in rural America, where you didn’t draw attention to yourself. 

You didn’t complain because you didn’t want a spanking. Or made to feel like a “bad girl.” 

It was the same mentality when I was in the Army, where the mantra “Cooperate to Graduate,” ruled. 

Nobody–especially a lower-ranking female soldier–dared use their voice to stand up for themselves. 

But you can’t let your upbringing dictate your life after divorce. 

And like me, you’ll have to rewire all those narratives that said you don’t deserve to express yourself and advocate for yourself. 

Because if you don’t, there’s no way you’re going to get unstuck after divorce. And there’s no way you’ll learn how to speak up for yourself after divorce.

There is no way you’ll start to feel the fearlessness you deserve. 

Result #2: How to speak up for yourself after divorce.

I became more confident, especially with boundaries.

Remember Nancy Regan’s “Just Say No” drug campaign from the 1980s? 

Let’s forget that misguided disaster for a minute and focus on the words. 

Saying NO. 

NO is a beautiful thing, because once I started to tell people no, I started to set boundaries. 

And once I started setting clear boundaries, I started to value my time. My energy. My emotions. 

When I started valuing those things, my confidence grew because I no longer cared what people thought of me. That came from speaking up for myself after divorce.

And the feeling of speaking up and not giving a damn about others’ opinions gave me confidence. 

The confidence I longed for as a child, desperately trying to please my parents. 

That confidence that I worked so hard for in my job, but never seemed to achieve no matter how many overtime hours I worked. 

And yes–that same confidence I wanted in my marriage and with men that never came. 

But simply telling people “NO” when it no longer served me was the Holy Grail I never thought existed. 

Saying “NO” to family, my ex, friends, coworkers, and that annoying panhandler on the street corner who has a better iPhone than me did more for me than any make-over or divorce support group ever could. 

I no longer felt the need to please people. 

And I quit caring what other people thought about me. 

If you’re nervous about setting boundaries and telling people no, here are some scripts to get you started.

“No, I cannot.”

“Not at this time.”  

“My plate is as full as I would like it to be right now.” 

“I already have another commitment/engagement.” 

Boundaries are beautiful. And putting yourself first is beautiful. Saying “no” and getting comfortable with it will give you the confidence you deserve after divorce. And saying “no” is a way to speak up for yourself after divorce.

Result #3: How to speak up for yourself after divorce.

I realized that I f*cking mattered.

Many of us–myself included–were raised in a culture and environment where we were judged solely on our ability to be a good wife or mother. 

As a teenager, I loved wearing flannel and Nirvana t-shirts (hey, it was the 90s). One day when I was walking into homeroom at high school, the older teacher sighed and said, “Martha, no man will ever want to marry you with clothes like that.” 

When I was in the Army I remember telling a dirty joke and the drill sergeant shook his head and said, “Bodyfelt, you’re going to stay single with that foul mouth.” 

I remember being back from home during Christmas when I was 20, changing after going into the gym, and my mom walked in. She looked at my bare breasts and said, “You’re going to make some man happy one day with those.” 

Like, what the actual f*ck?

It’s like the whole world views women in terms of their ability to please men.

But here’s the beautiful thing about being divorced. 

You can give a big F*CK YOU to those narratives that have kept you afraid and silent. They never did anything for you anyway. 

After my divorce, I realized that all that BS I’d been fed about being a congenial, “no-drama,” conflict-avoiding woman who should be pleasing men was a lie. 

No matter what we as women do, there’s always going to be some toxic narrative from society that tries to silence us. 

But when you start voicing your discontent, you start calling out bad behavior of things you don’t like. If you speak up for yourself and advocate for yourself, every day, that starts to erase those internal forces that have kept you self-conscious and timid. 

The more you speak up for yourself, the more you realize your opinion matters. What you want matters. And that you don’t have to “hold your tongue” to please others. 

Martha Bodyfelt

In essence, the more fearless you become after divorce. 

And when you become fearless, you can get out of your divorce rut.

Just like I realized that I f*cking matter, the same will happen for you too, the more you speak up. 

It’s going to be scary at first. 

You’re going to worry about offending people. 

Or making them angry

But now is the time to be fearless. 

You have bent over backwards to please others at the expense of your own mental health and well-being. 

But playing nice and holding your tongue and continuing to not speak up for yourself will continue to keep you stuck after divorce. 

And you deserve better than to be silent. 

You are worth more than just pleasing others by going along with something that you don’t like and aren’t comfortable with. 

Now is your time to speak up for yourself. 

It is your time to break out of the patterns keeping you stuck after divorce. 

So what are you going to choose?

Now it’s your turn!

What’s keeping you from speaking up for yourself after divorce?