Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth yoga, fitness, & nutrition courses, when you sign up for Outside+.
Feel like you’ve lost your sense of Self in the noise of social media or societal expectations? It’s time to get on the mat and reclaim who you are. Join author and yoga teacher Rina Jakubowicz for Empowered Vinyasa: Journey to Your Highest Self, a series of 10 yoga classes and companion dharma talks that zero in on principles of yoga philosophy—from The Bhagavad Gita and the Hindu spiritual tradition Vedanta—that are essential to self-exploration. Sign up today!
Divorce isn’t easy for anyone. It’s the crumbling of an ideal that we’ve created in our head. It’s reality’s strong and pungent slap in the face. It’s a moment of truth—the kind of truth that we often don’t like to accept. But ultimately, it’s for the best if we learn from it. The list of lessons I learned from my own divorce is endless. Below are three of the biggies that helped me become the woman I am today.
Love Lesson #1: Love comes in many forms.
I learned that love comes in many forms. And not all love is meant to be a romantic partnership. My ex-husband and I had a deep love for one another; it just wasn’t romantic. Our love languages and natures were different and we couldn’t find a middle ground that we both understood. We both studied yoga and some spiritual texts so we had respect for each other and wanted to do what was in the best interest of the other. I knew that I wasn’t the right fit for him and vice versa. So, it was best to move on while we were still young (27) and had some spark of life left. Nothing detrimental or traumatizing happened in the 5-year relationship, so during the mediation we were both willing to give the other one what we had. It was a beautiful gesture we shared of giving love. I learned to love and let go.
Love Lesson #2: I have a duty to stay true to myself to make a relationship work—or end.
In most of my previous relationships, I would get lost in my partner and I would give up who I was to mold myself to them. I did the same thing in my marriage and I had to fight to get back what I lost. My ex-husband didn’t take it from me. I willingly gave it up. But after the divorce, I promised myself I wouldn’t let this happen again. I went through many months of depression and deep pain. But I used that time to work on myself and “not take this divorce in vain”—the last words my ex-husband said to me when we separated. He knew my need to find myself again was the main reason for our separation. I kept my word and worked each day on myself—no matter how painful it was to face all my mistakes, shadows, and fears. From that deep pain came deep peace eventually. It was worth every tear.
I had to keep that promise to him and to myself. And now, I have to stay true to myself while in a relationship by finding a dance between holding my space and giving of myself. I tend to be a giver and a helper and sometimes spread myself too thin. The divorce helped me fill up my reserves again.
Love Lesson #3: Relationships, like everything, are impermanent.
I had to learn to accept that things will always change no matter how much we wish it to be different. I was the first of my friends to get a divorce and even if it felt like the right thing to do, I still felt like a failure. I had to work through that disappointment, the temporary pain, and the guilt I felt about all the money my parents had spent on our own wedding and the down payment for our house. They were more than generous and this weighed heavily for a while. Luckily, my parents were super understanding and just wanted me to be happy. Their nonattachment to money well spent (even when we don’t have much of it) has always been a powerful example for me of true charity.
The impermanence of my marriage helped me learn to value each moment afterward with my next boyfriend and in my relationship now. I am not delusional in thinking that my current relationship will last forever. There is no more fairy tale, and I’m so grateful for this lesson. There’s work and more work in a relationship. A mature relationship knows that there will be an end—whether by death or choice. So I appreciate every moment I have with him because it won’t last forever.
I’ve never heard of a more loving divorce than mine. No one believes me when I share my story. For this experience and for many more that helped mold who I am today, I am grateful. I learned I can overcome the darkest of places within me and also see that the light at the end of the tunnel is really the light within me always.
About Our Writer
Rina Jakubowicz is known for her vibrant and uplifting approach to yoga. She is an international bilingual yoga teacher, Reiki practitioner, motivational speaker, and author. She has been a teacher of teachers for over eleven years, presenting at Wanderlust Yoga Festivals, Himalayan Institute, Omega Institute, Yoga Journal Conferences, throughout the United States and in countries across the globe such as Chile, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Andorra. Rina is a Gaiam TV featured teacher, the yoga expert on Univision’s Tu Desayuno Alegre, and a regular contributor for Yoga Journal Online and MindBodyGreen. She was Yoga Journal’s March 2015 cover model, Yoga Journal Spain’s February 2016 cover model and featured in the February 2016 edition of Yoga Journal Russia. You can see Rina in Origin Magazine, Mantra Magazine, Glam Belleza Latina, Revista Mujer, among other publications worldwide. She founded Rina Yoga in 2005, which successfully ran 3 different studio locations in the Miami area from 2005-2016, and was selected as one of South Florida’s Business Leaders Movers and Shakers in 2011. Rina also created the yoga app, Snooze Yoga, and a pioneering yoga curriculum for children and teens, Super Yogis’ Schoolhouse. Rina is from Miami, FL but now lives in LA, where she teaches at Electric Soul Yoga.