By Laura Smith, Chief Groovy Chick, The Breakup Lounge
I know what you're thinking already ~ How could I POSSIBLY forgive him for what he's done? For all the pain he's caused me? For abandoning me and our future? NOT gonna happen!
Now, don't get me wrong. Most people feel like forgiving someone means that you're somehow suggesting what they did was okay. That IS part of it. However, the reason I'm bringing this up is to help YOU. As John Green says, "The only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to forgive."
You see, forgiving someone actually helps you in a multitude of different ways. First, it alleviates some stress. You feel lighter. You feel happier. You feel empowered.
Second, it helps with the energy drain that we typically suffer from while coping with a divorce/breakup. As we begin to forgive, the negative thoughts of him and the relationship start to fall away. We bring that energy back to ourselves and our lives and it helps us focus on the future and what really matters. Yay! Bonus!
Third, your confidence and strength is boosted through forgiveness. Have you heard the saying, "It takes a big person to forgive"? I think it's our innate desire to forgive those that have wronged us. It does take some gumption and your self-esteem gets the benefit. You feel good!
Forgiveness truly is giving up the wish that things could be different. Yes, do you perhaps wish you had married someone else? Do you wish you would have left two years ago instead of letting it drag on? Sure.
However, no one can change the past. What happened ~ happened.
The question then becomes, My Sassy Darling: What are you going to do with it? Will you let it affect your precious present moment? Will you let it affect your future? Are you going to hang on to the past with both hands? OR release it with a gentle smile?
I know it can be tough and it IS a process. It's simple to think, "Oh, I forgave so-and-so." However, when it comes right down to it, you still feel ugly feelings and harbor a grudge. That's natural. That's why this is a process. It chips away at the hurt and negativity. You feel better each time you do it.
And GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK, Dear One. Realize that complete forgiveness may not come for a while ~ a long while and that's okay. Give yourself as much time as you need.
Here are a few tips on starting the forgiveness process:
1. Find a peaceful spot where you won't be interrupted.
2. You can either write it out or say it out loud. It's important to either write it OR verbalize it rather than just thinking it.
3. So you start out with, "I understand that ____________." Go on and on until you get it all out.
For example: I understand he wasn't faithful to me. I understand it wasn't my fault. I understand he left his dirty underwear all over the bedroom floor. (*Smile*) I understand that he is selfish. I understand that he hurt me. I understand that he did this and this. Just lay it all out there.
4. When you get to the end of the list, then say or write, "_________ (insert name), I understand all of these things and I forgive you."
5. Slowly exhale and feel the release.
At first, it may be difficult to wrap your head around this exercise. It seems like you're giving him a free pass for breaking your heart.
Actually, you're giving yourself a gift. Remember that, Sweet Pea.
This is also helpful if you want to forgive yourself for something or for anyone in your life you'd like to forgive such as parents, friends, the guy that cut you off in traffic, etc.
So just remember: There's no right or wrong way to forgive. There's no time limit and no rules. It's simply a great way for you to move on with your fabulous amazing future!