Learning to move on from a painful divorce -- and no matter how amicable, all divorces are painful -- means learning to forgive. Even if you understand the value of forgiveness, it can be difficult to let go of the hurt, anger, and disappointment you have felt because the righteousness of those feelings may have been what sustained you throughout the divorce process.
And that is why you must realize that forgiveness is not about the other person...it is something you do for yourself. Because only forgiveness can cut the ties that bind you to your pain, and without it, you will find it difficult to move forward into a rewarding new life.
Learning to forgive is a process; here are six steps that can help you forgive:
- Think about how holding onto your anger is serving you. Does it bring comfort or does it fill you with sorrow and stress, keeping you awake at night? Consider who is being affected most by your inability to forgive.
- Write down all the ways you feel you were wronged. Now review it and ask yourself honestly what responsibility you might bear for these results. Acknowledging your part in your split is an important step in getting your power back and feeling less like a victim.
- Give some thought to the valuable lessons you may have learned from this experience. Are you stronger? Wiser? More resilient? More confident? Are you exploring more opportunities that may not have been open to you if not for the divorce? Can you look at these new traits as a tradeoff for the lessons you learned?
- Find ways to release yourself from your negative emotions. This can include things like taking up yoga, going to therapy, traveling, or finding a new passion -- whatever brings you joy.
- Take back your power by focusing on the things you can control (you) and letting go of those things over which you have no control (others).
- Finally, come to the realization that we as humans are all flawed and need forgiveness. This does not mean you condone the hurtful actions of others; it means you have come to a more realistic understanding that human behavior is frequently driven by self-interest. Accepting others for who they are -- instead of how you hope they will be --allows you to release the pain and disappointment that results from seeing them as doing something to you rather than just being who they are.
In the end, forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. Once you forgive, you can focus on investing your energy into yourself, your family, and the future you desire.