One of the hardest parts of recovering from divorce or anything really in life is forgiving. It is a habit to hold on to those feelings towards someone or something that has wronged us. However, those feelings can eat us up inside and affect so many different areas of our lives. It can even hold us back in achieving our true potential and keep us in a place of angst and our bodies in a place of stress.
In my own life, though I initiated the divorce, I was still very hurt by the reasons that led up to the divorce. I was angry. I felt betrayed, lied to, used, and about every single negative emotion you can think of. At times, this consumed me. I had to look at the hurt on my children’s faces and see their anger and it only fed mine. I couldn’t focus at times, I couldn’t sleep – it was constantly there. Given the situation that I went through in my marriage from being neglected, lied to, verbally and emotionally abused, and the environment the children had to endure, it was no wonder why it was an all-consuming type of anger, bitterness, and betrayal. There were so many questions but the main one was “why?”
In order to move on with my life and to help my children, I knew that I had to do something to let go of all this hurt, anger, and negativity. I knew that I had to forgive him for all he did to me. Now that didn’t mean that I had to forget or to ever let him back in my life again, but I had to forgive.
How did I do that? I sat down and wrote a letter to him and explained how he had hurt me and specifically mentioned everything I was forgiving him for. I didn’t send the letter – it was more for my peace than for him to ever know. It was raw, it was full of emotion, and I felt all of that while I was writing. When I was done, I took the letter and burned it to set all that hurt and anger free. I then set very firm boundaries in my life to keep him out of it as much as I possibly can. I’ll talk about boundaries in a later post.
This process brought about peace for me. It allowed me to get back on track with my writing, my daily life, and being an awesome Mom to my kids. It freed up energy that I was using negatively so that I could direct that energy into more positive areas of my life.
You may be thinking to yourself how does this apply to me when I haven’t been through something like that? Well, we all have times in our lives when we have felt wronged. If you sit down and think about it, go all the way back to your childhood and incidents that might have happened with a friend, a teacher, co-workers at a previous job, past relationships, family members, anything. I bet when you think of that situation, you can feel your heartbeat quicken, your breath get more rapid, and the emotions of that situation come flooding back to you. These past events may be holding you back in some way in your life and keeping you from moving forward and achieving your full potential and true happiness.
What can you do about these? You can write your own letters of forgiveness or even just a few sentences on a blank piece of paper. Explain to the person or person’s involved how the situation hurt you, forgive them for the situation, and thank them for what you learned from the situation and let it go. You can do this in your mind, on paper, on the computer, in your journal, whichever way you find will work best for you. You can even write a letter to God or your higher power to express the situation and that you forgive the person. Then do something symbolic to rid yourself of it – burn the paper, delete the file, rip it up and throw it away, shred it, bury it in the backyard – something that will make it final. It is done and finished and you are moving forward.
Over the course of a few days from letting it go, you will find more peace in your life. I know it may seem like some of those items from back in childhood may not have been bothering you any longer, but amazingly they do. The peace forgiveness can bring is priceless. It changes your mindset, your outlook on life, and your body will relax as well.
What have you been holding on to for too long? It’s time to let it go.
How has forgiveness affected you? Let me know in the comments below.