How can I forgive when I’ve been hurt so badly?

Divorce is culmination of doing and saying mean, thoughtless and even hateful things over a period of time. Barbs have been slung from both the husband and the wife. Fault-finding with the other is often a full-time job as the marriage disintegrates. Finding your wife or husbands’ vulnerable soft-spot and then going in with a zinger is rationalized. A “he/she deserved it” mentality takes over. Any possibility for civil discussion about opposing viewpoints goes out the window. After we inflict damage, we feel justified in our attacks. So we pound on, tear and shred a person we once vowed to “love, honor and cherish”. Heartbreaking.

Yet when we’re in the moment of conflict, we lose perspective. We don’t realize that what comes out of our mouth will have lasting consequences. Our words have power. They can heal or they can create scars. Lots of them. We know this in retrospect. When the divorce is finally over and we can reflect on all the carnage behind us, we have regret.

 If we knew how to forgive in the proper manner, possibly we wouldn’t be divorced. All the hatred and anger propels us forward to an imaginary world free from conflict.

 Forgiveness is essential. Forgiveness is freeing.

 If there is one thing that needs to be taken care of while in throes of divorce is an unforgiving spirit. It will eat away at you day and night. It affects your thinking, your feelings and your perception of the world and those around you.

So, what is forgiveness? Here’s the best definition I’ve come across: It’s no longer acting on a prior offense. It means no sarcastic cuts, passive-aggressive behavior, gossiping about your ex, sabotaging his/her relationships with others. It means treating your ex like you would a person you just met, with grace and kindness.

 Forgiving is not forgetting. When you’ve been hurt terribly, those words, that event sears itself into your mind. This is a physiological fact. You often can’t forget even if you want to. There is no choice here. However, you can choose to forgive. It’s a choice to be made by you alone. Forgiveness is a process. It’s not a one-time event.

 The benefits of forgiving are multiple! You are free! Free from the tape that replays every single offense. The people in your life will notice a difference. As you become less bitter, you’ll become better. Forgiving people are healthier. Negative thinking and behavior are long-established contributors to health issues.

 Forgiving our ex is the right thing to do. We all know it. We are supposed to forgive as we have been forgiven.

 You can forgive. You just have to decide if you really want to. Commit to it. You can do it.