No, we’re not saying you’ve done something wrong that needs forgiving, in fact it’s exactly the opposite! The kind of forgiveness we’re talking about is the kind you offer to someone else. And if your first thought is, “You’re nuts! Have you ever met my ex? God himself wouldn’t forgive them!” then this article is for you!
According to Google, the definition of “forgive” is to “stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw, or mistake.” So simple to say, and yet so painfully hard to do. The truth is however, that regardless of how hard it is to do, and how long it may take you, forgiveness is a critical aspect of your mental, emotional and even physical health.
Yes, that’s right, physical health. Many people can see how forgiveness can positively affect your emotional and psychological health, but not as many understand how beneficial it is for your physical health as well.
Judith Orloff, MD., who is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA sums it up nicely in her article The Power of Forgiveness. Unforgiveness goes hand in hand with vengeance and the desire for revenge, Orloff says, which is known to be detrimental to your health. Numerous studies have shown that focusing on revenge compromises your immune system and increases your overall stress level.
But how on earth, you may wonder, can I just let it go?
How can I walk away knowing that my ex got away with something so cruel, and so heartless? How can I accept that there are no consequences for what was done to me?
This is tough, certainly, but the catch here is to realize that forgiveness is not about being a “pushover”, or saying that what was done to you was okay. Forgiving someone, strange as it may seem, isn’t actually about that other person at all. It’s about you. Carrying around a grudge against someone doesn’t change what they’ve done or how they are likely to act in the future. What it changes is you.
According to George Vaillant, M.D., a professor of psychology at Harvard, the act of forgiving someone ends a cycle of negativity inside yourself, and frees you to heal and grow. By choosing to forgive someone for something they did to you, you are actually freeing yourself from the poison of bitterness and anger.
Divorce is rarely a happy event and usually comes fraught with pain and rage and sorrow. But if you ever want to achieve peace and success and joy in your future, you will have to learn to move forward and let that go. It’s not easy and it doesn’t happen overnight. But it’s not impossible.
Stick around for the next few segments while we discuss the importance of forgiveness after divorce. You never know, you may even pick up a few pointers along the way. After all, the best revenge is living well!