In the previous two segments on forgiveness after divorce, we looked at the health benefits of forgiveness, and some of the mental changes required in order to be successful at forgiving. But how does one actually go about forgiving someone who has wronged you? Like so many things in life, the words are easy to say, but the reality is a whole different kettle of fish.
The Aramaic word for forgiveness means literally to “untie” something, which is a perfect analogy, when you think about it. Unforgiveness is like a weight, a burden that you carry around with you, poisoning your thoughts and crippling you when you most need healing. So how does one untie this weight?
First, know that it is a choice. Forgiveness isn’t something that just happens over time, it is a conscious choice. You must decide that you want to release this grievance, and then make a commitment to that release.
Forgiveness does not happen overnight. You cannot just decide that you have forgiven someone and then instantly expect that the process is over. Forgiveness is a choice, but it’s not a choice you make once, it’s a choice you make over and over and over.
Every time your mind returns to that emotional wound, you need to take a deep breath, decide once again that the hurt is forgiven, and then move on in your mind. Do not dwell on thoughts of how you were wronged, or what makes the other person flawed. Focus on positive and uplifting things.
Choose not to revisit the memory of that grievance any more than you absolutely have to.
And one of the things you need to do in order to stop thinking about it, is stop talking about it. Stop telling the story to people you meet, and stop rehashing the events with friends and family. The more you discuss it, the more you will find it difficult to keep your thoughts from returning there. And the more you think about it, the harder it will be to release that anger and resentment.
One suggestion that has been made for something that can help the process of forgiveness is to think kind thoughts about the person you are trying to forgive. It may be hard at first, but focusing on good things that you would wish for them, or the hope you maintain for their betterment will eventually recondition your thinking. By forcing yourself to focus on the positive in a person, regardless of their faults and failings, will make it easier to forgive.
And lastly, be patient. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and nor was complete forgiveness. Give yourself time to process your pain and anger, and then more time to work on achieving forgiveness. Some days it will feel impossible, other days it will seem like a breeze. Whatever your emotional state, don’t give up. Press on, and one day you will be amazed to discover that you can think about that person and whatever they did to you without feeling that old rush of rage and bitterness. It will feel amazing, and it’s worth it, so hang in there!
Next time, we will be discussing some misconceptions about forgiveness, for those of you who are unsure about what actual forgiveness entails. Unfortunately, forgiveness is often misunderstood, which can keep many people from pursuing it. So we hope to clear up some of the confusions. Until then, if you or a loved one are in need of assistance as you work through your divorce call The Kronzek Firm today at 866 766 5246. We are here to help you.