For a long time, I struggled with forgiveness. I had so much anger and grief circling inside me. These emotions blocked me from any sort of forgiveness. I couldn't forgive my ex or myself. I clung to it like the oxygen I needed to survive. I couldn't forgive my ex for the trauma caused, the invisible wounds that lived deep inside my heart and mind. I couldn't forgive him for his contribution to the destruction of our marriage.
But worse than this, I couldn't forgive myself. I couldn't forgive myself for all that had happened that I felt I had contributed to. I couldn't forgive myself for my short marriage. I couldn't forgive myself for wanting a divorce. I couldn't forgive myself for the loss of a dream. I couldn't forgive myself for disappointing my family and friends when the marriage ended.
I couldn't let the past stay in the past. It haunted my mind every single day. I tried my best to forget and move on, but I just couldn't. I definitely couldn't obtain true forgiveness. My inability to forgive kept my chained to my failed marriage and all that we shared together. It kept me chained to a man who was no longer physically in my life, but haunted my thoughts daily. It also kept me chained to the pain that I experienced after the marriage ended. So how did I move towards forgiveness?
TIPS TO HELP YOU FIND FORGIVENESS
1. Make the decision to let it go.
You will not be able to achieve forgiveness unless you make the active decision to let go of your past. Right now, your pain and grief may be so tremendous that what I'm suggesting may seem impossible; however, you need to make this decision to let go to even begin the forgiveness-process. Choose forgiveness. Start treating yourself with kindness and love. Release your past pains.
2. Express your pain — and your responsibility.
You are probably feeling an unbelievable amount of pain and grief. This will not go away without some time and some work. One thing you can do right now is express your pain. You can do this by writing in a journal, talking to a friend or speaking with a therapist. If you don't express this pain, it will stay locked inside you, holding you hostage to your past.
You also need to express the responsibility you are feeling. You need to get your feelings of responsibility out! By keeping these feelings secret, it's extremely difficult to let things go and move forward.
3. Focus on the present and the Joy you want in your Life
let it go! let go of your past. Stop reliving painful memories. At this point, your memories are mere shadows in your mind that are taking up mental-space that should be reserved for beautiful new experiences and new memories you will make.
The past can't be changed, so it is important to focus on your present and your beautiful future! By focusing on the here and now, and the future that lays ahead, you will spend way less time reliving the past. Focus on the joy that you want in your life; expend mental-energy on where you want your life to go.
If the painful memories come up every once in awhile, as they do, spend only a moment reliving them. Set a time limit and then shift your thinking to the present. Do not stay stuck. You need to force yourself to do this, to help yourself move forward. You need to focus on your happiness and the positive, to not allow mental-space for negativity, pain and grief.
5. Forgive Yourself
The turning point for me was when I realized that I could change the word "couldn't," into "wouldn't." I was more than capable of forgiveness, but I wouldn't forgive. I wouldn't put aside my anger and my grief and choose to forgive. I wouldn't make this effort. I was choosing to stay stuck in the place I was. The worst of all of this was that I wouldn't forgive myself.
As soon as I made this liberating realization, forgiveness was much easier to embrace. I understood that I had the power to decide to forgive. Forgive him and forgive myself. There was nothing holding me back from forgiveness except myself. That realization was unbelievably powerful and freeing.
I am starting to embrace and make peace with my life's story. Even though I always imagined a conventional journey for myself (job, marriage, children, etc.), it's alright that I'm being re-routed on a different path. I have let go of the grip my ex held on my thoughts. I have chosen forgiveness. I have begun to move forward with my life and you can too!
Founder of the site Divorced at 30, Alexandra is a blogger who is passionate about speaking her truth. She is on a healing journey as she enters this new chapter in her life. A mental health advocate, she is passionate about motivating others to find “the light” and attain peace.