Recently I’ve spoken to a few friends who are currently struggling with the pains from their divorce. Divorce is ugly and emotionally very difficult. Leaving most of us in shreds, struggling to move on. They all tell me, “You are so happy now. I don’t know how you could be so strong.” This is my story…
For everyone it is a little different…the time when they found out their marriage was no longer the same. I remember that dark night when my heart felt like it stopped, that it was being crushed and ripped in half, I felt physical pain in my heart. I grabbed my heart and struggled to breathe as tears flowed endlessly. It was horrible, oh so horrible.
About 3 years after that day, I remember working on my divorce papers with my attorney, crying and crying, struggling to make things right for the children, their father, and me for the next 18yrs. I remember the pain as I thought about the family we created and swore we would never divorce and work through all our tough times together so we could be a family. I remember being so angry, miserable, and depressed. It was such an awful experience with an never ending supply of tears.
Now as I think about these two significant times, I feel sad but I feel no pain, no anger, and no deep sorrow. I just have a memory, a sad memory but nothing else. Is it really possible to let go the pain of rejection, hurt, and loss? Yes, it is possible. <3
One day, I had an interesting conversation with a lovely lady. I knew she was divorced, raised six children pretty much on her own, and now had many grandchildren. She learned that I was recently divorced and had many children too. I asked her if she had advice for me and then she surprised me, her face turned sour and her tone turned bitter as she spoke of her ex husband and how difficult it was. I knew then and there I didn’t want to be like that, holding on to so many negative feelings for 20+ years. I wanted to be happy, completely happy and that meant no room for pain or bitterness.
This meant I needed to FORGIVE the person that hurt me so deeply. FORGIVE him for choosing someone else over me. FORGIVE him for leaving me, our four children, and unborn child. FORGIVE for my desire, actions, and regrets to be his personal porn star. FORGIVE for giving up on our family we created and the dreams we wanted together. FORGIVE for hurtful words shared and trust broken. The list of things to forgive was so long…
FORGIVE?! But they don’t deserve to be forgiven! What THEY did was wrong!!! Right…? Maybe they don’t deserve to be forgiven but YOU deserve to be happy. There is no way for a person’s heart to be both broken and well. We must all choose to be either bitter or happy. I chose happy, which meant I needed to forgive to find happiness again.
There are several reasons I chose to forgive. I CHOSE to forgive because I wanted
- To feel completely happy again. For my smile to reach my eyes again. My children deserve a happy mother.
- To feel light again. Anger, pain, and hurt feelings are heavy and weighed me down a lot. Days were long and difficult. Each day was a struggle to get up and move. I was tired of feeling so heavy.
- To be able to comfortably communicate with my children’s father for the sake of my children. I didn’t want them to feel forced to choose between the two of us.
- To be able to move on and have a healthy relationship with another person.
BUT HOW?! Forgiving someone that has hurt you so deeply is not easy. It’s hard and it takes time. These are some of the things that helped me to forgive and move on.
- I made the decision to choose to forgive.
- If you are not a religious person, you could meditate and focus on releasing negative energy. I chose to pray. I prayed to forgive. I prayed for peace. I prayed for charity and love. I prayed for the pain to go away. I prayed for the healing of the atonement. I prayed often.
- I chose to focused on blessings I received daily rather than think about the bad memories of my past.
- I did my best to focus on the good parts of him instead of what went wrong with “us”.
- I changed my password for a couple of things to a form of the word “forgiveness” to remind myself to focus on forgiving.
- Repeat, repeat, repeat! More and more things continued to come up that picked at my healing wound threatening to open my sore wide again.
- Don’t give up! It’s so easy to give in to the pain and sorrow but I refused to not be happy. I wanted to be happy for me and my children.
HOW DO I KNOW I’M DONE FORGIVING THEM? Honestly, you might have to continuously forgive them about new situations for the rest of your life. Some people have zero desire to change so we will continue to get the same kind of treatment from them. The only control we have is the power to change ourselves and how we react. Forgiving DOES get easier and less frequent as we continually forgive those that hurt us.
I know I’ve forgiven someone if I can remember what happened but FEEL NO pain, NO anger, and NO sorrow anymore. Not being able to feel any negative feelings when remembering any bad memory is such a FREEING experience. You’ll then be able to smile and say, I feel wonderful.
Bucket loads of tears were shed during the ending of my first marriage but I can honestly say, I am happy again. I can honestly say I will always love the father of my children for giving me such beautiful children. I am also able to sincerely share with my children happy memories of their Daddy. Most importantly I can actually have a conversation with my children’s father without getting angry, or ever feel ashamed, and can even have a laugh together.
Forgiving someone who has hurt you deeply is NOT easy at all. BUT when we are able to completely forgive, life gets better for yourself, your children, and everyone you interact with. I know this to be true because I have experienced it.