Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself
By Michele Weiner-Davis of Divorce Busting
you someone who walks around feeling angry with your spouse or loved one
much of the time? Do you have a little inner voice that constantly
reminds you of all of his or her wrongdoings? Have you become expert
at remembering all the minute details of past injustices just so that you
can keep score? If this describes you at all, you better read
what I’m about to say and take it to heart.
of forgiveness imprisons you. It takes its toll on your physical
and emotional health. It keeps you stuck in the deepest of relationship
ruts. No matter how justified you feel about your point of view regarding
your partner’s insensitive behavior, you still are miserable.
When you wake up each morning, a gray tint shadows your life. You
walk around with a low-grade depression. You can’t feel joy because
you’re too busy being angry or feeling disappointed.
the face of these fairly obvious disadvantages, you hang on to your belief
that, since you feel let down, you must not “give in.” To you, giving
in means forgiving, letting go, making peace. To do so, would be
tantamount to giving up your soul. So, you keep your distance.
You interact in perfunctory ways, never allowing your partner to step over
the emotional line you’ve drawn. And though the distance often feels
intolerable, forgiveness is not on your short list of solutions to your
have worked with so many couples who say they want to heal their relationships.
And yet, when they’re offered the tools, they can’t seem to move forward.
These are the couples who, instead of finding effective ways to get beyond
blame, continue to repeat their mantra, “Our problems are your fault and
you must pay.” As long as they maintain this mindset, they are doomed
to failure. How very sad. Even sadder are their children who,
on a day-by-day observe their parents being “right” but “miserable.”
What lessons are they learning about love?
any of this strikes a chord with you (and you wouldn’t be reading this
if it didn’t), you need to internalize that forgiveness is a gift you give
yourself. Letting go of resentment can set you free. It can
bring more love and happiness into your life. It opens the door to
intimacy and connection. It makes you feel whole. Forgiving
others takes strength, particularly when you feel wronged, but the fortitude
required to forgive pales in comparison to the energy necessary to maintain
a sizable grudge. The person most hurt by holding out or blaming
is YOU, no matter what the circumstances.
this sounds good,” you tell yourself, “but how can I ever forget what my
partner did to me?” Good question. You don’t! Forgiveness
is not the same as forgetting. You will probably always remember
the particular injustice(s) that drove you into your corner.
But what will happen, is that when you forgive, the intense emotions associated
with the event(s) begin to fade. You will feel happier, lighter,
more loving. And these renewed positive feelings won’t
go unnoticed. Others will be drawn to you.
keep in mind that forgiveness isn’t a feeling. It is a decision.
You decide that you are going start tomorrow with a clean slate.
Even if it isn’t easy, you make the determination that the alternative
is even harder, and that you are going to do what you must to begin creating
a more positive future.
promise yourself, that no matter what the reason, you will not go another
day blaming your partner and feeling lonely. Make peace. Make
up. Make love. I promise you that the benefits of deciding
to forgive go far beyond anything you can picture in your mind’s eye at
the moment. Your decision to forgive will create a ripple effect of exponential
changes in your life.