The healthiest person is the one that forgives as the failure to forgive does nothing but hold us back and result in our minds functioning from a place of anger. Therefore, in divorce, which can be one of the most painful experiences of a person’s life and one where both sides generally feel betrayed, the hardest thing for any of our client’s is to forgive and not only to forgive, but to work towards forgiveness during the divorce process. However, learning to forgive and learning to accept the lack of control we have over other people and their actions is something I stress with my clients frequently because the ability to get there and feel that results in a much happier person- with a happiness and a mindset no money or settlement will satisfy in the end. It allows your client to focus on all the choices in life they do have vs. the helplessness that they feel (and rightfully so) over the unknown that comes with the divorce, the why he/she did this or that or is acting that way towards them, and they can start to focus on their life as it is today and as it can be moving forward. All of this comes with the ability to forgive which should not be mistaken for excusing the person’s actions or behavior, or forgetting what happened, but rather forgiveness of the situation and the acceptance of the situation for what it is and the pain that results. Forgiveness is not a feeling- it is a deliberate choice to change your mindset and let the past stay there and sleep.
All too often our divorce clients are consumed with the need to justify, explain, or have a reasons which may or may not exist, but which are generally irrelevant to the overall outcome and certainly their life moving forward. Learning to accept the situation for what it is without the need to blame is one of the most powerful tools anyone can own- it allows you to think about what you want, what your goals are, and what makes you happy and none of those things can be attached to other people. When navigating the landmine of the divorce world it would be abnormal to have no feeling, no emotion or no anger around the situation but the problem becomes with our need in general to feel like if we let go of those things we are somehow weak when it is quite the opposite. You gain all of your power when you work towards forgiveness because anger is a very powerful mindset and a very distracting emotion that not only plaques us, but leads us to decisions that are outcome based, not internally fulfilling.
Always be mindful that being forgiving does not equate to forgetting, nor does it mean you are condoning or excusing your behavior or the behavior of your ex-spouse (or soon to be ex-spouse). Rather, forgiveness means acknowledging your hurt and your pain, and letting it go so that you don’t ruin the other very positive aspects of your life which all too often go unnoticed when we are focused on the negative things that for the most part are never things that are in our control.
Forgiveness is not easy, are mind (especially are ego), are trained to interfere with that process. However, if you make forgiveness a priority even during the chaos of a divorce, and you learn that it is a work in progress and a daily choice to set aside how you feel so that you can focus on where you want to go moving forward, who you want to be and what you want to accomplish, regardless of the outcome of the divorce (and your expectations in connection with your divorce), you walk away with peace and a power you never knew you had which is something no financial award or custody battle will ever provide.
Forgiveness allows us to regain our power in life because we recognize at that moment that we don’t have the power over anyone else or how they act or treat us, and we accept that we can’t change them or the situation, only our role in it. It becomes our past and we move forward with an open heart, and we find the power within ourselves which results a realization of just how much power we conditioned on other people. You have the power to control your happiness, even during the messiness and emotional roller coaster of a divorce, you have the right to select how much energy you give to any situation (negative or positive), and you have the power to change yourself and that’s the only power you ever truly had to begin with.