The Healing Power of Forgiveness in Divorce

If you are going through or have gone through a divorce and feel that you were wronged in some way by the person who you once thought was going to be your partner for life, then you understand how difficult the mere concept of forgiveness may be.  You were hurt, wronged, betrayed, abandoned (for whatever reasons) and now that your marriage is over, you are left with nothing but anger, resentment and perhaps even regrets.

Inner peace begins with forgiveness

Forgiveness is one of the greatest gifts that you can give to Yourself.  If your goal is to heal from divorce and find inner peace, it is not possible to heal anger with anger.  The only way to heal a negative situation, is with positive energy: i.e., love and kindness.  And, I am talking about being loving and kind to yourself.

You may ask, “why should I forgive the person who has hurt me the most?”  The answer is, because this is the first step in the healing process following divorce and the path to finding inner peace within yourself.  To forgive means to stop feeling anger towards someone (typically someone who has hurt you).  If you are emitting hatred and anger, you will be depriving yourself of the opportunity to experience inner peace.  And don’t you deserve inner peace?

Practicing empathy

It is important to understand that every person has their own past experiences (or baggage) and more times than not, their behaviors are a result of unresolved issues from earlier times in their lives.[1] Gaining a full understanding of another persons’ situation, is a very important part of the process. Once we understand where a person has been and how those experiences have shaped their behaviors, we can take ourselves out of the equation (i.e. stop taking their behavior personally) and fully immerse ourselves in empathy – the ability to understand and share the feelings of others.

Now that we have this understanding or empathy, we are able to see more clearly.  Even if you don’t fully agree that your x-spouse’s past should have driven him or her to engage in various behaviors directed at you personally, at least you now have the ability to understand and share their feelings with more clarity.

But, how do we forgive? 

Forgiveness is not letting that person back in to your life in the same way they were before. In fact, if you don’t have children together, you may never speak with your x-spouse again. On the other hand, if you do have children together, you may have daily interactions with your x-spouse.  The key is to let go of the anger and resentment and instead emit kindness and empathy; regardless of how much you feel you were wronged.  I know this sounds counter-intuitive, but this is the first step to attaining inner peace.  Once you let go of the anger, it will completely change your interactions with your x-spouse.  And, you will most likely see a difference in how your x-spouse responds to you as well.

You have been through a lot.  Be loving and kind to yourself.  It all starts with forgiveness.

[1] To gain a better understanding of behaviors and what motivates them, it may be helpful to seek the advice of a trained therapist.

Joelle A Perez, Esq.
Peacemaker Divorce Mediation
151 West Carver St.
Huntington, NY 11743
(631) 897-2066

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