Forgiveness is a gift. Once we unwrap it and use it, we begin to feel the freedom that it gives.
The inability to forgive creates a block within that doesn’t allow us to grow and love freely.
Forgiveness Can Be Found!
Many years after Katlin’s divorce, she is still unable to forgive the pain and anguish that this trauma caused. As a result, she’s unable to create the space inside that is needed to open up her heart again. She is closed to allowing herself to feel healthy vulnerability to love again, or feel joy and happiness.
Simply put, she’s “stuck.”
Kaitlin often says to herself, “I know all about forgiveness but this person doesn’t deserve it!”
At the time, she feels that if she forgives, it means that she’s dismissing the severity of the pain and hurt. So, Kaitlin holds on to it for a long time. She plays the victim at every turn for all it’s worth. In the meantime, as she rants on about her pain, there’s no accountability or responsibility for creating a better life for herself going forward.
Of course, after a reasonable amount of time, it’s her obligation to move on and create a life she would love living. Kaitlin knows that she is just existing and living day in and day out with the same life and same baggage. She also knows that settling is not a success.
In time, she realizes that the longer she holds onto her unforgiving attitude and perspective, the more life is passing her by. The other person is not carrying the burden of it. She is.
Eventually, Kaitlin learns that if she can forgive, she will feel the freedom she craves so much. It doesn’t mean that she forgets but is free from a prison that serves no meaningful purpose.
Here’s What Kaitlin Learns.
When Kaitlin was a young girl, she skipped school with some of her friends. It was during the last week of school called Senior Week. Kaitlin was graduating the following week. It was the usual practice that on one of the days, some of the “daring” seniors skip school. They went swimming and surfing at Second Beach for the day.
She made the daring choice along with her friends. Of course, she got in trouble with her parents just like the other kids did. Each of her parents had a different style of discipline. One day, the memory of how her father handled that very situation came to mind as she was trying to figure out how to move out of feeling “stuck”.
The one thing she always remembers is that when she messed up, her father never tried to make her feel ashamed of herself. What he always did was attack the behavior as being wrong. He never criticized her or attacked her character. There certainly were consequences for her unacceptable behavior. She is remorseful about her choices but her father never made her feel bad about herself as a person.
She got to thinking and wondered if she can do that very same thing with this divorce situation. Kaitlin asks herself, ‘What if I separate my former spouse from the behavior? The behavior is unforgivable; but assuming a different perspective of it, perhaps I can separate the deed from the doer. Perhaps I can forgive him as a person.”
Why Is Forgiveness So Empowering?
If Kaitlin can forgive, she can free herself from this burden of anger and rage. It wouldn’t mean that she still doesn’t feel those feelings; but instead of adding “fuel to the fire”, she can notice those thoughts when they come up, and change them to more empowering ones.
If she is focused on changing her perspective about the situation, she can begin to notice when the hurt and pain arise in her mind. Once she notices the feelings they evoke within her, she can change those thoughts to more optimistic, positive ones.
She can’t go back and change the past. It’s gone. What’s not gone is Kaitlin’s capacity to change the way she thinks about it. She has a choice. She can continue to rehearse, nurse, and curse him. Instead, she can choose to think differently about the situation.
Kaitlin Is Stronger Than She Thinks.
Kaitlin realizes that she is stronger than any situation, circumstance, or condition. Having dealt with other trauma in her life before, she’s always overcome the “hurdles” and carrid on with life. Therefore, she can choose to change her perspective and look at this situation in this way:
She realizes that her former husband loved her in the best way that he could, at the time. She can’t really know or change what was going on in his mind which ultimately caused the breakdown of the marriage. What she can change is how she thinks about him. She can separate him from the behavior just as her father did with her.
Kaitlin thinks to herself, “Well, there are two sides to one coin. There is always something good in a bad situation whereby I grow and take what I learn from it.”
There is always something redeeming in every person. She decides to not focus on the “bad.” Instead, Kaitlin decides to focus on the lessons she’s learned from this divorce. In that way, the lessons help her to make better choices for the future coming from her higher self. She’s focusing on the positives of a bad situation.
What’s the Challenge?
Kaitlin can’t change what has happened. What she can change is the way she looks at the relationship. It’s her perception of the situation that changes. It doesn’t happen overnight. The process of separating the deed from the doer takes practice, and one may have to practice doing this over and over.
Eventually, Kaitlin changes the neuropathways in the brain. She creates a new path that takes the focus off the pain and sorrow, and onto growing, learning, and freedom.
This experience also allows Kaitlin to give herself compassion and empathy for the wisdom she’s acquired and the different, wiser person she has become.