By Rosalind Sedacca, CCT
Forgiveness can be one of the hardest concepts to understand – and one of the most personally helpful actions to take. This is especially so for parents who have experienced divorce. If you want to move on and give yourself and your children the better future you deserve, consider the power of forgiveness!
Here are six steps to assist you in the process:
1. Be aware that forgiveness is all about you – not the person being forgiven. It does not mean you agree with or accept their behavior — nor that you will you permit it to be repeated.
2. Reflect upon how holding on to your anger has been creating continuing pain in your life. Are you filled with tension or sorrow, spending sleepless nights, experiencing headaches and other stress signals? Consider who is being more adversely affected by your lack of forgiveness. Aren’t you tired of hurting?
3. Create a list of how you were wronged. Review it again. This time ask yourself to what extent you might have been responsible for the outcome? Were you totally honest about your feelings? Did you agitate the situation with you own behavior or comments? Did you fail to assert yourself when you might have? Acknowledging your part is a step toward feeling less like a victim.
4. Focus on the lessons you’ve gained from this experience. Are you stronger, wiser, more assertive or in other ways a better person because of this relationship? Have you moved in new directions that you might never have explored were it not for the divorce? Can you see these traits as benefits or payoffs for the lessons you’ve learned?
5. Now create a second list – writing down the attributes you now have resulting from the past. Compare it with the first list. Can you see a smarter, more confident, better you as a result? Are you ready to move on and embody those new traits? Are you ready for joy and peace in your heart? Is it time to stop feeling like a victim and start acting like a victor?
6. Give yourself permission to forgive your ex (and yourself) for all the pain in the past. Sit alone, or invite special friends to join you, in a ceremony celebrating your new life. Take your two lists and burn them, tear them to pieces, place them in a bottle you throw into a river – whatever you choose to symbolize your letting go.
Whatever we focus our energy on naturally increases. Forgiveness frees you up to put your energy where you want it – on you and the future you desire. Don’t waste another minute feeding grief, pain, sorrow and the wounds of yesterday. Forgiving is healing. If for no other reason, do it for your children!
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Rosalind Sedacca, CCT is a Divorce & Parenting Coach and author of How Do I Tell the Kids about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children — with Love! For free articles, her blog, coaching services, valuable resources on divorce and parenting issues and to get her free ebook on Post-Divorce Parenting, go to: www.childcentereddivorce.com.
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