The Forgiveness Dilemma
Updated: Mar 12
“You have to forgive in order to move on”
I’m sure you’ve heard it. I guess they think they're being helpful, but…
How do you forgive someone for lies or infidelity?
How do you forgive abuse?
Where do you start?
Why should you forgive when it makes them appear blameless?
The word "FORGIVE" becomes extremely triggering during a divorce.
I used to think the reason I wasn’t “getting over” my divorce was that I didn’t know how to forgive.
I beat myself up believing that I was a horrible, resentful person. I thought I’d never be able to heal, because I couldn’t let go of all the awful things that were said and the way I was treated.
My dictionary defines forgive: to give up resentment against (an offender) : PARDON.
My personal definition of forgive has elements of:
1. empathizing with the other party
2. removing blame
3. "turning the other cheek"
None of that is going to happen any time soon, not with respect to my ex. No way! Nope.
My definition was keeping me stuck...stuck in semantics...stuck feeling awful about myself.
Then, finally, I came across a new definition...not from a dictionary...from Oprah. It turned out to be the key to "the forgiveness dilemma" for me.
This is a definition that I have worked with and always share with my clients and anyone who is struggling to move on or feeling guilty because they can't:
"Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could have been any different."
- Oprah Winfrey
Now THAT I can do.
Forgiveness is accepting the past...accepting that it can't be changed...accepting what they did...accepting what I did...and letting it go.
It takes time...a lot of time...to really process. But, there is true freedom in acceptance. Once I stopped hoping I could change it and that things had been different...I was able to be present in my life and focus on my future.
You don't have to forgive someone who hurt you to move on from the past. Examine your definition and make it work for you.
Peace and acceptance.
Apply for a Before & After session with Rebecca Wolf using the button above. During this complimentary consult, you'll uncover your path to divorce recovery and discover the value of private coaching.
Divorce Recovery Coach
Certified Life Coach
Founder of Her Divorce Project and The Divorce Project