Forgiveness After Divorce
Giving Yourself the Gift of Forgiveness
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” — Mahatma Ghandi
You’ve probably heard about how wonderful forgiveness can be. It can be a great relief, a release from the blinding tension of fury and rage. And yet…how do you get there?
In a word? Selfishly.
It may sound shocking, but “feeling better” might be just the motivation you need to get to the place you need to be—forgiveness.
How to Forgive
It may seem like an impossible mountain to climb, but forgiveness is possible. It may just take some steps, like these offered by Greater Good Magazine from UC Berkeley.
- Discuss family stories about giving and receiving pain. This kind of conversation opens us up to the possibility that we all make mistakes. It can help us understand others’ pain and give our own context.
- Role-play empathy and forgiveness: you can do this with family, where you divide up and play parts in a scenario where one was hurt. You move slowly then ask why everyone thinks they may have been hurt.
- Write a forgiveness letter: this is the kind of exercise that is great for kids to practice, too. Helping them write a letter, for example, can help them see the humanity of the other person and understand the pain they may feel.
This week I sat down with Anne-Louise DePalo and discussed how the how difficult. Palo is an attorney in Staten Island. She’s been practicing in the area of divorce and family law for over 30 years, and she’s the author of the book, Divorce Now What? How to Survive, Thrive and Become Fully Alive Through the Divorce Process. She wrote the book to show people that they have options in divorce. It isn’t just litigation and conflict.
DePalo suggests that forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. It’s about being able to release the energy you’ve been spending in tracking the behavior, watching their social media, following their relationships and just letting it all go. It’s not your burden anymore. DePalo says, “you don’t have to like what your spouse did and you don’t even have to really like your spouse. “It’s a matter of not holding the grudge.” And with those words, you realize that it’s you who bears the exhausting weight. If you just let go, let it drop, you can be free.
Acceptance: Forgiveness 2.0
Acceptance is a little different from forgiveness. It doesn’t say that it’s ok that what happened, happened. It simply states that it did. But positing the situation in this way, we see that there are big wins for partners who accept (note: not forgive!) an ex’s bad behavior. This is an empowering realization that can help you move forward and create a new life for yourself.
If you’re considering divorce but would like to try an approach that might mean a brighter future, call my team to schedule a confidential consultation.