Another critical step in the healing process after divorce is to offer forgiveness to yourself and to those that may have hurt you.
Forgiveness allows you to fully heal. Without forgiveness, you allow the remaining hurt to haunt you.
When my ex told me, “I’m not attracted to you anymore,” I was crushed emotionally. Yes, the stress of life had caused me to gain weight. I was a full time stay at home mom, who literally did everything for our family. Makeup, cute clothes, working out, and taking care of myself and feeling good was not a priority. I already didn’t feel connected to the real Christina, and this made me feel worthless and not enough.
Then I found out my ex was not honoring our marriage, and I immediately thought it was my fault.
What do you think I did? The next day I showered, actually dried my hair, put makeup on, and found something to wear besides my ratty yoga pants.
I remember thinking everything was my fault, and that I had not done enough to keep the marriage together and that somehow taking better care of myself would all of a sudden stop the volcano that was about to erupt.
As I began to process all of the trauma and drama that would unfold, I eventually learned that his hurtful words and actions were truly not about me. I also realized that the marriage had not been healthy for quite a long time. Then, I blamed myself for staying so long. I questioned myself. I thought I needed a “real” or valid reason to leave. In my mind, just being unhappy and having a deep sense that marriage could be so much more was not enough to justify leaving.
The self blaming only added stress to my emotional state. I didn’t think that I had a choice, despite knowing deep inside that something was missing in our marriage. I needed to forgive myself for what I did not know.
You see, as we grow and evolve our mindset and beliefs can shift. We can do this actively through our awareness of something not serving us or sometimes life events shift our perspective for us.
I realized that the blame game didn’t serve anyone. By accepting myself for who I was and what I believed to be true during my marriage I was able to forgive the old me.
I had to come to terms with myself and accept that my awareness and beliefs are what kept me in an unhealthy place. And as hard as it is to deal with, somehow I needed this lesson and had to go through it to get to where I am.
In reflection, I could understand my ex’s perspective on life and see that he was holding on to a lot of hurt inside himself. I then was able to feel empathy for him. I could see him hurting and understood that the hurtful behaviors and words directed at me were not the root of the issues. It wasn’t about me.
Once I realized and accepted that I was going through this for a reason, I was able to forgive both myself and my ex.
Forgiveness isn’t about “giving in” or “letting the other person win”. It is about finding peace for your own sake. A wise person once said, “Holding on to anger and resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” It only hurts you further, and perpetuates the situation.
Big hurt takes time to process and heal—it definitely doesn’t happen overnight, and this timeline is different for everyone.
If you have been betrayed, don’t expect to be able to forgive right away.
I believe forgiveness is such an important part of the healing process because it brings freedom. Through forgiving, we are able to turn our pain into purpose. You allow yourself to learn and grow from an experience rather than stay stuck in it.
Forgiveness allows you to be your most authentic true self.
Who can you forgive today?