When I meet with a new client about their divorce case, there is usually at least one quiet moment. That’s when they’ll lean toward me and ask their burning question: “Sara, do you think I should forgive my ex after everything they’ve done?” My answer usually surprises them because it isn’t a yes or a no. It’s this: “Before you can forgive someone else for doing you wrong, you have to forgive yourself for the hurt you felt.” This might be an unconventional strategy, but it has helped me navigate a lot of disappointments, betrayals, and disagreements in my own life. It’s useful not just for divorce, but for any conflict within a relationship. Usually, when I share my tip, I get raised eyebrows and more questions. Should You Forgive and Forget? The First Step Toward Healing Post-Divorce
level. We agree to things that aren’t in our best interest or trust the wrong people and end up getting hurt. Being a participant doesn’t mean you’re to blame for what happened — the other person can still be in the wrong for breaking your trust or violating your commitment! But you do share a sliver of responsibility. Looking at your situation with clear eyes and owning that reality is the first step toward healing. The second step is forgiving yourself. After that, you’ll finally reach the stage where you can consider forgiving the other person. For this third and last step, ask yourself: “What do I need from this person in order to forgive them?” Maybe you need an apology or an explanation for their actions. There’s no shame in asking for what you need! Your ex-spouse might not be mature enough to say, “I’m sorry” on their own. But you can empower yourself and stand up for your feelings by asking for that apology. Asking for what you need passes the burden of forgiveness onto the other person. It’s up to them now whether they’ll be forgiven. You’ve given them the tools and done your part, so you can move from the conflict — whether it’s something as complicated as divorce or as simple as a fight about who will pick the kids up from school. Once you’ve mastered this three-step method and discovered your agency, you won’t be the kind of person things happen to; you’ll be the kind of person who makes things happen.
“What do you mean I have to forgive myself? What did I do?”
Maybe you’re wondering that same thing. If so, you may think you’re not blaming yourself for your situation, but deep in your gut, you probably are. When someone hurts or disappoints us, we hold onto that hurt because we feel like we let it happen. You might be upset at yourself for failing to put up boundaries, failing to speak up for yourself, or being too vulnerable.
The hard truth is that we are participants in every situation we find ourselves in, at least on some
Don’t knock my method until you try it. You may be surprised by how well it works!
“Before you can forgive someone else for doing you wrong, you have to forgive yourself for the hurt you felt.”
678-203-9893Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4
Made with FlippingBook Ebook Creator