I sat in the corner of my hotel room reflecting on my now legal status of “divorced.” I never thought this would happen to me. My parents had been married over 50 years, so I had good role models. What happened? What’s wrong with me? These are questions that I asked myself over and over again. Why? Because I thought I was the “bad guy.”
Forgiving ourselves and others can be a tricky slippery slope. You can choose to stay in that state of, “How can I possibly forgive blah for such betrayal?” Or you can take a more proactive healthy approach to forgive and forget. Many of you may find it a challenge to accept the importance of forgiving someone else and more importantly forgiving yourself. Forgetting is probably is even more important. For if you are willing to forget you don’t need to be reminded to forgive. Make sense?
Here are 3 steps to help you get started:
1. Most people’s intentions are not meant to make you angry. The key here is to not take anything personally. One of my favorite and easy to read books is “The Four Agreements,” by Don Miguel Luiz. Remembering this first agreement gives you a more gentle attitude about words you exchange in the heat of an argument.
2. Look at the trigger. What do I mean by this? When you suffer pain because of an interaction with someone else there’s usually a reason. This is about you. Knowing who you are and what you value reveals clues to find the answers. What did they say, or do, that caused your pain? Was your reaction from your wounded child, something you need to protect, or lack of respect? When you figure that out you’ve got the key to forgiving and forgetting.
3. Develop a poor memory. Forgetting is sometimes the hardest. You’ve been wounded. You’re feeling pain. You may want to strike back. If you choose to strike back you hurt 2 people. The person you want to hurt and you. Continuing to feel the pain hurts you the most. The pain will show up in how you handle stress, “Long-term exposure to stress can lead to serious health problems. Chronic stress disrupts nearly every system in your body. It can raise blood pressure, suppress the immune system, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, contribute to infertility, and speed up the aging process. Long-term stress can even rewire the brain, leaving you more vulnerable to anxiety and depression.”
Take a tip from the song “Let it Go,” from the movie Frozen
What do you need to forget and who do you need to forgive? I’d love to have a discussion with you.