Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Forgiveness: The Key To Moving Forward

My first husband left me for someone else. It isn't a subject I usually bring up publicly, as such statements are often designed to place blame. I bring it up today as a way to illustrate the thought processes behind forgiveness.

My divorce was the most painful thing I have ever experienced, including losing my newborn daughter. It was something I did not plan for and did not anticipate. In my way of thinking, marriage was supposed to last a lifetime. Its demise sucked the life right out of me. I felt hurt. I felt betrayed. I felt broken as I struggled to take care of myself and my small children. I mourned for the relationship that might have been. I struggled with the pain for months.

Then one day, I woke up and looked at the pain. In that moment, one thing became crystal clear. As long as I continued to dwell on the pain--my hurt, my brokenness, I would continue to live a painful existence. I understood that holding on to this pain was a choice, and I had the power change it. I could hang on to the bitterness of my circumstances--being a single mom with three small children and watching my ex in his new relationship, or I could choose to let all my hurt and anger go and forge ahead with a new life. In that moment, I chose to move forward.

I'm not going to tell you it was all forward motion. There were days I felt myself creeping back toward bitterness and resentment. The thing is, I was now aware my own personal happiness was dependent on the choices I made every single day. When I noticed myself falling back into discontent, it began to get easy to pull myself back up out of it.

Forgiveness was key to this whole process. I understood that if I wanted to move on, I had to let go of the negativity and thoughts of revenge. After all, I might superficially hurt my ex and his new love if I gave into these feelings. However, I also understood that ultimately I would end up hurting myself and my children more by following through on such actions. I chose not to go there.

Once I was able to forgive my ex and let go, I was able to move forward. I could make news plans for the life I wanted for myself and my children. There were times when new hurts would come up. Forgiveness can be an ongoing process. It is important to work through situations as they come up and deal with them so you can go on with life.

Holding on to unforgiveness is one of the most limiting things you can choose to do in life. It blocks all aspects of your life and keeps you living in pain. Forgiveness does not justify the poor choices of another. It frees you to live a life of hope and promise.

If we truly desire to create a better world, we must begin by letting go of the pain from our past. Forgiveness is the key to moving forward and creating something far better.


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