I’ve learned many times in life that if I want to feel at peace in myself and move forwards, it’s essential to be able to forgive and let go.
When I forgive, I’m releasing the hold that the past has over me. I feel liberated and free to move forwards. Forgiveness helps me break free from past disappointments, failures and heals the emotional wounds that we all sustain in daily life when things go wrong.
It doesn’t always feel easy or instinctive to forgive, and we might resent those who did us harm, or the circumstances that caused us pain or difficulty. At times like these, forgiveness doesn’t feel justified or warranted. When this happens, I remind myself that I’m forgiving for me, not for them. It’s about freeing myself of the burden and allowing myself to stop wishing that things could be different. The past cannot be changed, and when I forgive, I’m accepting what has happened, absorbing the lessons and shifting my focus back onto the present. When I’m grounded in the here and now, I can make choices and take actions that allow me to shape my own life.
I learned the immense power of forgiveness through divorcing from my first wife when my kids were still young. Our parting was quite amicable, but I still felt angry for the lost years and the hurt that came from the arguments and unhappiness while our relationship was crumbling. I hated myself for not listening to the kindly advice offered by those around me and felt guilty for the emotional pain, uncertainty and hardship that would inevitably follow for me, my kids and my ex-wife.
For many months I felt completely shackled by the events of the past. I struggled with depression as I tried to rebuild my life and remaining actively involved in my young daughters’ lives. It was a struggle.
It was only when I accepted the need to forgive my ex and myself for our marriage crumbling, that the fog in my mind started to lift and life started to improve.
Forgiveness didn’t come easily at first; you’re supposed to hate your ex-wife, right? I grew to understand that if I was going to start over and build a happy and fulfilled life for myself, I needed to let go of the past. Forgiving didn’t mean to lose sight of the valuable lessons that the past had yielded. Instead, it was about accepting that the past couldn’t be changed, that our marriage was over and being grateful for the opportunity to start over again.
Many years later, I’ve since remarried, my kids are happy, fulfilled and accomplished young adults, and life is good. Forgiveness has played a big part in making that so.