The other night I was laying on the bed waiting for the sandman to pay his nightly visit, and watching my thoughts tumble over each other. Memories of my past flitted by including some of the things that occurred during my first marriage. I bought to mind sayings that I have read about how our past doesn’t define us but it can help shape us and how we learn from the past and evolve and grow as we journey into our future. As I was thinking this, I realised that in order to move forward in our lives we need to forgive those in our past who have hurt us. That sounds like an awful big ask and it is. I’m not denying that at all. Some of you reading this have people in your past who have been vile to you and done horrendous things. My past hasn’t been all smooth sailing either but it has not been as horrific as some. There were issues in my first marriage, however, I won’t go into them as my ex-husband is still living and breathing. We have a son together. My ex has since remarried and he has a wife who loves him and other family who still love him. It is not my place to speak ill of him and cause others pain in doing so. I want you to know that when I speak of forgiving those in our past I am not spouting nonsense. I have learned the importance of forgiveness and it is a difficult lesson to learn.
I’ve heard the cliche about forgiving and forgetting. I am here to tell you that you can forgive but the memories (although they may fade a little) never, ever go away. It is not possible to forget.
“Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself”. You heard that right. It is a gift for you. By forgiving the other person, you are not gifting them anything. They probably don’t even think that they need forgiveness most of the time. By forgiving those who have hurt you, you are doing yourself the hugest favour. The weight will lift from your shoulders and the constriction of your heart will ease. Unforgiveness has been proved to cause physical distress to our bodies. Sounds corny but it is true. If you want to feel better both physically and mentally, forgive the person who has hurt you.
It took me almost 18 years to forgive my ex. If I saw him, my teeth would clench and my jaw would ache. I would sometimes feel physically ill. He still managed to ‘push my buttons’ and I would explode in anger when he spoke to me. But last year, this all changed. My son was getting married and I knew he would be at the wedding. I worried about this constantly. The day of the wedding arrived and I saw him with his wife. My jaw began to clench. And then I looked at my Garden Gnome and my three beautiful children and realised just how wonderfully blessed I am. And I was at peace. I felt free. I realised that this man had no power over me any longer. I saw him with new eyes no longer coloured by hatred and anger. I saw him as a fellow human being who is walking his own path. It is he who will be accountable for the things he has done – not me. The weight fell away from my shoulders and I was truly free for the first time in all those years. I even managed to have a civil conversation with him during the reception.
As I write this now, I no longer feel animosity for this man. A certain degree of pity perhaps but certainly no anger. By forgiving him, I have given myself the best gift of all. I have been given my life back. Now, I am free to continue my journey in life in peace.
Wishing you blessings 🙂