Forgiveness is something that can have a lot of emotional attachment to it. Some people believe that they have to forgive or should forgive because of religious or cultural backgrounds, but struggle to find forgiveness from that kind of guilty pressure.
Others believe that if you forgive someone it means that you're condoning or redeeming the hurt or abuse that was done to you. No forgiveness is necessary when the person on the other end isn't deserving of it.
In this episode I'm talking about forgiveness from all angles. I'll show you how forgiveness is 100% up to you and is a way for you to step into the authority over your own life by choosing one way or the other. I'll also teach you, if you choose to forgive, the four steps to follow to find forgiveness for yourself after divorce.
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Are you a woman going through divorce? Do you feel like you lost yourself during your marriage and don’t know how to find your again? Do you feel like you’re trapped on an emotional rollercoaster? Do you wish that you had the skills to live a happy, independent life as a divorced woman? If this sounds like you, then you need to work with Karin Nelson as your divorce coach. She will teach you how to love yourself again, how to process through any hard emotion so you can stop feeling emotionally overwhelmed and out of control, and how to live the life you always wanted while you were married. Apply to work one on one with Karin Nelson today by clicking here. Spots are limited and are going fast.
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Full Episode Transcript:
I’m your host, Karin Nelson and you’re listening to Becoming You Again, episode number 66.
Welcome to becoming You Again. The podcast to help you with your mental and emotional wellbeing during and after divorce. This is where you learn to overcome the trauma of your divorce by reconnecting with yourself, creating lasting emotional resilience and living a truly independent life so you can live an even better life than when you were married. I’m you’re host Karin Nelson.
Hello my lovelies. How is everyone doing of late? I’ve been having a truly amazing week. I had some really great coaching sessions with my clients. I have felt very connected to my kids and my job. And this week I had a consult with a woman who does a trauma informed certification program that I’m very interested in. We talked about it and I’ve decided that I’m going to go after this certification and I’m just so excited to be able to take this training and really begin to implement the things that I’m learning and become a trauma informed coach so that I can help all of you women really understand the trauma that you’re feeling and move through it and heal from it in many more ways than I have been able to offer you up till now and that is such an exciting thing for me so I’m very excited as we move froward with this podcast and with my coaching and with my program that is coming out that I’m going to be able to have this background that is going to be able to help change your lives in such an amazing way.
Now on to today’s topic which is finding forgiveness after divorce. And I titled this after divorce but in all reality you don’t have to wait until the divorce is actually signed and officially over to find forgiveness. So I just want you to know it’s not like a time thing where if I just wait this appropriate amount of time then I can choose to forgive or that it has to be once my divorce is done or after it’s been two years or five years or ten years, then I can forgive. Because forgiveness is a thought and it is something that happens internally and I am going to talk about that more in a minute but it’s something that you choose to do or not do and I wanted to preface this idea for you so you understand there is no time requirement that is necessary before you choose to forgive. You can do it while you are separated. You can do it during the divorce, you can do it after the divorce, you can do it 10 years after the divorce, you can do it on your deathbed. It’s completely up to you.
Now you might be asking why is she even talking about forgiveness? What my ex did to me is literally unforgivable so why would I ever even consider doing this. And this is a valid question because I think most of the time you’re right. The reality is there are many people who do some really shitty things. Many of you, I know many of my listeners have experienced terrible harm, terrible abuse whether it be physical, emotional, financial, sexual or another form. I know you’ve been lied to, I know you’ve been manipulated, and cheated on, stolen from or worse, right, at the hand of the person who was supposed to be their closest ally. And the reality is that these people can’t be trusted. And many times they aren’t sorry for their actions and the harm that they’ve caused us. And often as the parenting relationship with your ex and with these people who in the past have harmed you in some way it’s probably going to be necessary for you to continue to set boundaries with these people. And so the question really comes up, why would I choose forgiveness after all of this has happened to me?
And the answer to that I think is twofold. First, I want you to know that you don’t have to choose forgiveness. You truly do not. Not ever, if you don’t want. I’m not here to tell you that you should forgive or that you need to forgive or that you should be the bigger person in this relationship. My job as a coach is not to tell you how to live your life and what decisions you must make. The only thing that I can help you do is reclaim your authority over your own life and show you that it is always your decision to know what is going to be best for you. What is going to be best for your life. So just know that the first answer to this question is why would I ever choose forgiveness is that you do not ever have to choose forgiveness. You do not ever have to forgive someone if you don’t want to. It is not a requirement of living or going with the rest of your life.
And the second part is, choosing forgiveness is 100% for your benefit and it is in no way to give redemption to someone else or to justify their actions and behaviors. The choice to forgive may be so that you can feel peace for yourself. And if that is what I’m going to offer to you today in this podcast. But again that decision is 100% up to you and you do what feels best and right for you. Because if you are seeking some kind of peace after your divorce I’m going to teach you what you can do to find forgiveness and create that peaceful feeling for yourself in your own life.
Forgiveness, again like I said at the beginning, it is not something that you do. It’s in my opinion it’s not an outward action that takes place. It’s something that you don’t even need to say out loud to someone else (unless you want to). The other person in this situation doesn’t ever have to know that you forgive them. Because forgiveness is completely internal. It comes from your thoughts. It comes from making a purposeful decision that you are going to think differently about whatever has happened to you in the past or about whatever’s going on right now. It comes from deciding that you are tired of carrying around the anger inside of you and instead you want some relief from that pain.
And when we really think about it, when we’ve been harmed, wronged, hurt or mistreated we often feel angry, or hatred or resentful. At first, these feelings they really can feel very powerful and justified and maybe even kind of good, like they just deserve to be hated so I’m going to comply by hating them and spewing anger at them. And I promise you it’s ok if you find yourself in this space because that really might be necessary for you for a time and your own healing to be able to move through some of that anger and hatred. I’m not staying that you should stay there forever. You can if you want; again it’s totally up to you. But I do think that sometimes before we can move forward in our lives we have to meet ourselves where we’re at. And if that is what we’re feeling we need to lean into that a little bit.
But the problem that can happen with anger and hatred is that holding onto it grows in intensity, especially when we’re constantly looking for and finding more evidence that supports what a terrible person they are. So because we are carrying around this anger and it’s getting heavier and heavier and more exhausting to carry around. It’s like you’ve got a back pack of anger and every time you feel that anger or you find more evidence that he’s just literally the worst you add weight to your back pack of anger. So you’re carrying around this backpack of anger or hatred everywhere you go that is truly only punishing you and weighing you down.
Because unfortunately your ex doesn’t feel the heaviness of that anger backpack. They can’t feel the intensity of your hatred. Now they might be feeling something negative but only if they are creating negativity for themselves by what they’re thinking. And that’s the same for you. You are feeling the hatred and the anger because of what you’re thinking and then feeling the effects of the heaviness and the intensity of that inside of you.
So the idea of forgiving someone means that you’ll be excusing or condoning their terrible behavior is completely flawed thinking. Because in reality when we carry around anger and hatred we’re only punishing ourselves for their bad behavior.
So how do we find forgiveness and set this heavy backpack of anger and resentment or hatred down? I think there are four steps that are going to help you find the forgiveness that you’re seeking so that you can feel relief. I’m going to talk about each of these individually in more detail but the steps are acknowledge, consider, accept, and forgive.
So number one, acknowledge what’s happening. And this can look a lot of different ways. This can mean that you are aware of what has happened. That you are acknowledging that you were hurt, that you were mistreated or abused, or acknowledging that your feelings are valid no matter what they are. But the most important part of acknowledging is you are becoming aware of what’s happening in your brain about what happened to you. What’s the underlying thought that is causing the most amount of pain and that is continuing to create the anger that you’re feeling? Those thoughts might sound something like these: It’s not fair that I had to experience this. I would never do that to him. He shouldn’t do that. He’s so selfish. I can’t believe that he would treat me that way. And maybe your thoughts have more detail or are more dramatic then these but the point is, it’s these types of thoughts that are continuing to create the feeling of anger and the feeling of hatred toward your ex which is keeping you stuck in those feelings.
Number two is to consider. This is where you get to decide whether you even want to forgive or not. And going back to what I said a few minutes ago, forgiveness is not a requirement to living your life and I don’t think it makes you a better person if you forgive or don’t forgive. But again when you consider the choice to do this or not do it, it can mean that you are owning that you have been carrying around anger for a long time and that you’re now ready to let it go. But that choice is and always will be 100% up to you so when you consider, decide intentionally.
If you decide that you’re not ready to forgive or you don’t want to, own that decision and own that you are willing to continue to create anger and hatred by the way you’re thinking about what happened to you. Owning your decision puts you back in control of your life. And if you decide that you’re ready to forgive, then be willing to move forward with the next steps and lay down that story that you’ve been carrying around.
Number three, is to accept. This means that you are willing to accept that you cannot change the past. I know this can be a tricky one for many of us, even though it seems so really obvious that of course we can’t change the past, but we still like to think that we can. Often this is why we spin in thoughts about the past, about certain situations and things that happened, because a part of us thinks that if we think about it enough, or feel bad enough, or get angry enough then maybe it will change what happened. But this is never a possibility. We can’t change what has happened in the past. And opening yourself up to accepting that it happened it way will be useful.
And there’s also power in accepting that this anger or hate that you’ve been feeling isn’t going to get the other person to change and it won’t in any way compensate for what they’ve done. And accepting is also a very powerful way of taking authority over your own life and what you’re feeling right now. We often give the credit for what we are feeling right now to our ex and what he did in the past or what he’s doing right now, and we kind of let him determine how we’re going to feel from moment to moment. But in reality, reclaiming your authority over your own emotional life and accepting that you are always in charge of how you feel right now in the present, is the most powerful thing that you can learn to do and accept in your life. Because that means that you can truly stop feeling the anger and the hatred and that you’re accepting responsibility for your own emotional life and to think and feel any way you want.
Number four is to forgive. This is where you get to come up with some new thoughts that you’re going to start thinking to replace what you have been thinking that has been creating all the anger and hatred. I want you to find a thought that feels true to you and then practice it over and over again until it sticks and becomes habit.
I’m going to give you some examples of new thoughts that you can try on and you can use one of these or you can brainstorm and come up with some on your own that feel true to you. It’s okay for me to let go of the past because I am safe in this moment. I’m willing to feel uncomfortable while I practice forgiving because this matters to me. It’s possible that I’m whole and worthy despite my ex’s bad behavior. I’m learning to believe that my life was harder because of this experience and that’s ok.
I’m willing to forgive my ex for his bad behavior for my own emotional wellbeing.
There are thousands and thousands of thoughts that are options to choose from. I’ve given you just a couple of ideas to use or to work from but again you’re totally welcome to brainstorm and come up with some on your own. Remember when trying on new thoughts, find one that is a little bit believable to you or a lot believable to you. Try it out and see how it makes you feel inside your body. That is the key. When you find one that you like practice it over and over. Every time your brain wants to go back to the past or repeat the story of what your ex did to you, that’s when you remind your brain, I know we used to think that a lot, but now we’re focusing on this and that’s when you repeat that new thought to yourself.
And I want to add and reinforce that when you forgive someone you don’t need to tell them unless you want to. It’s not a required step in this process to say out loud to the other person that you’ve forgiven them or that you’re working on forgiving them. It’s totally up to you. You can do that if you want. But forgiveness is not about them and it’s not for them. It’s about you and it’s about taking responsibility for your emotional life. It’s about you and wanting to move forward. And the forgiveness is ultimately for you.
That’s it for today my friends. I love you so much. Thank you for listening. I’ll talk to you next week.
If you like what you’re learning on the podcast and you’re ready to create lasting change and results in your life then you need to be working 1:1 with Karin as your divorce coach. This is where we take everything you’re learning in the podcast and 10x it with implementation and weekly coaching where you start to see change in yourself and your life immediately. To find out more about how work exclusively with Karin go to www.karinnelsoncoaching.com . That’s www dot Karin nelson coaching dot com.
Thanks for listening. If this podcast episode agreed with you in any way, please take a minute to follow and give it a rating wherever you listen to podcasts. And for more details about how I can help you live an even better life than when you were married, make sure to check out the full show notes by clicking the link in the description.