I read this post on forgiveness on Huffington Post Divorce recently. I don’t know why I clicked it, since I felt forgiveness was beyond me. But the second and fourth points were a one-two punch:
“Forgiveness does not mean condoning bad behavior, and it does not mean forgetting what occurred. It does mean making peace with what has occurred so that you can put the past behind you.”
“Forgiveness allows you to release difficult emotions, including blame, anger and grief – without denying or minimizing your feelings. It provides a way to acknowledge them, heal and move on.”
(Both from “Seven Reasons To Forgive Your Ex,” by Eileen Barker)
I’d had the idea that forgiveness meant coming to believe that his choices and actions were justified and that I should pretend my anger, sense of betrayal, and sadness don’t exist.
Forgiving doesn’t mean letting him walk all over me; it does means not reliving the bad old past in the present. My forgiveness doesn’t depend on him, I don’t need to expect an apology or behavior change in order to forgive him. I don’t even have to tell him I forgive him. I can do it in private, just for myself.
I can stop carrying his weight on my shoulders by simply choosing to put it down on the side of the figurative road. And today, which is technically our 24th wedding anniversary, I’m doing just that.