When we’re little we’re taught that forgiveness, saying, “I’m sorry” is supposed to fix every situation we get ourselves into. It’s the concept of ‘all I need to know I learned in Kindergarten philosophy.’ I personally love this in its simplicity. In reality, fortunately, forgiveness can often work. It opens up communication and community, even partnership.
In divorce, however, “I’m sorry’s” are usually hard to come by and we don’t like that.
Wanting to hear those words of forgiveness, expecting an apology or waiting for one, taps into our innocence. The child in us who wants their world order righted again. Or the spouse who wants their broken vows atoned for. The adult who is ashamed of what’s occurring in their lives who wants their world fixed. The problem is waiting for the person who hurt you to apologize is a futile act. It simply sets us up for greater disappointment.
As a result, you have to figure out what you’re really waiting for. Do you expect the forgiveness to bring you back together? Or is to feed your egos’ self-righteous anger? Perhaps it’s supposed to make the pain go away as you continue down the path of discovery and separation.
The bad news is, the pain won’t go away from hearing, “I’m sorry” from the person who’s hurt you.
Too many people think hearing an “I’m sorry… I’ve had an affair, I want a different life, I realize I’m gay, I don’t love you anymore…” will make the healing process easier to go through. Really? Not on your life. It might make you momentarily press pause on your inner critic and resentments or anger. But, your ego is not going to be grateful as an explanation for being hurt.
As you move through your separation and begin to grow, you realize that being able to forgive is never gonna to happen with your ex’s help. And you have to stop waiting around for it.
The personal pain of the breakup goes away when you accept your responsibility and then apologize to yourself.
This requires digging a little deeper and figuring out your part in the separation including your naiveté. Being naive isn’t a crime but it still causes people an enormous amount of pain. As you heal and grow, you have to look at the person you once were. The way you once assumed that things were good, didn’t work.
You can’t bring those habits into your future relationships. Instead, you’re going to have to make sure you understand the agreements you live with and take the time to keep them current. For example, did your sex life die and did you stop caring for your partner before they chose to break up with you or after?
This part of discovery has nothing to do with the person who’s gone and everything to do with the person you’re becoming.
Saying, “I’m sorry” to ourselves is a big part of healing. By recognizing the person you once were, you begin to accept what you did to yourself. Your divorce didn’t happen in a vacuum and understanding your part is a big, big piece of the healing process. It must be done. So start digging with someone who can help you process. It won’t be easy to find the forgiveness and start to move on without doing so.
Forgiveness isn’t easy. It’s not easy to come by and it’s definitely not easy to give to ourselves.
If you’re sitting here today unable to forgive the person you once were, go to the place where you find solace. That’s usually your God or a deeply personal place. Often when we’re angry with ourselves, it’s easier to go to a spiritual aspect that’s bigger. It doesn’t help to be mad at yourself for something you weren’t aware of in the past. In fact, that’s simply going to keep you stuck for a long time to come. So your best to stop judging yourself.
As much as you were part of the old relationship, you only knew what you knew.
This is part of the experience of divorce – the deeply personal part that’ll help you move into the next phase of your life. It’s time to own who you were. You must acknowledge what you did and then you have to let go. You can’t carry the anger or criticisms forward. Yes, you need to hear, “I’m sorry.” But waiting for an apology from the partner who left won’t have any meaning until you apologize to yourself.