I know what you’re thinking already ~ How could I POSSIBLY forgive him for what he’s done? For all the pain he’s caused me? For abandoning me and our future? NOT gonna happen!
Now, don’t get me wrong. Most people feel like forgiving someone means that you’re somehow suggesting what they did was okay. That IS part of it. However, the reason I’m bringing this up is to help YOU. As John Green says, ”The only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to forgive.”
You see, forgiving someone actually helps you in a multitude of different ways. First, it alleviates some stress. You feel lighter. You feel happier. You feel empowered.
Second, it helps with the energy drain that we typically suffer from while coping with a divorce/breakup. As we begin to forgive, the negative thoughts of him and the relationship start to fall away. We bring that energy back to ourselves and our lives and it helps us focus on the future and what really matters. Yay! Bonus!
Third, your confidence and strength is boosted through forgiveness. Have you heard the saying, “It takes a big person to forgive”? I think it’s our innate desire to forgive those that have wronged us. It does take some gumption and your self-esteem gets the benefit. You feel good!
Forgiveness truly is giving up the wish that things could be different. Yes, do you perhaps wish you had married someone else? Do you wish you would have left two years ago instead of letting it drag on? Sure.
However, no one can change the past. What happened ~ happened.
The question then becomes, My Sassy Darling: What are you going to do with it? Will you let it affect your precious present moment? Will you let it affect your future? Are you going to hang on to the past with both hands? OR release it with a gentle smile?
I know it can be tough and it IS a process. It’s simple to think, “Oh, I forgave so-and-so.” However, when it comes right down to it, you still feel ugly feelings and harbor a grudge. That’s natural. That’s why this is a process. It chips away at the hurt and negativity. You feel better each time you do it.
Here are a few tips on starting the forgiveness process:
1. Find a peaceful spot where you won’t be interrupted.
2. You can either write it out or say it out loud. It’s important to either write it OR verbalize it rather than just thinking it.
3. So you start out with, “I understand that ____________.” Go on and on until you get it all out.
For example: I understand he wasn’t faithful to me. I understand it wasn’t my fault. I understand he left his dirty underwear all over the bedroom floor. (*Smile*) I understand that he is selfish. I understand that he hurt me. I understand that he did this and this. Just lay it all out there.
4. When you get to the end of the list, then say or write, “_________ (insert name), I understand all of these things and I forgive you.”
5. Slowly exhale and feel the release.
At first, it may be difficult to wrap your head around this exercise. It seems like you’re giving him a free pass for breaking your heart.
Actually, you’re giving yourself a gift. Remember that, Sweet Pea.
This is also helpful if you want to forgive yourself for something or for anyone in your life you’d like to forgive such as parents, friends, the guy that cut you off in traffic, etc.
So just remember: There’s no right or wrong way to forgive. There’s no time limit and no rules. It’s simply a great way for you to move on with your fabulous amazing future!
Here’s a question I recently received from Karen:
Q: Hi, Laura. This is more of an OMG. I am feeling sorry for myself but here we go: My fiance of two years and I just recently split up. I have two children from a previous relationship but they have called him Dad a good majority of the time. Maybe a bad move on my part?
Now that we’ve split, he as completely cut the kids and me out of his life. Mind you, it’s only been two weeks but he’s already blocked my number and if there has been contact, it’s been on my part.
All he can say is that he is happier, that I need to move on and that he’s not going to allow me to guilt trip him into continuing a relationship with the kids. This is coming from a man who talked about adopting them at one point.
I am caught in a world of hurt. Sometimes, the pain is just unbearable. I’m left wondering how he could just move on and not care about the kids.
I though maybe you could help me understand and work through this. ~ Karen
A: Oh, Karen, My Darling, I completely understand that you’re dealing with a lot right now.
I’m certain that your pain is coming from not only your own loss of the relationship but also how his absence is affecting your children.
Since I’m unsure of what caused the relationship to end and who broke it off, I’ll just assume that it was a surprise to you. I’m also going to assume that his behavior since has also caught you off guard.
Tips for managing right now:
1. Put a time limit on your negative emotions. I’ve said this in past articles before but it’s really helpful. When you begin to feeling really down or like you need a good cry, don’t try to stop it. Just say to yourself, “Okay. Bring it. You’ve got ten minutes and then you’re done.” It’s good to feel like you’re the boss of your emotions and not the other way around. After the ten minutes (and use a timer if you need it), it’s OVER. You MOVE ON to an activity that you enjoy.
2. Lean into the knowledge that you may never know why this happened. As you’re reacting to his aloofness, I’m sure you’re thinking, “Who is this person? How could he just walk away from us? Why does it seem so easy for him to disconnect and move on? Did he ever really love me and the kids?”
These are thoughts that definitely cross our minds when our ex is acting in ways we never thought possible. Sadly, it happens and the questions regarding why can seem all-consuming.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news but you’ll probably never know what really happened here. People change. People make choices that don’t make sense and hurt others.
It doesn’t sound like he’s open to giving you any information about why he’s acting the way he’s acting. So, you’re left in that position of wondering…why? why? why?
It’s uncomfortable and you’d really like to know ~ how did we get here? What could I have done to prevent this from happening?
Beating yourself up at a time like this does you no good, Sassy Pants. Even though it’s painful, you may have to begin getting comfortable with the idea you’ll never know exactly what happened and why.
3. Count your blessings. If this is the REAL him, would you want to be with him for the rest of your life? Really? He’s showing you right now who he really is and guess what? It’s not pretty, Girlfriend. Be grateful that you found this out now and not later. I know it hurts but what if you two had gotten married and he pulled this? What if he had already adopted the children and then pulled this? That would be even more difficult. So…while it may be hard to imagine this being more painful, it undoubtedly would be if it happened down the line instead of now.
Karen, my heart goes out to you. Please know that you are strong and you WILL get through this. Countless women have been where you are today and have gone on to lead even MORE FABULOUS lives than they ever imagined ~ and so will you!
You might be saying to yourself, “What? Beauty in pain? Have you lost your marbles, Laura?”
I don’t blame you for thinking this way. I would have thought like this too ~ until I lived this quote.
You see, I was in an unhappy marriage. If I’m honest, I had been unhappy for years. In fact, for the majority of years.
However, I wouldn’t let that in too much. It hurt. In fact, just the thought of that pain seemed overwhelming.
So I did what any good wife does and just fake-smiled and busied my way through life.
Something happened, though, that made that even more difficult. I found out about a four-years-long affair that my husband had been having.
Ouch is an understatement. Wow. That was REALLY painful. It almost felt like every cell of my body was experiencing emotional pain ~ if that makes sense.
The months following that were some of the darkest of my life. It seemed that the rug had been pulled out from underneath me.
He wanted to “work it out.”
I was frightened of the prospect of being alone ~ my daughter without her family unit intact ~ being labeled twice divorced ~ not having someone to spend national holidays with ~ you get my drift.
So we “worked on it.” I soon found out that working on it meant me understanding his need to go to nightclubs on the weekends and never bringing up my feelings again.
Sounds ideal, right?
So there I was. Back to square one. Trying to manage my feelings ~ alone. Trying to shield my young daughter from the sadness and hurt I was feeling inside.
This little scenario played out for two whole years. Yuck. Seriously…ish! It was the least fun I’ve had in a long time ~ let me tell you.
I actually prayed to God for a sign that I should leave. I didn’t know what it was but knowing myself, I knew that I could tolerate pain for much longer than I should. It wasn’t a badge of honor. Just the way I was.
However, a glorious day arrived!
At 5:15 a.m. on a Saturday morning in June, I could hear the garage door open. I was accustomed to him getting home at 2 or 3 a.m. but 5:15 was way beyond my comfort level. (Really? Looking back, why was 2 or 3 a.m. okay?)
Anyhoo, I tore down the steps and asked for an explanation. No. I DEMANDED an explanation. I also asked where his wedding ring was as I noticed it was not on his finger.
What followed was one lame excuse too many.
After he passed out, I quietly looked at his email. Not violating his privacy in this fashion was one way I was “working on” building trust. However, all bets were off.
As I began reading the email exchanges between him and his latest lady love, I understood the quote from Anais Nin.
Despite the terror, pain and intense sadness I felt in that moment, I woke him up and asked for a divorce right then and there.
And then I realized…I was finally ready to blossom.
Sometimes, it happens. You divorce or breakup and realize there are still feelings there for your ex.
Of course, this is natural. Some of us will always feel a certain love or affection for our former spouse or lover. This week, I answer Sharon’s question about being in that space for 18 years.
The 3 main tips I share with her are:
1. Accept that you may never have the closure you desire. Lean into that feeling and get on with your life, Sassy Pants!
2. Play a game with yourself in which you remove the possibility for a future relationship with your ex. How would you spend your days, weeks, months differently? Now go do that!
3. Realize that you deserve more. Begin to take off your “rose-colored glasses” and see him and the relationship in a different light.
Sometimes, there are points in life where we find out who are real friends are. A divorce or breakup is typically one of those times. Why does this happen and what can we do about it?
Firstly, let’s paint a picture of life pre-divorce or breakup. You have your buds ~ your girls. They may be friends from grade school, high school, college ~ someone from the old ‘hood ~ a work friend you’ve had for years ~ a wife or girlfriend of one of your ex’s friends ~ moms of your kids’ friends ~ a sister, cousin, neighbor, etc. All these various women who came into your life under varied circumstances. The one common thread here is: You think they have your back through thick and thin. You’ve shared LIFE with them, after all. You’ve laughed over margaritas or a school play. You’ve commiserated when you’ve had the flu or bought the wrong lipstick color ~ again. You have that fuzzy feeling that they’ll always be there until ~ you don’t.
Yep, it kinda sucks. Once you break the news that you’re no longer in a relationship, people react differently. Some rally to your side. Some can’t or won’t.
It may start as an odd intuition that says, “Hmmm. I called her three days ago and she hasn’t returned my call. That’s weird.” Maybe it’s, “Is it my imagination or did so-and-so just abruptly dart down a different hallway to avoid me?” At first, you dismiss it. ”Oh, she must be really busy.” Then it happens again…and again.
You get a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach. Really? She’s going to abandon me NOW of all times?
“Stay is a charming word in a friend’s vocabulary,” says Amos Bronson Alcott. What should you do when a friend doesn’t “stay”?
1. Remember that it’s about THEM ~ not YOU. For whatever reason, for some it is difficult to watch others go through an intense life-changing situation. They may fear it’s somehow contagious and will happen to them to if they get too close to you. Watching people in pain may be too much ~ they can’t deal with it. They’re at a loss for words. They can’t fix it and it makes them uncomfortable. They feel they have to choose sides and guess what? You lost.
2. Choose compassion. It’s easy to go down the path of hurtful grudge holding. After all, you’re going through this hell and they deserted you, right? Holding on to the negative feelings just adds more fuel to the fire. You’re already feeling bad about the breakup. Now you get to feel bad about your friend too. Why not release yourself and them? Gently acknowledge that you may never know what happened and that’s okay.
3. Focus on the awesome people that are still there. Allow yourself to enjoy their companionship and love for you. Be grateful for their presence. Say a silent “Hooray!” ~ she’s fabulous and I KNOW she loves me!
Yes, it’s true that you may emerge from a divorce or breakup with fewer friends. In fact, I’d say it’s inevitable. However, trust that the friends you hang on to are the real deal. They aren’t going anywhere. BFFs Forever, right?
Shine On, Sister!
Starting out the new year with a positive attitude is super important, Dearie! Please watch the video above and I’ll lead you through the quick and easy 3-step process of choosing your annual theme word.
It’s totally fun and doable and you deserve the best this year! Do it for you!
As you approach your first holiday season solo, does it seem like every jeweler in America is out to get you? You know what I mean. All those commercials where a beautiful but breathless woman warmly embraces her handsome man after finding a 45-carat diamond necklace in the glove box of her brand new giant-bow-adorned car. Ugh! Sometimes, the thought of spending time alone during the holidays made me feel like the world’s biggest Scrooge. But…I had a choice to make: Either I could be a victim of the season or I could kick holiday butt. Instead of being defeated by my new status as a single gal, here’s how the latter option worked out for me:
I had a schedule. This is very important. If you don’t have a schedule, you can get caught up in woe-is-me time. My family celebrates on Christmas Eve. My first Christmas alone, I had the ENTIRE day on Christmas all to myself. Something that I really wasn’t looking forward to. After all, I couldn’t stroll the aisles of the book store for a couple hours just to get my mind off things. I couldn’t order in my favorite Chinese food or even do a Taco Bell run. Unless I wanted to hang at my neighborhood Walgreen’s (which IS open 365 days a year and would be sign of true desperation), I would have to be home…by myself…for hours…and hours…and hours. I made up my mind that I would try to make it as fun as I could and do everything that I loved.
Several days before Christmas, I chose a recipe that I’d been meaning to try and shopped for all the groceries needed to make it. I also bought myself a couple cool gifts that I really wanted and wrapped them. Yes, you read it right. I WRAPPED MY OWN PRESENTS. I am not ashamed to say that even if you think I’m a little crazy because I had the best time opening them up on Christmas morning. No joke. Afterwards, I made myself some Pillsbury cinnamon rolls. Easy enough. I lounged about, took a nice long bath and gave myself a manicure. I also watched “A Christmas Story” and “Grumpier Old Men” a couple times a piece. Around 6 p.m., I opened a bottle of wine and sipped it as I made myself a fabulous pasta dinner. It was a bit strange to sit down to a table alone (as my young daughter was with her father) but I did it. Then I relaxed some more and read the book that I gave myself. As I snuggled into bed that night and reflected on the day that I had been dreading, I thought to myself, “Wow. It wasn’t that bad.”
I’m convinced that having a plan and scheduling my day and being prepared really saved me. That’s what I want for you. Your holiday to-do list looks like this, my Dear:
1. Chose your activities for the day. Whether you’ve got a few hours alone or a few days, what would make you feel great? Or at least good? Do that. Figure out your morning, afternoon and evening and stick to it.
2. Prepare yourself. In other words, if you need groceries to make something delicious, go get ‘em! If you need some sensational gifts under your tree, get shopping! Also, be generous with yourself and get things you normally would never consider ~ splurge a little!
3. Relax and enjoy! Even if you have some moments of sadness creep up, allow them to be there. Give yourself a break because it’s totally natural. However, don’t let them be the boss of you. Say to yourself, “Okay. I’ll have this feeling for 5 minutes and then your time is up!” Then have your time and let it go and get back to the business of cherishing you.
My hope for you is that this holiday season is an opportunity to be gentle with yourself and boost your confidence by spending time alone and doing it with style! Do it for you.
Happy Holidays, Gorgeous! Now go kick some holiday butt!
It sounds kind of hard at first, doesn’t it? I mean who wants to be grateful during a breakup? How DO you get over a divorce breakup and be appreciative all at the same time? It can be done. It will brighten your day and you deserve a brighter day, right, Dearie?
Here’s a few easy steps to take:
1. Be thankful that you’re no longer in the relationship. You might be thinking ~ What? My heart is broken. I’m NOT thankful for that. You’re crazy! I get it. However, if you think about it for a moment, even if you miss him, there are definitely things about him and maybe some of his annoying habits that you’re grateful you won’t ever have to endure again. Piles of dirty clothes on the bedroom floor? Never again. Chewing with his mouth open? Huh-uh. Never again. Whatever it happens to be, there ARE some things that you WON’T miss.
2. Be thankful for something you’ve learned from the relationship. Maybe you’ve learned that you’re a lot stronger than you thought you were. Maybe you’ve learned that you want to be with someone with certain personality traits that your ex didn’t have. Is there a new hobby you’d like to try? If you look back at the relationship as only a waste of your time, then you’re missing out on the valuable life lessons it has to offer. If what you take from the end of a relationship helps your future, then you didn’t waste a single second of your life.
3. Be thankful for the loving people around you. Typically, we’ve all got a cheering section during a breakup. Sometimes, it’s a few friends that have been with you through thick and thin. Other times, you’ve got a great family connection with lots of support. If you’re lucky, it’s both. Take a moment to think of these awesome people and feel gratitude for their presence in your life. After all, isn’t life a whole lot more fun with them in it?
4. Be thankful for all the “things” you have around you. This step is pretty cool if you allow it to be unlimited. This means you can be thankful for everything from your comfy warm bed to the new boots you just bought that you love to the pretty little bird outside your window that stops by for just a second. Look around for a minute, find things to be grateful for and improve your mood. It’s that simple!
5. Be thankful for your kick-butt self! Yes ~ YOU! Come on…admit it…you’re pretty special. You rock. You’ve got a stunning future ahead of you. You are powerful. We all know you’re beautiful. Take a moment to be grateful for YOU. If you get a chance to peek in the mirror, do some mirror work. Gaze into your eyes and tell yourself ~ I love you! What’s your best feature? Admire it. Own it. Work it! You, my friend, are splendid!
Traci Vincent, a yoga instructor/blogger, writes about appreciation, “These small pulses of gratitude and thankfulness start my day off in a positive direction. The more I’ve practiced this throughout the day when I think about it, the more “muscle” I’ve built in my positive mind. This has thereby increased my reserve of positive emotions and helped me become more resistant to negative emotions.”
Having a thankful heart while getting over a breakup is a perfect way to take stock of all the good in your life. Sometimes, it’s easy to overlook this good when heartbreak takes over. This Thanksgiving, set aside some time to revel in appreciation!
I am grateful that you have taken the time to read this blog post. It is truly a blessing to be able to pass on information and knowledge that I have discovered along my journey. Happy Thanksgiving and many blessings to you and your loved ones.
Do you take any time out of the day for you?
How do you get refreshed and renewed?
If the answers to the above questions are “Kinda” and “I don’t know,” then would you like to add some more into your life? Let’s do it!
You can get started RIGHT NOW! You could even do it EVERY DAY! It’s easy and doesn’t take much time and it feels awesome!
1. Plan it. Sometimes, life is so busy and chaotic that you really need to make an appointment with yourself FOR yourself. Whatever you use for your time management system, each morning, decide WHEN you’re going to take some time out of your day for you. Notice I didn’t use the word “if” there ~ it’s nonnegotiable and it feels good to write it in and stick with it. Also, in my case, I know that I like to take an overnight trip alone about once every three months. I look forward to it. I plan for it and it’s amazing.
2. Make a list of go-to activities for this special time. What makes you feel good? It’s as easy as that. Is it grabbing a frou-frou coffee drink or meditating or getting outdoors or journaling or doing a quick 15-minute yoga session? If you take a minute right now and jot down a few activities that aren’t very time consuming but that you really enjoy, you’ve got options for your time. Now, no matter where you are in your day or what kind of day you’ve had, you know that you’ve got some “smile” time planned.
3. Allow yourself to be truly present for your time. We’ve all got busy lives. We’re typically brilliant multi-taskers. However, this is about quieting yourself to focus on what you’re doing and how it makes you feel. You may need to take a minute or two just to do some deep breathing exercises first to begin to relax and let yourself enjoy your time. You’ll get the most out of it if you let yourself relish it and just “be” in that moment.
It’s a true gift to you ~ taking time out of your day, week or month to refuel your soul. You deserve it. Let yourself enjoy it.
Sometimes, we walk down the “I should be doing this or that” path. We feel guilty for taking time for ourselves. I’m telling you right now that when I take care of me ~ I’m a better me ~ first of all ~ but I’m also a happier wife, a more patient mom & stepmom and I feel lighter and more energetic all around. Taking care of you is truly a gift not only to yourself but to those around you too.
So why not try it? Make an appointment with yourself today or tomorrow for some extra you time! You won’t regret it, Gorgeous!
What does self-reliance during a breakup mean?
Why do the words “self” and “reliance” seem difficult to swallow right now?
Probably because the idea of turning inward for solace rather than outward seems nearly unbearable, right? It feels good to talk it over with someone that cares about you; doesn’t it? I hate to admit this but I know that I was a big pain-in-the-you-know-where to some of my friends and family members when I would go through a breakup. I didn’t mean to be. I didn’t “want” to be. It just so happened that I was. Sometimes, do you wish you could rely a little bit more on yourself than others? It can come in handy, say, in the middle of the night when you’re feeling really sad. Or when the radio plays “your song.” Actually, I’m sure that there are many opportunities during the course of any given day where helping yourself through the breakup would feel really good. Also, last time I checked, YOU are available at all times.
So what does that look like? How does it feel? Let’s dive in and find out.
1. Talk yourself through it. If you’re alone, I suggest doing this out loud. If people nearby are going to think you’re a nut case, by all means have the conversation internally or in a journal or piece of paper. You can ask yourself questions like:
- What could I do right this very moment to make myself feel better?
- In the BIG picture, how important is this? Be honest! I know that I “occasionally” made an earth-shattering occurrence out of something really quite frivolous. It’s hard to admit that now…so I’ll move on.
- Does this really deserve my energy right now? Is it something I need to address immediately? If it’s not (which it probably isn’t), then make a choice to turn your all-important attention elsewhere.
2. Slowly start to limit your calls/emails to others. I understand this can be difficult at first. It’s okay to take baby steps. I am in no way implying that you shouldn’t have conversations with supportive people in your life. You absolutely should. However, if you’re contacting a few treasured folks multiple times a day perhaps try to shave off one call during that day. That’s it. Pretty easy, right? As you begin to feel more mighty, you can pare the contact down as you see fit. It boosts your confidence as I explain below.
3. Choose an activity that refocuses your attention. At some point, make a list of things you like to do. You could make two lists ~ one for work and one for home. It ought to be something really simple and easy to do but fun just the same ~ something that makes you smile and feels good. Maybe it’s playing a game with your kids or giving yourself a manicure or reading your favorite book. Then when you’re struggling, you whip out your list, wherever you happen to be and choose one of the ideas on your list to do right NOW…and then do it.
So…what are some of the benefits of self-reliance?
First of all, if you rely more on YOU, you get to rely less on others. Sometimes, I felt like I could actually hear my friend’s eyes rolling as we chatted about my saga for the THIRD time that day. It wasn’t her fault at all. I would call her at the drop of a hat…whenever I had an emotion to share…or another reason why he was a cad…or whatever minute detail occurred to me about him as I went through the day. Then I’d hash it out with her…and rehash it…and then rehash the topics of our first two calls that day. Gees, no wonder she was rolling her eyes! Just thinking about it now makes me roll mine. Do you have a friend or sister/mother/aunt like this? They’re your go-to person. If they’re not accessible at the very moment you need them, you fret until they call you back. Or you move on to no. 2 on your list of buddies and so on and so on and so on. If you don’t mind me saying, this is a pretty sucky cycle. Wouldn’t it feel better if YOU felt your emotions and then comforted yourself through them?
Secondly, you may be surprised by a new confidence that starts creeping up inside you. It feels good to triumph through some momentary anguish, come out on top and give yourself a high 5 for doing it alone. Yep. Just you. You can do it. Each time, you’ll feel a little stronger and stronger and stronger. It’s a beautiful thing. No one can take it from you, either. You earned it and you get to keep it, Gorgeous!
Relying on YOU during a breakup is a way to be gentle and loving towards yourself. It means that no matter what happens during your day ~ you KNOW that you can and will maintain your sassiness ~ no question about it!