Many of you have heard the phrase, “Forgiveness doesn’t mean you condone how you were treated or what has happened.” So the question is, what DOES forgiveness mean, and how do we find it? This episode gives you permission to be patient in your journey to forgiveness, and to understand how focusing on your own healing allows forgiveness to come to you.
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About the Host:
Divorced after many years of marriage, Barb Greenberg founded Rediscovering U, a company that provides education, support, and resources for women transitioning through a divorce and into a new life. She and her company have been recognized for “…creating equality, justice, and self-determination for women…” She is an award-winning author of 3 books, Hope Grew Round Me, After the Ball: A Woman’s Tale of Happily Ever After, and The Seasons of Divorce: Insights for Women in Transition. Her books are available at a special price for you at https://rediscoveringu.com/divorce-sponsors/books/
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Hello, and welcome to rediscovering you where you will find valuable insights, support and education to help you move through the difficult and often painful process of divorce with grace and courage and hope and find the ultimate gift of rediscovering yourself. I'm your host, Mark Greenberg, award winning author and founder of rediscovering you. If I'd had access to a resource like this during my divorce, I would have not felt so isolated, I would have made much better decisions, I still would have breathed for that for so hard for so long. And I wouldn't have eaten so many boxes of macaroni and cheese. When women heal. Families heal, when families heal communities heal. When communities heal, the possibilities are endless. Let's get started.Barb Greenberg:
I'd like to clarify something about forgiveness right away. And I'm sure you've heard this before. So it's just a simple reminder. Forgiveness does not mean you can don't how you were treated, or what has happened. Since that's the case, then the question becomes, what does forgiveness mean? And how can you find it? And I want to share just a few quotes that I love about forgiveness. And you might have heard them as well. Oprah Winfrey says forgiveness is letting go of the hope that the past can be changed. Another one. If you don't eventually forgive, it's like taking poison and expecting the other person to die. Yikes. Right. forgiveness doesn't make you vulnerable. It's forgetting that makes you vulnerable. author Anne Lamott writes that forgiveness means it finally becomes unimportant that you hit back. It makes me giggle. Another one that cracked me up is I recently read the book, brave enough by Cheryl Strayed forgiveness doesn't just sit there like a pretty boy in a bar forgiveness is the old fat guy, you have to haul up the hill. I just I know that just cracks me up. For some reason. A sweet friend of mine told me that what works best for her was to say, I can't forgive this person, please God do it for me. And so there's a lot of help around this when it comes to forgiveness. And these quotes are all great. But still, we can get stuck in our anger and resentment. It's interesting, we just did a talk on anger in episode eight. But I got stuck there a lot because anger can give you an identity. It's like a certain kind of power. You have something to talk about. You can feel self righteous, and it begins to define us sometimes. And if we let it go, Oh my gosh, who are we? Who am I? If that's gone? I've been simmering in it for so long. Who am I now. And I believe there's a difference between wanting to forgive and being ready to forgive. I also believe that forgiveness comes unbidden when we are committed to healing and working on ourselves. When we can focus on ourselves and try to heal, it will come and healing can begin more easily when we don't try to improve the present by wishing wishing we could change the past because rubber dog right. And you may feel there's a social expectation that you have to forgive quickly. That forgiving quickly as a sign of maturity and Inner Inner Strength and a reflection of your character. And that really bothers me it really bothers me. It's not a race. This is not a race. How about allowing yourself to be human and rage and struggle and be confused and be scared and wander for a while as you sort through your history. Now that takes true character. And don't try to forgive before going through all the pieces you need to go through. Otherwise forgiveness can become it's almost like a form of denial. And I have an odd analogy about that. I'm a horse person. I love horses. I've seen horses sometimes it went nuts. Once in a while. They'll come in from a pasture with that like a puncture wound a deep doesn't look like it's much it's a little hole but it's deep. And it's maybe from a lawn nail that was sticking out of a fence or something like that. So it happened to the horse of a friend of mine and she cleaned it off. She brought the horses and she saw there was aBarb Greenberg:
issue that something you know, there was a puncher and something was bleeding a little. So she clipped it off and she wrapped it up and the next morning she went out to the barn to check out on her check on her horse and her horses like had swollen it was hugely slow, swollen, and she would get really scared. She called the vet the vet came out right away and he said ah a wound like this may begin to heal over On the surface, so it looks like a tailing. But it's a deep wound, and it and it begins to fester. And it gets infected, and the injury becomes much worse. So you have to keep the surface of the puncture wound opened and let it heal from the inside out. It's messy, it doesn't always look good and doesn't always smell good. But it's the only way that it can heal. And boy, that really connected for me, because just like our process of finding forgiveness, it's going to be messy, it's going to be hard, it's going to stink, sometimes stinks. But you have to go deep, and start deep for the healing to find the healing and to find forgiveness. So it's not a race. And it's also not about getting over something. That's another phrase that bothered me. I went through a period of time when I just thought that irritated me until I realized it was usually said by people who cared about me and just didn't want to see me in pain anymore. But gain over, it sounded like I was stepping over something on the sidewalk that I didn't want to get on my shoes. And if I did manage to get over it, it still be laid there. And it might step in at the next time I walked by. So I decided that wasn't a good phrase for me. And you'll may prefer a different word than forgiveness. Because I think forgiveness has a lot of judgment around it. Sometimes it has something around it that feels for some of us uncomfortable. Word that was given to me to use it, I thought was wonderful was release you want to release. So I would have days when I'd have the image of like letting go of a string that a balloon was attached to and letting it float away. Sometimes the image was of opening my hands and letting what I was holding crash to the floor and shatter. Sometimes it was more like sand sifting through my fingers. Someone told me for her. It was like she been, you know, those big, giant black garbage bags that you fill up. And she said it felt like her like she was pulling this big bag behind her. And it kept getting bigger and bigger and heavier and heavier. And she just wanted to let go of it to release it. That was a really clear visual for me. So whether you use the word forgiveness, or release or any other word that works for you. Patience is a very important part of this process. A friend told me she shared with a therapist, all that had happened in her marriage and asked how long it was going to take her to recover and forgive during an after divorce. And the therapist paused and she said it looked like she was doing some calculations in her head. And then the therapist gently explained, she said well, with the amount of betrayal involved, you know, I'd say well, approximately 10 years. And my friend said, Oh my gosh, she said I didn't fall off the chair. I didn't panic. Instead, I felt relieved. Because her therapist had just given her permission to take the time she needed to process all that had happened to her. And she didn't mean the intensity of her feelings. Were going to remain at the same level for 10 years. And then they would simply switch off. She meant that slowly and with work, the pain would fade and one day it would be gone. And my friend confessed. She goes it didn't take 10 years. But it just took the pressure off of her, which is very important. Another person I know who also divorced after 33 years of marriage like I did, she asked her wise 80 year old priests. She said Will I ever When will I ever be able to forgive? She was really struggling? And he patted her gently on her arm this wise man. And he replied, You know what, honey? I don't think he used the word honey. But he said, You know what? You might not live long enough. Don't worry about it. Did you just gasp I love this answer. Because again, it took the pressure off. And it shifted the focus