It hit me like a slap in the face. After a good whining session, my third lawyer said, ”Well, you picked him.” Gasp! I was shattered by the insensitivity that came out of his mouth. How dare he blame me for my ex’s bad behavior! Feeling victimized all over again, I left the office deflated and feeling powerless. I thought to myself, “Will no one stick up for me?” It was a hard road but I finally understood how forgiveness could set me free.
The Bible says to forgive. Spiritual leaders for thousands of years teach that the way to Nirvana is through forgiveness. It took me a while, but I finally found the reason why I had to do it as well. The only reason I’m here today is that my love for my freedom was greater than my love to be right. To find my freedom, I had to learn to forgive.
This isn’t your ordinary every day; someone forgot to hold the door open for you, kind of forgiveness. This type of forgiveness challenges you to go deep into the place you fear the most – the memories, the conscious awareness, the truth.
YOUR PERCEPTION IS YOUR REALITY
We live in a world divided in our minds. There is the truth – our truth, our knowing of what is true to us on the deepest level. The voice that says, “No, it’s not right that they are dismissing me.” “My feelings are valid and not wrong.” This is our truth, and it doesn’t always match what our life experience is showing us.
We may be feeling our truth and then get into a conflict with our partner. They might present a different viewpoint, and then your truth becomes distorted – a perception. For example, continuing with the earlier truth, your partner may feel that your interpretation of an event is not the same as their truth and then they say that you are “wrong” – that your feelings don’t matter or are incorrect.
To keep the peace and avoid conflict, you decide to agree with them. This is your decision based on your perception of this situation. You decide that you should compromise your truth. Over time, you feel this is unfair. And then you become the victim based on this new perception. This perception is your new story about yourself.
This is what we do in a codependent type of relationship. Our concern for the other’s happiness is linked to our happiness. When there is no division, then we are codependent. In this type of relationship, there is no freedom and rarely happiness because we are a slave to our partners’ feelings. This is a type of entanglement or contract that creates a fog of what is the truth.
And this is our choice. To be free, we must do the work to forgive and let it go.
TIME TO LET GO
This type of forgiveness requires you to let go of your story.
I had a story that no one would stick up for me or defend me. But years later, when I dismantled that story, I understood the real weight of my lawyer’s words.
I came to understand that I did pick him. I was responsible for how he treated me. I was responsible for my part in how the marriage ended up.
We hold on with our dear lives to our stories. Our stories that we’ve made up about ourselves is what has kept us defined. On some level, our story has kept us safe. Our story says; it was the other person who did harm, not you. It says, you don’t have to do anything here, just point your finger- it’s all on them. This is our victim story.
Our story about ourselves is made up of everything anyone has said about us, from our parents, family, teachers, employers. These stories create our perceptions of who we are – our behaviors and the external, superficial qualities that people see from the outside.
Our teachers may have said we were introverted or outgoing or an average student. Our parents have defined us as the pretty one or trouble maker. And our spouse might have labeled us demanding, a big spender, or always wanting more than they could give.
The experience of divorce or break up falls under the same perceptions. Right now, you are thinking to yourself, “my horrible breakup was a thing and not my imagination.” “my ex did mistreat me, and that is not a perception.”
You are correct that your experience was real and you did go through it. The truth is underneath this experience. It’s why you picked your partner in the first place and the lesson you are meant to learn.
FREEDOM THROUGH FORGIVENESS
Our stories create a distortion of what is actually happening. The other (or partner) has a different perception of what happened and why it happened that doesn’t match our perception. That’s the distortion of it.
And the truth is that you also picked your partner to teach you some fundamental lessons about your life. So where does the forgiveness come into this scenario?
It comes in right now. When you take full responsibility for the understanding that you picked everyone in your life to assume a role in your story, for the “soul purpose” of helping you learn, grow and evolve, then you have taken the first step to forgiveness.
The second step is to forgive yourself for creating the distortion around the event. By understanding that your ex was picked by you to help you with this lesson (you decide what it is), then you no longer become the victim but the director.
“We can either transform our consciousness as a matter of will, or we can wait for a disaster or a life-threatening illness to make us do it.” Colin Tipping – Radical Forgiveness
When you forgive and thank your ex for taking on the role; for putting themselves in compromise, anguish and sadness for your sake; When you drop the idea that you have to be right; When you finally forgive yourself for creating your own hell, for believing that story of your victimhood; When you finally release the need to hold onto the past stories that limit you.
And when you finally accept that you are a loving, generous, creative being who can safely release all stories created by the past, then you can become truly free to live your life as you want.