Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Post-Divorce Forgiveness

I’ve looked at self-forgiveness post-divorce, and other-forgiveness in general. How about forgiving the other party in the divorce? The REACH acronym proposed by Worthington works for the post-divorce situation.

R – Recall the hurt. Whatever the reasons it ended, there was hurt (as if you’ve forgotten). See it, feel it, taste it. Without first grabbing hold, you can’t let go.

E – Empathize with the other person. Try to understand why s/he needed to do what s/he did, why they couldn’t be the person you needed, why you couldn’t make it work together.

A – Altruistically give forgiveness. It’s a gift to be given with no personal gain (though honestly, the research on forgiveness shows that it will feel good and be good for your health).

C – Commit to forgiving publicly. You don’t have to put an ad in the paper, but you do have to make it concrete in some way. Write a forgiveness letter (give it or don’t), journal about it, tell someone.

H – Hold onto forgiveness. As opposed to revenge, anger and hate. Try to practice it. Develop an intention to forgive and act on it. In fact, you may want to start with an intention to forgive, and work from there.

Who knows, some day you might want to write them a gratitude letter. After all, if I didn’t go through yesterday, I wouldn’t be right here today.

Music to forgive by: Taxi, Harry Chapin

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