Some thoughts on forgiveness

When I attended the course this topic was a tricky one.  The single most important thing in letting go of the emotional damage is forgiveness – so Erik tells us in his book and on the course. It stops us being tied to the past, it gives us hope for the future.

My ex-husband and I generally get on fairly well.  However Co-parenting isn’t always easy and you certainly have to navigate some tricky issues from time to time.  I discovered this yet again only the other day and we’ve been divorced a long time now.  Our communication by text message didn’t work in this instance and I realised we needed to chat through what he was looking for. I needed to get alongside him, see things from his perspective, listen, reflect what I’d heard and try and meet in the middle.  I needed to put into action all the skills I’d learnt on the course.

At the time I found my mind drawing to the surface previous hurts and frustrations and I actually found myself assuming the worst.  I had to dig deep, take a deep breath and sort out the facts from the feelings and communicate effectively.  I also had to once more let go of some past hurts.  It’s no mean feat! But with the freedom that created, I did make better choices and my children win because of this.

Forgiveness is a misunderstood concept though, it isn’t condoning the bad behaviour, or denying what happened, it isn’t demanding an apology either, or that what they did doesn’t matter, or insisting the other person changes and forgiveness is certainly not weakness.  It is simply choosing to release someone from punishment and ceasing to hold it against them.

Forgiveness allows me to live freely and to not be defined by my past.  My divorce doesn’t have to have the last word; I can choose to be free.

I found Ava Kor’s testimony on radio 4 in April really challenging. She forgave the Nazi Oskar Gronig and she had this to say: “I am not a poor person, I am a victorious human being, who has been able to rise above the pain, forgive the Nazis, not because they deserve it but because I deserve it.” Amazing and inspiring words. And I deserve it too and just listening to her story puts mine into perspective.

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