It's been 7 years since my divorce. Seven is a significant number, in almost all religions and in the bible. It's always been my favorite number also. I was even born on the 7th of the month. Did you know that every 7 years our body has actually completely replaced itself? Yep. Our cells renew themselves, so technically every 7 years we become new people. I know I have, inside and out.
I'm not going to tell you that it's easy to renew. My body may know how to do it, without what feels like effort, but my emotions and my mind weren't tuned in. They didn't hear the call to stand up and march on. They just sat there, stuck and frozen until they had no choice but to figure it out. I was never one to take the easy road, so, for me, my marching orders became my divorce. It leveled me. It destroyed me in all areas. I was left to die and there were days I wanted to. Days I prayed God would just take me. Fortunately he had better plans. He always does.
Little did I know he had me on a wild and wacky forgiveness journey. One that would lead me out of the depths of darkness into areas full of light. That's what forgiveness brings you - peace, joy and freedom.
So many people believe if you forgive someone, it lets them off the hook, or it condones their behavior. It doesn't. Consequences occur for every action we take, and we can't always see the results. It's not our job to dish them out, and it's definitely not our job to hold them prisoner while we wait. If you stand guard over them, you are just as imprisoned. Forgiveness isn't about them. Forgiveness is always about you.
If you want to forgive and let go and move on, the first step is easy. Make the choice. It's not going to happen overnight. You are going to have to make this choice on a daily basis. It's easy to let the thoughts and bitterness creep back in and become the object of your focus. Just remember - whatever you focus on grows. If you focus on the past, and their wrong doings, rehashing and keeping guard, you keep yourself stuck. If you focus on forgiveness and seek compassion, the thoughts will begin to settle. When they revisit, and they will, just sit with them briefly and then send them back off. They just want to be seen, but you don't have to invite them to stay. That's your choice.
From day one, I always wanted to forgive. I knew it was necessary and I didn't want to let bitterness set in my heart. While I was in the midst of it, I found myself able to forgive past grievances, but when a new blow came, I was back in the muck. When my kids were hurt, I really struggled to forgive. It was always easier to forgive what was done to me, then what was done to them. The journey was long and painful, but I pulled an awful lot of deep roots along the way. I learned that the things that hurt me so bad were often reflections of my own ugliness. Reflections I didn't want to face or admit I was capable of. Reflections I had been hiding from.
If you want to forgive someone, start today. Just make the choice. Ask for help if you can't even begin to know what that looks like. Make the choice over and over and over. Just like choosing to love someone, or choosing happiness, forgiveness is also a choice. It's a choice you will never regret making.
Angela Miller is an RN and Professional Life Coach passionately pursuing her purpose to help others remember who they are and how to become their best self, emotionally and physically. For more information, visit www.soaringforward.com.