Q: How do I find the strength to forgive my ex when my heart is torn, hurting and bleeding

The fact that you have decided to ask this question shows your willingness to rise above the hurt and get over your ex, which is a very mature step. It is good, you have acknowledged the hurt and pain in your heart and it is alright to feel that way. Frankly, it is difficult to move on from this kind of hurt given that this is a person whom you trusted and loved and you never thought he/she will hurt you. However justified your feelings are, it is unhealthy to remain in that state/condition of anger and forgiveness.  No matter how difficult and frustrating this may be, forgiveness is achievable when small intentional steps are made to get over your past. Feelings of hurt and resentment can only remain in your heart if you allow them to. You might say, ‘you do not understand how deeply hurt I am and how hard it is to move on or get over it’. These are merely excuses that hinder us from forgiveness. As human beings we may not have control of the different types of feelings (of hurt, anger, hatred, resentment) that enter our hearts but certainly, we have the authority and control within ourselves to choose what we do about these feelings, it is our responsibility as individuals to determine the outcome.

The first step towards forgiveness is deciding to forgive. This does not happen overnight and forgiveness does not mean condoning what your ex did to you or even refusing to fight against his/her wrong doing. Instead, it is aimed at releasing/ letting go of your own negative feelings towards the individual or circumstance and that also includes forgiving yourself if need be. Understanding forgiveness will help you decided to forgive, forgiveness is genuinely for you and not for the other person or the offender. As mentioned earlier it is not easy but very achievable and liberating. In fact it may not happen right away, but slowly and surely, by choosing to forgive each day, you can let go of resentment, let go of judgement, and simply be at peace with what is. Forgiveness is definitely a decision that you have to consciously make every day until you feel a sense of peace in your heart because these unproductive negative feelings will fight to stay. In that case, you should be merciful and kind to yourself on days that you may blame yourself, feel upset, depressed, confused, lost, hatred or anger; take each day one step at a time. You want to choose what is best for your well-being. Do not be ruled by the hurt, by allowing it to dictate your future. Your past is done and gone, it is not as powerful as you think, it has got nothing on you and has absolutely no control over you unless you give it control. You cannot change what has transpired but you can change what you do about it.

Most of the time our past does not keep us from our best or future but rather the memories/remembrance of the past that do so, therefore, generating feelings of hurt, guilt, shame, or condemnation that keeps us stuck. For instance, whatever your ex did or said may keep replaying over and over mentally and emotionally and as a result you relive that hurt, this repetition is guaranteed to keep you in bondage and in self-pity which is destructive. This is one of the reasons people find it hard to forgive. Therefore, it is wise to get rid of anything that reminds you of your ex as this keeps you attached and the memories intact, which you do not want. Take time to find yourself again by focusing your energy on your future, passion, dreams and goals. In saying that, every individual handles feelings of hurt differently. Some people tend to suppress and hold onto resentment, refusing to forgive which is a terrible thing to do. Suppression keeps the feelings and memories intact and you stay trapped or in the dark for a lifetime, instead of dealing with reality. There is a popular quote on forgiveness, which says, “Holding onto resentment is like drinking poison, and waiting for the other person to die”. There is nothing wrong with holding a person responsible for their offense but not forgiving them by holding onto hurt or resentment is practically holding yourself prisoner when you refuse to let go, which dis-empowers you. Another way to help you find strength and take steps to forgive is by asking yourself:

  • Would I rather hold onto this and feel pain, or would I rather just let it go and be free?
  • Is this really worth losing my inner peace over, or would I rather just let it go?
  • Why am I able to forgive this person?
  • Why am I able to forgive even more now?
  • Do I want this thing to enslave me with resentment and anger, or do I want the power to choose my own experience to be free?
  • If I could forgive, would I?
  • Can I let go of needing to be right?

If you are a person who prays, prayer is the most powerful tool one can use to get out of anything. God is always present and willing to carry our burdens or struggles during hard times. We are all sinners as human beings, no one is perfect and no one is spotless here on earth. Due to this reason, Jesus died on the cross for our sins 2000 years ago and earned our forgiven, so that we can rest in HIM. However, this does not mean that we should take for granted what has already been provided for us by continuing to sin, but people still sin because it is human nature that we constantly fight against; our own flesh. As stated above we are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God, yourself, your ex and everyone else here on earth. Therefore, God looks at our hearts and motives and not our actions because most times when people sin it is unintentional and not malicious. As shown above despite our sins and wrong doing God loves us so much and wants to forgive us and see us happy and free. As a result, we cannot afford not to forgive others. The fact that God unconditionally loves and forgives us despite our sins, he expects us to do the same when we are wronged or offended by others. It could be a family member, your friends and in your case your ex. You cannot expect God to forgive you, if you refuse to forgive others, neither can you expect to experience freedom nor be set free without forgiving people that have hurt you.

 There is a reason God wants us to forgive because unfortunately, as you would know by now the product of unforgiveness is bitterness, anger, hatred, resentment, unhappiness among other things such as fear, self-pity, trust issues and low self-esteem. God knows how unhealthy, crippling and destructive this can be if not addressed or dealt with and He wants you to be free for good. Know that, God cannot ask us to do something that he hasn’t already provided a way out. We have forgiveness in us because we have Jesus Christ living in us especially when you ask Christ in your Life. We can do all things through Christ who gives us the strength. Jesus Christ is your strength towards forgiveness, rest in HIM by simply asking God to help you forgive. God has given you the power and authority to make the right decision now to move on from your past memories and hurt and the right thing to do is choosing forgiveness. You are much stronger than you think to overcome this. Take a bold step and choose to let go because you are made for more. It is time for a new beginning and at the end of the day it is up to you to decide.

Important Contacts For Support In Australia:

Relationships Australia: 1300364277 Web:http://www.relationships.org.au/

Kids Help Line 1800 551800 Tollfree number Web: http://www.kidshelpline.com.au

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