When a relationship ends, the hardest person to forgive is usually yourself. The faster you realize that, the faster you will be able to move on. I learn this over and over again when I spend time listening to women talk about their former relationships. Recently, I spent four hours with 12 women in Portland, Oregon -- for a Choosing ME before WE Book Club Chat. I anticipated that it would be an afternoon well spent, what I got was so much more. Of course there was wine, cheese, and conversation... but there was also laughter, tears and healing. I knew we would laugh and share stories, that is what we do when we get together as women, right? But what struck me most, what always strikes me most when I sit with a group of women, is the deep healing that can come when two or more of us get together and just witness each others truth. We didn't have to solve each others problems, we didn't have to figure anything out, we just had to sit there and listen, through the tears and the honest to goodness, damn-straight truth, and give witness to this and this woman's story, who of course was so similar to my own. Our stories are really not so different - different men, women and details, but the underpining storyline - same. Although we talked about so much that day, the one thing that really struck my heart was the story of "I did something that hurt ... and I need to forgive myself" that I heard over and over again - different details, same story. And it reminded me of how many times I have faced that myself... and how the only way through it was through it, with love for myself. ME LOVE MESSAGE TO SELF: I FORGIVE YOU! There is no one it is harder for us to forgive than ourselves. I know for me, it took me only a year to forgive my ex-person - who was a real jerk to me -- and it took me 5 years to forgive myself. 5 years to forgive ME for putting myself in an emotionally and verbally abusive relationship, for compromising what I really wanted to keep him in my life, for passing up great opportunities for fear of losing him, for begging this man to love me, for loving a man even after he spit in my face, for lying to myself about the truth of our relationship. When I heard these same stories - different details - in Portland, it reminded me how important it is for every woman to be aware that when she doesn't forgive herself, she carries around a whole lot of unnecessary, and frickin' heavy pain. And when she does utter those words and means them, -- especially when it's in front of other women -- "I forgive ME!" WHEW!! What a load is lifted and WOW! how much more free she is! Forgiving ME is a process, unfortunately there is no magic pill, although I think some of us have tried that route. I really believe that it starts with just plain admiting that we have something to forgive ourselves for. Admitting that we are mad at ME, that we let ourselves down, that we f**ed up, that we put ourselves in a bad situation... we just literally need to throw up those words, expel them from our being, so that we can feel the pain that's there and let it go... so that finally we can be clean and clear to have the space inside of us to love ourselves to the other side. So I guess in a way there is a magic pill - self-love. And there is a magic pathway -- doing it with other women as witnesses, because every time we show our pain, let it go and let the love in, we do the same for the women watching. One book that really helped me was little book called The Way to Love by Anthony DeMello. That book saved my life. Check it out... http://tinyurl.com/mstpdt And another that I found years later that has great stuff is Radical Forgiveness by Colin Tipping.
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