Happy Monday Prosers! I am so grateful that you have returned to explore another Mara Prose Monday with me. This week, it is on my heart to discuss and share how I have been able to repair irrevocable relationships through forgiveness, healing and love.
I want to be very candid about common relationship issues, and how to overcome them. It is a beautiful place to be when you not only forgive yourself for the past, but when you can forgive others as well. I decided to take my forgiveness one step further and work to repair relationships with friends, family members and even my ex-husband; relationships that were in painful disarray and enveloped in strife. Today, I will use the strained relationship with my ex-husband as our example. I pray my testimony and newfound insights will help others in their own journey to healing and mending relations with others.
Many of you are already familiar with my divorce a few years back from my high school sweetheart. This relationship was in a state of peril, animoisty and strife for the past several years. Recently, our daugher made the comment that if only he and I did not hate each other; I knew right then and there it was time to mend this relationship. I took some time to pray about it because the wounds still ran deep, for not only me but my ex-husband as well. I could not change him, nor could I change all that has happened between us over the past several years. However, I did have the ability to change my responses, my perception and my own actions towards him. The dysfunction needed to come to an end; my daughter needed her parents to be able to work amicably together. In essence, what was at stake was bigger than me and my ex; it was no longer about us or who we once were to each other.
A lot of dysfuntion stems from lack of communication, lack of positive role models and unresolved hurts that we choose to hold onto indefinitely. It is hard letting go – believe me, I know! Yet, it is imperative to learn how to allow self healing to take you to new places. My anger was a mask for grief, and that grief needed to be acknowledged.
So I decided to take the time to seek out all the good that remained between me and my ex-husband. The Past had to become just that – the Past! This was not an overnight process, a week long process nor even a month long process. It was a long, hard process that took a lot of prayer, self reflection, discipline and focus on a singular purpose. Notice I say singular. It was not a process that I expected my ex-husband to participate in, nor did I even approach him with it. I simply made the decision to change myself because I cannot control others, but I CAN control who I am, how I act and how I come across. I decided to teach myself how to better communicate with him, how to diffuse the tension that exists between us and how to understand who the man he is so we can work together for the mutual benefit of both our children. We both needed to come off of the defensive with each other and learn to coexist in a world that we will forever have a connection – our kids. We needed a fresh start; a new understanding, now that we both have moved on and created new lives for ourselves. But if I am completely honest, my renewed spirit no longer wanted to cling to that toxicity. I needed to release all that is, was and has been between us so I could move forward and grow in my purpose and not unnecessarily carry all that into the next relationship.
It is my personal belief that there really is no irrevocable relationship. There are relationships that will never be the same, and some will always have a certain amount of distance incorporated into them, but we can all work to overcome anything. You must decide the approach you want to take going forward and “change your thoughts in order to change your ways” ~ Joyce Meyers. If Joyce Meyers, one of the top evangelist in the world, could forgive her father for the many years of physical, sexual and emotional abuse he made her endure in her youth – I know that we all are capable of improving our relations with one another.
Here is how I have choosen to renew my damaged relationships.
- IT STARTS WITH YOU – maybe it means you are the bigger person, the one to reach out first or the first one to commit to change for the better. No matter how you choose to get to a better place with someone, it is important to remember that you do have the power to rebuild, restore and renew relationships. There will be times where this is not possible, but by it starting with you; you can ensure you do not continue to feed into the negativity nor allow anyone to take you out of your character. Sometimes it is not so much that the relationship is beyond repair, it is simply all about how you respond to it and the boundaries you establish.
- RESOLVING TRIGGERS – hurt often erodes trust, compassion and respect for one another. It can also result in a cyclical blame game that only succeeds in establishing an unhealthy pattern of dysfunction. The majority of triggers are developed from a place of contention and from that point forward, every confrontation is met with animosity, resistance and a power struggle. I, for one, had to dig deep and really self reflect on all my triggers, face them and fight hard to overcome them. I am still a work in progress but I have started to relinquish a lot of my triggers and replace them with healthier responses.
- UNDERSTANDING – it is so important to not only come to an understanding of self, but to also work to understand others as well. People are who they are; you cannot change them but you can certainly change how you respond to them. When you choose to respond with love, respect, and kindness: the universe shifts and difficult relationships become a lot more amicable. It does not mean you have to completely let your guard down, nor is it a sign of weakness to call a truce. It is all about realizing that it is not just about you; that it may in fact fall on you to be the person to reach out and fix it, instead of waiting for others to do it for you.
- THINK IN THE PRESENT ONLY! – the past is just that, THE PAST! Let Go, Let God! Let Go, Let Love! Let Go, Let Healing. Let Go, Let Forgiveness. It is so easy to fall back on the standard response “but they did this to me, they hurt me, they won’t change” – but ask yourself will harboring resentment and continuing to harp on situations from the past change what took place? Does revisiting it over and over again magically rewrite history? Of course not. The only thing that is birthed from all of this is baggage; unecessary baggage. Why not use the past to make a better present and future? Why not learn from those mistakes? Stop reliving the same dramas, stop playing the victim and stop manipulating – but also make sure that you make it clear to others that you will no longer entertain their drama, victim mentality or manipulations either. There is absolutely nothing wrong with establishing healthy boundaries and expectations. Do not keep score and remember that relationships require a lot of experimentation. We will never be perfect and we will never graduate from the lessons life brings. So be kind to yourself, forgive yourself, all while remaining mindful of the fact that everyone else is doing the best they know how to do, just as you are.
I will include a disclaimer – none of this is a sure fix and it may not work for everyone. I have chosen to pursue the path of that is working for me, and this has started a healing process between me and several others. I still have a long way to go in this journey and the road is not easy. There are many times where I want to put someone in their place, treat them with the same disregard they treat me or even hurt them the way they have hurt me. But where will this lead me? What will I accomplish from living in such a way? Not much, outside of continued pain, hopelessness, bitterness and unhappiness. No, 2019 is about balance and release. This is right for me because it feels too good to my soul for it to be any other way. I have a new level of happiness I have never experienced before and I am truly grateful to God for that!
As always, thank you for allowing me to share my experiences with you. Next week, we will discuss how I would like to see feminism redefined in 2019. Until then, be kind, be encouraged and be bold!