If there isn't another person involved--say it's a natural disaster, accident, or a pandemic--then it's forgiving God, the Divine, the Universe, Life that what happened is okay. True forgiveness is not about the other person or the event. It's about setting ourselves free from the event that happened. It's self-forgiveness for everything you perceive that you've done wrong because of the trauma, because you have done nothing wrong. You have done the best you could under the circumstances you were given. You may think you will suffer less by enlisting the loyalty of friends and family to the detriment of your ex. But the relief is only temporary. Action/reaction kicks in almost immediately and gives you exactly what you meted out: those trying to blame you for all the pain in their lives. To be a wise parent in the process of divorce is to include your children in as many discussions as possible. If they aren't included, their imagination takes over. Inclusion does not mean telling your children all the personal problems you had with your ex; Unless your children have some kind of understanding regarding the breakup, they take the blame upon themselves. Give them the tools they need for coping. Respect their curiosity and answer their questions as appropriately as possible depending on their age. If you don't blame your ex for the divorce, the children won't be forced to take sides. For example, what happens when you try to cook a complicated meal or travel internationally? Or when you're driving together and your car breaks down in the middle of the road? What do you do when you're each invited to a different wedding on the same weekend? How do you react when you're stuck deciding between two equally good (or equally bad) options? Dan Ariely offers something called the canoe test.

Share a canoe. Yes, an actual canoe. Can you find a rhythm together? Is one of you comfortable leading and the other following, or do you both want to be in charge at all times? Most important, how much do you blame your partner when things go awry? Forgiveness is about letting go of your self-judgments, self-criticism, and self-hatred. The thoughts, feelings, and emotions that have ruled your life until this moment are no longer important. What matters is your capacity to forgive yourself, so that you can love yourself. To be clear, forgiveness is not reconciliation with a perpetrator. The only way you reconcile with someone is if you consider it a valuable relationship. But there has to be some sort of contrition shown by the perpetrator, and they need to have demonstrated they are safe to be around. Some people want their perpetrator to acknowledge what they did and to take responsibility for the harm they caused. But as psychologist Margaret Paul, Ph. We have no control over whether somebody ever acknowledges that they were abusive. To focus on getting the abuser to take responsibility and admit it is to keep you stuck in the past. That frees them up to ask what they really want to know. Is it my fault, and do you still love me? If you see yourself as the wronged party, you probably think you deserve your children's loyalty. If you push for this response, you encourage them to feel guilty because, most likely, they want the love of both parents. More importantly, children don't believe in loss.

If you are the one who forces them to experience it, they won't love you for it. After the divorce is settled and you are dating again, what kind of relationship do you hope to create? Don't you want a partner who is caring? Don't you want a partner who is compassionate? Don't you want a partner who is kind and respectful? Pay attention to how you literally navigate choppy water together as a team. LEAVING THE PROM DATE AT THE PROM As you've seen, the things that matter less than we think for long-term relationship success tend to be superficial traits that are easy to discern when you first meet someone. And the things that matter more usually reveal themselves only when you're in a relationship or have gone on at least a few dates. That's why you have to intentionally shift your approach in order to focus on what really matters. Making that shift is hard. I know because I did it. A long time ago, on a Saturday night about four months after Burning Man, I texted Brian to see what he was doing that night. I'm going to Bootie, he texted back, referring to a local dance party where DJs dress up as robots or pirates and drag queens vogue onstage. I wanted to join him but he didn't invite me. It's also very rare for a perpetrator to acknowledge what they've done. With a child who has been traumatized by parents, the parents have so much dissociation they don't even know they did it, or if they know, they have so much shame there's no way they're going to admit they did it, Dr Paul continued. So, while it would be greatly healing if someone who abused you said, I'm sorry' and they take responsibility, it's really rare for that to happen. Instead, as we work toward compassion and forgiveness for ourselves, it opens the door to forgive our perpetrators. Not for what they did, but for their own imperfections, struggles, and pain.

As your self-forgiveness grows, you see that the person who abused you was coming from their own deep level of trauma and woundedness. Dr Paul explained it like this: People who abuse, they don't know what love is. They don't know what compassion is. They're deeply abandoning themselves. They're projecting all their self-loathing onto their child or others. If you don't offer these qualities to the people you already know, how can you attract them back? You attract people who go through life with the same attitude you have. If you want responsible people in your life, take responsibility for the role you played in the breakup. Then you find your mirror in those you face. The best motivation you have for letting go of anger is the love you feel for your children. You want them to heal quickly. You want them to be tolerant, merciful human beings. You want them to know that hardships can be handled. Divorce is an opportunity to show them how it is done. If you are newly divorced, you may feel insecure. My counteroffer: dinner, on me, beforehand. I figured that if I could remind him how much fun we had dancing in the desert, he'd ask me to join him. After dinner I talked my way into joining his friends' pregame. Several drinks deep, I insisted on accompanying them to Bootie. We stood outside as his friends entered the club.

I was freezing, in a short leather skirt with a silk tank top tucked in (I'd chosen this outfit hoping to score an invite, and without considering San Francisco's notoriously cold summer nights). I shifted my weight back and forth on my wobbling heels. He put his hands on my bare shoulders and looked me in the eyes. Please don't follow me in. I want to go out with my friends and meet girls. Eventually, we get to understand that and to see that they were just coming from their own deep woundedness. We don't forget, we don't condone, but it does mean that we're no longer blaming. We're no longer feeling like victims of whatever happened to us. And as we reach this place, we begin to soften toward others and their experiences being human, and that includes some of the people we have blamed for hurting us or who were responsible for the experience we endured. Sometimes it happens organically as you go through therapies. That's the case for many of Dr Julie Brown Yau's patients. Rarely do they talk about forgiveness, but it naturally arises as they experience more compassion for themselves and this human journey that they're on. Other times, the trauma experts we spoke to use practices to help their patients open that door. We're sharing some of the most profoundly moving ones here. As children, we experience a lot that we don't have the ability to process and understand. You may feel compelled to reaffirm your worthiness; Find your worthiness by reaffirming the worthiness of your ex. If you find compassion instead of judgment, you meet compassion in the hearts of others. This is the example your children need; And why not since this is what you hope to receive from others?