When my sister threw my new iPhone across the room, shattering the screen, I was overcome by many different emotions – anger, sadness, disbelief, and confusion. Then, all of a sudden, the truth sunk in and hit me in the face: I was extremely angry. My sister had destroyed my phone! How could I ever forgive her for doing such a terrible thing?
When my parents decided to get divorced, I experienced very similar emotions and a similar reaction. When I was 11 years old, my father officially moved out. My dad was seeing another woman while he was married to my mom and, as a result, my parents separated from each other. When I was called down to our kitchen that evening with my younger sister and brother and my parents announced their decision, I felt the same emotions I felt when my sister shattered my iPhone screen, only worse.
At first, I felt disbelief. There was no way my parents could be getting divorced. They have known each other since they were teenagers and have been married for almost 17 years! I told myself this is just another one of their stupid fights. None of it is real. It is like those other fights they have when I stand in the doorway of my room and shout across the hall at their room, “Why don’t you just get divorced already?!” It never actually happens, so it cannot possibly be happening right now. The difference was, this time I was not the one telling them. They were telling me.
I felt utterly and completely confused. Is this even real? How could this happen? Is this my fault? Why did this happen? Why did this happen to me? My mind swirled with so many different questions, and the only thing I could do to settle my mind was to try and answer them myself. After being told that it was not my fault, the only answer that I could think of was that it was my dad’s girlfriend’s fault. She is the reason why this is happening. She is the reason why my parents are getting divorced. She is the reason for the pain I am feeling right now.
Suddenly I became angry, angry with her. This is all her fault! Why did she do this? Why did she have to choose my father over every other man in the world? Why did she choose a married man? I could never forgive her.
I instantly became upset and cried uncontrollably, with only my bed to comfort me. Telling my parents to get divorced is a whole lot different than when it actually happens. When I told them to get divorced, I was not actually experiencing the pain that comes after when your parents actually separate.
At that moment the truth hit me. When parents get divorced, life for their children is never the same. I knew that we would no longer do things together as a family ever again. That is probably what uncomforted me the most. And I blamed my dad’s girlfriend for all of it. She ruined my life.
When my sister threw my phone, I at first felt disbelief. It could not possibly be my phone that shattered. I have never shattered my phone screen before, and it could not be happening right now. It could not possibly have happened that quickly. Then I felt confused. How could this happen? Why did this happen? Then I suddenly became angry. This was all her fault! Because of my sister, my new phone was now broken!
I was upset. My phone was not the same as it was when I woke up this morning. Now it had ugly cracks covering the entire screen, and whenever I went to use my phone I was only reminded of what my sister did. I could never forgive her.
Then I had an epiphany. Being angry at my sister was not making me feel any better, and being upset about having a broken phone was not going to solve my problem. I am easily able to solve this problem – I can go to the Apple Store and have the screen replaced with a nice new screen that does not have even a scratch.
Although I am unable to solve the problem of my parents’ divorce, and will never be able to get them back together, there is no point in staying angry with my dad’s girlfriend. Like my sister, she also is guilty of doing something wrong. But what is the point of staying angry with her when it is not going to solve anything?
It has been three years since my parents first decided to get divorced, and I have been nothing but angry with her. I have refused to accept her relationship with my dad and have gone out of my way to treat her with disrespect. I have kept at this behavior for so long, and was getting nothing out of it except for feeling bad about the way I had behaved. I realized that there is no point in wasting the energy being angry at her and going out of my way to treat her differently than I would treat any other person. I forgave my sister, so why could I not move past what had happened with my dad’s girlfriend?
I decided that I am done being angry with my dad’s girlfriend for what she did. I was not getting any benefit, and it was not worth wasting my energy. I decided that it was finally time to move past what had happened and accept her importance in my father’s life, and move on with my life. That does not mean I will ever forget what she did, only forgive.
I realized that it is not beneficial to live in the past and hold everlasting grudges against people. Holding grudges does not make anybody feel better, especially the person holding them. When holding a grudge, you waste a lot of energy focusing on the negative aspects of life and not the positives.
It is much easier to forgive other people for the mistakes they have made because, truthfully, everybody makes mistakes. Even though it may be difficult to forgive a person after he or she does something terrible, it is more beneficial to focus on the positives rather than the negatives. And everybody has positives, even my dad’s girlfriend. It is only a matter of seeing them between the cracks.
Are you able to forgive?
- The F-Word: Four Things Forgiveness Isn’t
- How To Choose Forgiveness
- Forgiveness: An Attribute Of The Strong
- Can You Forgive? Can You be Forgiven?