After my relationship ended last year, I fell apart and had to put myself back together.

I look back at those turbulent days with a bittersweet sense of pride, not just because I got through the heartache, but because I was able to find light in the dark by learning some important life lessons.

Growing up, I was a pitiful student as far as academia was concerned, but I’ve always been a passionate student of life.

A Course In Miracles says, “All things are lessons that God would have me learn.”

When something happens to me, I immediately ask myself, “What is this here to teach me?”

I thought I had learned the lessons my breakup came to teach me, yet I was still suffering.

A Course In Miracles says that if you are not at peace, there is something or someone you have not forgiven.

Forgiving someone else

Over the years, the practice of forgiving other people has become a habit for me.

The novelist Leonard Cohen wrote one single sentence that somehow stirs the deepest compassion within me and reminds me to be tender with others—even if they’re not so tender with me—because we are all in this crazy mess together:

We are not mad, we are human, we want to love, and someone must forgive us for the paths we take to love, for the paths are many and dark, and we are ardent and cruel in our journey.

Forgiveness is the most radical and revolutionary thing a human being can do because it is the process by which we relinquish fear and return to ultimate reality: love.

Forgiveness is the most powerful tool we have been given to dismantle the dominant thought system of fear in the world, and this is precisely what each of us was sent to this planet to do: take the air out of the tires of anger, blame, and judgment, and accept love back into our hearts.

After some thinking, I can usually come to an understanding of why someone may have done something hurtful or crazy, and after a little stretching of the heart, I can usually hold them in my mind with compassion.

Forgiving my ex-boyfriend wasn’t my divine assignment in this situation because that was already done. (He’s a great guy, never did anything to hurt me, and I love him unconditionally till this day.)

What, then, did I need to forgive?

The realization that made me cry

Even though after the breakup I’d grown and learned a lot about myself, I was still confused.

I didn’t know for sure why our breakup had happened the way it did, and I was deeply uncomfortable with this uncertainty.

I would find myself fantasizing about what might have been if we had done things differently. I imagined alternative outcomes if the timing had been “better.” I desperately wished arguments could be unargued and choices unchosen.

I was trying to fix what had already happened.

One night on a walk in the park, I remembered something Oprah Winfrey had shared on her TV show years ago.

I finally (and tearfully) understood what it meant:

This “aha moment” provided me with the soul power I needed to leave the pain of my past behind and move forward.

Your forgiveness practice

I challenge you to journal your responses to these questions (verbally or in writing):

  1. What experience from your past still causes you to suffer?
  2. If all things are lessons that the Universe would have you learn, why would the Universe assign you that particular experience?
  3. What helpful lessons did you learn from the experience?

Forgiveness doesn’t have to happen overnight.

Sometimes it takes a while. But as long as you are willing to forgive, it can happen.

With your small willingness, the light can at last enter the dark, and my hope for you is that it does.



Today I choose to look my past square in the eye, learn from it, and let it go. Click To Tweet