The Best Part About Forgiving Your Ex Is That You Don't Need Them To Do It

by Michael Starr Hopkins
Javier Márquez

No one goes into a relationship expecting to breakup (hopefully). You go into a relationship because you see something in your significant other that you want to be a part of.

There's an attraction, both mentally and physically that draws you to that person. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on who you ask, not every relation is meant to last. For so many different reasons, relationships end and one or both parties are left wondering how to pick up the pieces.

Breakups are an emotional process, they're painful and if not done properly can have long lasting effects. For me, the hardest part of any break up is always letting go. Letting go is difficult; you've built a life with someone, and whether by surprise or plan, that life is over. It's easy to get stuck in a rut of anger or despair if you're not properly prepared.

Here are three steps to letting go:

1. Forgive yourself

When a breakup occurs, it's easy to jump to the conclusion that it is because you did something wrong. At some point in the relationship, you most likely did do something that contributed to the breakup. It's over now, so there's no point in beating yourself over the mistakes you may or may not have made.

It's unproductive and unhealthy to do so. We've all been there; I spent months after a breakup asking all of my friends why my relationship didn't work. I practically begged them to to tell me what I had done wrong and how I could fix it. Finally, someone told me exactly what I didn't want to hear: Not every relationship can be fixed. Sometimes, space and time is the only way to fix things. Other times, there simply just isn't a fix.

Instead of beating yourself up, forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for the harsh words that were spoken; forgive yourself for the things you wish you hadn't done; forgive yourself because no ones perfect and we all make mistakes.

I know it sounds oversimplified and preachy, but it's true. Your goal in life shouldn't be to never make mistakes; it should be to learn from your mistakes and never make the same mistake twice.

Think of all the things you wished you did differently, and forgive yourself for not doing them. The great thing about life, is as long as you have a pulse, you have an opportunity to make your life better.

2. Forgive them

Forgiving your ex is always the most difficult part of letting go. Feelings are hurt, egos are wounded and pride is often battered. Understandably, it can be hard to forgive you ex. You have to remember that you aren't forgiving them because they deserve forgiveness; you are forgiving them because you deserve peace. By forgiving them, you humanize them and acknowledge that none of us are always at our best.

If we can be honest for a moment, when you look back at your life subjectively, it's probably easier than you'd like to admit that you've been the heart breaker or you've done someone wrong. We all have, and that's part of life, too. Anyone who says they've never hurt someone is either unaware, or a liar.

More importantly, forgive your ex because holding on to anger and pain is unhealthy. Holding onto hurt and pain makes you bitter, and the kind of person that no one wants to be around. We all know the kind of person I'm talking about, some of them personally. The hardest thing to do is to put yourself in your ex's shoes and try and see what they saw. It takes a big person to be able to do that. You might not be there yet, but one day you will be. Once you're able to step into your ex's shoes and see their perspective, you'll hopefully be able to gain some insight and use those life lessons for the next relationship.

3. Allow yourself time to heal

We all too often rush from one relationship to the next to avoid dealing with our pain. We've all heard the saying, "the easiest way to get over one person is under another."

It's easier to immerse yourself in something new than deal with the pain that you're currently feeling. That not only does a disservice to you, it does a disservice to your future significant other. When you break a bone, you don't get right back up and start running. You allow yourself time to heal and then ease yourself back into your routine.

The same is true for breakups. Spend sometime being single. Go out and meet new people. Remind yourself who you were before your ex came along. Your future partner will thank you for it.

As clichéd as it may sound, your heart and mind need time to heal. It's going to take time for you to get over your ex. It's going to take time for you to emotionally move on. I'll repeat, it's going to take time. That's OK. It should take time to move on, that means that you were vulnerable. Give yourself a pat on the back, you're light years ahead of a lot of people.

At the end of the day I'll be the first person to admit that breakups are hard. If you're like me, you put up a tough exterior, but deep down just want someone to share your life with.

Nothing is harder than realizing that the person you've invested so much time in isn't the person that you'll share the rest of your life with. It's okay though; sometimes that can be a blessing in disguise. At the end of the day, you want to be with someone who wants to be with you, someone who appreciates you for all of your uniqueness.

So take your time, dust yourself off and remember that if you keep your head up it will all be OK. As my friend Johnny constantly reminds me, if you are too busy paying attention to what is behind you, you will miss out on the blessings that are right in front of you.

Let go of the past, you don't want to miss out on your future.