My husband left me for my best friend almost 15 years ago and everyone says I should be over it. That’s easy to say, but not-thinking about someone when
they have betrayed you is hard. I read your blogs and I know that I have to
forgive him but I don’t want to. I want to be mad. I think he deserves it.
But I’m worried that’s not the right thing spiritually.
I hope it helps you to learn that this is very common. It’s very human. It really is. Lots of people feel that way. They look at their life and there’s nothing really wrong with now, it’s just that there’s this thing that’s lurking in the past. And we’re worried it’s going to happen again, so we’re extra alert and on watch for anything suspicious. The only problem with that is: almost anything can look suspicious if that’s the eye you’re looking at it with. Oops.
Let’s get real, okay? Because you’re talking about a psychological place as though it’s where you live, and yet you’re ignoring actual reality. Your suspicious thoughts about your spouse will cause you to have a chemical reaction relating to being threatened. But of course there is no immediate threat—there is only the story you’re making up to tell yourself. You claim this is just you being cautious or thinking ahead, but in reality it’s just an excuse to think a thought whose chemistry you’re addicted to.
Reality does not happen outside of you. There is no objective reality. We each see the world differently because our experiences have trained us to have different sets of filters on our eyes and other senses. So there is no way to reconcile and align everyone’s realities. You can only surrender to the knowledge that all any of us will ever see is whatever we are imagining at any given moment. And so it doesn’t matter what happens outside of you, what matters is what you think you’re supposed to do with what’s happening inside of you.
Your issue isn’t that this thing happened. Every life has horrible experiences a person could choose to remember. Your issue is that you keep choosing to remember the same set of events over and over and over for a decade and a half. Go ahead, tell us how hard it was and how we don’t understand your pain. You still know there’s nothing in life that should be taking 15 years to get over.
This isn’t 15 years ago. This is daily for you. Your resentments, your fears, your thoughts, considerations, ruminations and opinions are where you spend your day. That is the chemical structure of where you’re choosing to live. So you want to forgive your ex-husband for one simple reason: he doesn’t even know you’re hating him, meanwhile you’re surrendering your life to hating while he’s out living his life. This is a crazy addiction and it’s time you broke it. You’re like a person who drinks poison in the hopes that their enemy will die.
Start by listening to people who you know love you. So if your family or friends are trying to get you to go out, go! These people love you. Why would you assume time with them would be anything other than nurturing and caring? Have more fun. Take the energy you used to put into remembering this event or being afraid of that event and instead use that same energy to do something fun or exciting or rewarding. Live. This is a short trip we have here. You don’t want to sit still wasting it.
The past is the past. It does not dictate the future any more than a wake pushes a ship, as Alan Watts used to say. If you spend a lot of time talking about or thinking about days gone by then you are spending today reliving yesterday. It’s your choice, but when you feel death coming I can assure you that you will be wanting more time for life and you will wonder why you chose to squander so much of it while you engaged your consciousness in thoroughly pointless and painful activities like remembering only the painful parts of your past.
You are a free person. You can take your thoughts in any direction you choose. So don’t keep habitually choosing the same directions out of blind habit. Become conscious. Think actively. Use your thinking to create the world where you want to live. It’ll never be perfect, but that’s what’s so perfect about it–there’s always something interesting to do. We just have to have our eyes open to so that we can notice it when it does present itself.
Stop being a habit and start being alive. Disengage from old thinking. Change your thoughts, change your life. There’s a lot of living that needs to be done and we need you to climb aboard your own life and sail it into uncharted waters. It’s time to start investing your days with your awareness raised, which will in turn help you realize much more joy and wonder out of this grand adventure that is life.
If we have eyes like a child, we can easily turn the smallest thing into the greatest experience. Life is fantastic. Stop reliving old ugly parts of it and start having a true adventure. We’re waiting for you. I’ll see you out there. 😉
Following a serious childhood brain injury Scott McPherson unwittingly spent his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and the self. This made him as strange to others as they were to him. Seeing the self-harm people created with their own overthinking, Scott dedicated part of his life to helping others live with greater awareness. He is currently a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB, where he finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.