Releasing the Weight of Negative Emotions After Divorce

By Shelly Stile

When I ask a client how they might feel if they were able to let go of all the negative emotions surrounding their divorce, nine times out of ten they reply: FREE. That is indeed the truth.
Letting go of the negative emotions surrounding your divorce gives you the freedom to move on and create a new life. Imagine that you are carrying a backpack and within it are forty-pound weights. Each weight carries a name: sadness, pain, blame, resentment, anger and bitterness. That translates into 240 pounds! How does it feel to be carrying that burden?

What you need to understand that it is you and you alone who carries that weight...not your ex. I promise you that these emotions that are keeping you stuck in the past are not affecting your ex whatsoever.

If you think that by letting go of the pain of your divorce lets your ex off the hook, you are wrong. Letting go lets you off the hook. Letting go gives you the freedom to begin the journey to crafting a new life after divorce, a life that reflects who you are now and who are becoming. This life can reflect your passions and what is important to you.

All too often we fail to see exactly who pays the price of holding onto the past. You may be right in feeling that you were treated badly. You may be right that your ex lacks compassion and integrity but being right carries a high cost.

· So what if you are right?
· What does it get you?

Start asking yourself that question:

· What are the benefits of holding onto the pain of your divorce?
· What price are you paying?
· What are the costs to you and your family?

You simply cannot move forward without letting go of the past. A door must close before a new door opens. Endings must precede beginnings. There is no other way. There is only so much space in your life and the negative emotions you are holding onto take up the precious space in your life that could be replaced with more happiness and fulfillment.

Only you can make the choice to let go of what harms you. The beauty of being a human being is that we are blessed with the power of conscious and free choice. You might not think that you are choosing to suffer and perhaps on a conscious level you aren't. But if you get conscious and truly use your ability to choose, you can decide to end the pain.

I am not saying that it is as easy as stating that you choose not to suffer anymore but I am saying that with that choice, you can begin the work of divorce recovery.

Why It Is Important to Let Go of Grudges and Hurts:

The word 'forgiveness' may elicit strong feelings for you BUT letting go is often best achieved through the act of forgiveness. Remember, forgiveness is not condoning bad behavior. Forgiveness is the gift of freedom you give yourself.

Katherine Piderman, Ph.D., staff chaplain at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., discusses forgiveness and how it can lead you down the path of physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. Worth the read.

Steps to Letting Go of the Grudge:
1. Choose!! Make a conscious choice to move on. Acknowledge what holding on is costing you. Holding on not only takes a huge amount of energy; it takes up too much of your time and space.
2. Accept your new reality without trying to change it. What is versus what should be. Don't expect for your ex to apologize or be remorseful...ain't gonna happen.

3. Consider forgiveness. It's a gift you give yourself of freedom from the pain of the past. It is not condoning or forgetting bad behavior. It is part of the letting go.
4. Find the gifts of your divorce. What wisdom have you gleaned from this life experience? Where is the silver lining? Start looking for what might be right and not what is wrong. Your perspective will alter your reality!

5. Change your divorce story. Rewrite it. Go from being a victim to a hero or heroine. If your divorce story is depressing you need to change it!

An Exercise in Holding On versus Letting Go:

I love this exercise that allows you to physically feel the weight of holding onto hurts. Try it for just one day and see what happens.

Shelley Stile is a certified (ACC) Divorce Recovery Life Coach, author and speaker who guides people, who are either undergoing a divorce or who are divorced, to let go of the past and move on into a new life after divorce. Reach her at: Shelley [].

Rosalind Sedacca, CCT is a relationship seminar facilitator and author of the ebook, How Do I Tell the Kids ... about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children -- with Love! For free articles, her blog, coaching, valuable resources on child-centered divorce or to subscribe to her free ezine, go to: