Ask Deepak: How to Forgive Your Ex
— Eileen O., Summit, New Jersey
You are asking a question that might seem self-evident. What if you had written, "How do I know if my arm doesn't hurt anymore?" When pain is gone, it's gone. But the mind isn't that simple, for two reasons, and both apply here.
- There's more than one layer of pain in the mind. You are experiencing residual pain that lies deeper than you have yet reached. It's lodged in a place where your identity is. In this place, you may not want to remember the past or hold on to it, yet somehow another aspect of yourself says, "I have to hold on."
It's complicated to get at such feelings because, in a sense, you must unwind a whole tangled ball of yarn, pulling out some threads and keep others. Intensive self-examination and often long-term psychological therapy is required, with no guarantee of success. In my experience, the deepest trauma turns into one's cross to bear. I'm sorry to use that phrase, but please know that old burdens can be lightened. You have been lightening yours for 15 years, and the healing process will continue, thanks to your degree of self-awareness.
- The mind keeps looking at itself and finding flaws. This is a familiar game and one you can't win. Your letter expresses self-doubt more than residual rage against your husband. Thus, in writing to him you hope, in fantasy, to gain his support or an apology. Banish this from your mind; it will never happen. Self-doubt also comes through in your remark that not finding a new relationship reflects something left undone by you.
How do I stop feeling out of control?
Every week, Deepak will be answering questions from readers just like you—ask your question now!
Deepak Chopra is the author of more than 50 books on health, success, relationships and spirituality, including his current best-seller, Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul, and The Ultimate Happiness Prescription, which are available now. You can listen to his show on Saturdays every week on SiriusXM Channels 102 and 155.