Have you ever been verbally or physically abused? Have you even thought about healing that broken relationship? Did your partner cheat on you? Did your friend betray you? Did your father beat you?
Relationships constantly cycle through brokenness and mending. Because each one of us has shortcomings, blind spots, and wounds, we wound others. Ironically, it’s only when we come into contact with other people, that those wounds can begin to heal. From the time we are born, we begin accumulating memories, some good, some not so good. In fact, even in utero, the fetus is storing memories, recording sounds, experiencing environment, culture, and more.
Given the complexity of each human being and the joining of our lives in communities, friendships, and marriages, it’s incredibly important to gain skills for healing; not only for our own brokenness, but hopefully to help those around us as well.
What does the healing process look like? How do you start it? And is it really worth it?
Here are 3 Practical Steps to Healing a Broken Relationship:
1. Begin Basic Communication
What type of communication are you most comfortable with? What makes you feel safe? No matter how you choose to initiate, remember fear is normal. Maybe start with an email or a hand written letter. Maybe call and leave a message when they're not likely to pick up. Or maybe you’re ready to talk face to face? Whatever the case, initial communication can look different for each of us. Above all, be sure to clarify your goals for the relationship upfront. Describe what that might look like – “I’d like to begin hanging out with you again,” or “I’d like for us to meet over coffee once per month” Keep it brief, not providing too many details, but remain committed and ready for this new season of healing to take shape.
2. Pace Yourself
The process of restoration is a marathon not a sprint. It took a while for the relationship to break. It’ll take a while to mend. Start slow. Be brave. Prepare your heart for the fact this person may not even reciprocate. They may not be ready. Respect their journey, too. They may not be ready for healing – and that's okay. Know that your ability to reach out is enough. Remember, your peace and freedom does not depend on their willingness to partake.
3. Forgive Them Even if They're Not Sorry
It amazes me how many of us underestimate the power of forgiveness. It does not mean you delete the memories, but it does mean you release yourself from the emotional weight of the pain. You don’t hold them on the hook anymore. You’re no longer responsible for punishing them or for making them feel guilty for what they've done. It reminds me of this positive thought.
“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”
Meet them where they're at. If they can't apologize, know that you’ve done your part. You’ve made your peace. You've let it go. You've chosen happiness over pain. At the end of the day, you've won, because you're free.
Written by Dale Partridge, edited by Janay Garrick
Some know me as a serial entrepreneur and Founder of Sevenly and StartupCamp, others know me as the guy who can ride a unicycle and still kickflip on a skateboard. I’m on a mission to inspire people. Will you join me?