Happy, Healthy Mind – Forgiveness
I never realized until the last couple of years, the power forgiveness and letting go would have for me personally. Not only the process of forgiving all the people who have hurt me, but also forgiving myself. For decades, I used to stuff a lot of my feelings down with food, especially anger. I was fooling myself with my good girl routine trying to please everyone else. This way of living is not really living. When you numb out your feelings, you numb them all, the pain and the joy. When I was ready to face all the feelings I had buried, the first step for me personally, was to honor them. So on the advice of my life coach, I let my feelings rip on paper. On a couple of occasions, I wrote for an hour straight, letting all the anger literally pour out of me. And underneath the anger, grief and sadness poured out too. I honored all my feelings, taking the time to feel them and at the same time, I patiently and compassionately exercised extreme self care. I didn’t rush the process to forgiveness and move on. I knew that if I had the courage to finally identify and feel them, then when the time was right, I would be ready and willing to let them go and forgive. And since forgiveness is a process, when, not if, they resurface I work thru them with self love and dignity.
My favorite book, Fearless Living, says this about the process of forgiveness and its four stages…”denial is a fine temporary mechanism that helps us cope with the most unspeakable of assaults on our souls.” For me, denial was a safe place of numbness. I feel denial can be a state of mind where people choose to live most of their lives. Either they don’t want to face the pain or they don’t have the tools to move past the pain. It feels safer and easier to blame others and our past for where we are in our life. Rhonda Britten says the “next stage of forgiveness is often anger. Self pity, resentment and blame are the most commonly expressed feelings of fear at this stage. And depression is most often anger internalized. ” These words rang true in my case as I was on a vicious cycle of self blame and loathing thereby abusing my body with food. I also suffered with internal sadness and depression over the years. She goes on to say, “the third stage of forgiveness can be extremely challenging. It is acceptance. The event happened. Harboring anger only poisons you, not the other person. You stop searching for meaning and reasons. You stop blaming, You accept the situation as is and move forward the best you can.” This stage was where the transformation and healing to my heart and soul genuinely began. It allowed me to finally put my past in the past and stop putting my mental energies into the situation(s). I could truly move on with living and embracing my essential nature and wholeness. Rhonda mentions “finally you will reach stage four of forgiveness: compassion. You are able to see the event from the other person’s perspective.” I must say when I was able to reach stage four and have true compassion for my parents, family, ex-husband, etc, I was able to put myself in their shoes. I know they did the best they could to love me. I chose to refocus my energy on the happy, precious memories from each chapter of my life. I made a conscious decision to squeeze out the juice from the experience, and look at my many life lessons of love and gratitude. This helped me to appreciate how my past gave me fortitude, strength of character and shaped me into who I am today. For me personally, gratitude was an important step to true forgiveness and let it go.
The beautiful and challenging road to forgiveness started me down a path of really loving me for me. I stopped trying to fix myself and began to admire all my strengths and qualities. I began to embrace my limitations and who I was in the moment, with all my perfect imperfections. I felt for the first time in my life, my emotional well being shift from a scared little girl to a mature, confident, fearless adult. I think it was less taxing to forgive everyone that hurt me in the past, as the true challenge for me has been to forgive myself. Everyday I choose to reconfirm love for myself by the way I intuitively care for my needs; physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. It is freeing and liberating all at once, as I have transformed into a gorgeous, colorful butterfly.
I sincerely wish for all of you to embrace your individual roads to forgiveness and letting go, enabling you to truly set yourself free!
Copyright © 2018 Kathleen De Haven – All Rights Reserved.