The last four years have been a work in progress for me in the area of forgiveness. I was challenged by situations that involved people in my life that for years I was intimately connected to. If someone had told me that my transformation would involve letting go of people that I deemed so important to me I would not have believed it. That said lts only in hindsight that I get that it was a necessary part of my journey. Nevertheless, it can be (and it was) quite shocking (downright traumatic) to feel life forcing a change upon me that I didn’t expect or understand. Trusting a bigger perspective (a divine purpose) is called for and yet no amount of spiritual faith makes that easy.
This article is about the process of forgiveness. I often hear about it as a one step “forgive and get over it” type of deal, but that’s not how it felt for me and I had many different stages that I had to go through before I felt like I was finally free from the bondage of the resentment and feeling of "unfairness" that came with it all.
So, let me share my thoughts on why there is so much resistance to forgiveness and why I think it’s essential to our healing. First, I believe we need to let go of any religious connection to the term. The biblical aspects of forgiveness have their place but in more practical life dealings we basically want/need to forgive in order to move forward. The most important reason here is that we free ourselves from the bondage of negative emotions that keeps us from healing.
The next common misunderstanding of forgiveness is that if we forgive we are somehow making it ok or allowing someone to wrong us. To this point I will say that forgiveness will not blind you to the truth about whether someone is safe to trust or not. What is true is that when we forgive we are essentially releasing the negative emotions that keep replaying themselves in our lives. It is not necessary to hold on to negative thoughts and feelings in order to decide that someone is not trustworthy. We can forgive and choose to protect ourselves from someone who cannot be trusted.
So, what are the mechanics of forgiving? Here is where I will twist this up a bit in order to get you to assess your willingness to let go of that which is emotionally holding you back.
Let yourself experience these questions in your body.
What would it feel like to be done with this? To let this go? Who would i be without this feeling? This thought?
Does it feel light or tight?
What would it feel like to hold on to this longer? To continue to have this emotion/resentment in my body in my thoughts?
Does it feel lighter or tighter?
If there was no right or wrong to this situation could I choose to forgive it?
What interpretation of this situation am I holding to, that if I let go of it would free me? For example, “If I forgive this they will do it again?”, “If I forgive, then I am making it ok.” Or “If I forgive I will have to reconnect with this person.” Willingness to be aware of what you believe is essential in order to move through these blocks. Many of these beliefs feel real, but just aren’t true.
What attachment to feeling hurt, angry, disappointed, victimized am I choosing – that If I let go of it would free me from further suffering around this issue?
What if the vibrational frequency of my “suffering/negativity” continues to attract more of the same? Am I willing to take responsibility for what I am choosing?
These are not easy questions to answer, nor do they require actual answers. What is required is honest inquiry and some sense of responsibility for the choices we are making.
I find that self-forgiveness is the first place that I need to get to when I find myself holding on to a situation that is creating stress or suffering within me. So once I become aware I set the intention by stating – “Any part of me that is choosing to hold on to this and create more negative attachment I forgive, release and choose to heal.” The focus here for me is on the first part of that sentence, “Any part of me”, because many times the aspects of me that are attached to “suffering” or “negativity” are not in my conscious awareness. This is what I refer to as peeling back the layers.
I can’t overemphasize the importance of self-forgiveness. I really believe it opens the door towards our ability to be compassionate with ourselves first then more organically with others.
Be patient with this process, it is not meant as a quick fix and can sometimes take time to integrate..
Feel free to share you experience and or contact me