Hello, love bugs. I hope this week has started off on a good note and that you're heart is open to the next phase of our self-healing journey. In following what I did to heal from self-loathing, anxiety and fear of not being enough; the next thing I tackled was forgiveness. This was a tough one for me, because when you've been broken for so long, it is almost your comfort zone. I know it sounds crazy, right? Why would anyone CHOOSE to stay broken? But I must be very honest, brokenness can become that familiar safety blanket that we refuse to let go of. It's smelly, torn, and probably should be thrown away, but because it's such a familiar place for us -- we hold on. As miss Iyanla once said,
"There's no greater battle in life than between the part of you that wants to be healed, and the part of you that's content remaining broken." - Iyanla Vanzant
One of the major stepping stones to self-love is forgiveness. This topic is discussed in such depth, when you open up books on self-help, wellness, truth, love, and all other facets of living a wholehearted life. We must be willing to open ourselves up to vulnerability and not look at it as weakness. Vulnerability takes courage! It is the only way we can truly learn to accept and love ourselves for the imperfect beings we are. Since we are all so imperfect, it's only natural that forgiveness must exist in our connections with ourselves and others. We must first understand what forgiveness IS and what it IS NOT:
What forgiveness IS:
*Forgiveness is for our own self-healing. It's freedom to move past something, someone, and regain peace in our spirits.
*Forgiveness establishes grace, compassion and love in our hearts, as we learn to forgive others in the same manner to which we, too, would like to be forgiven for our mistakes.
*Forgiveness is the release of poison. When we withhold forgiveness, it's like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.
*Forgiveness is the courageous step toward regaining control of your peace. It is the decision to no longer allow a person or an event to have control over your thoughts, joy and ability to love.
What forgiveness is NOT:
*When we forgive, it doesn't mean we exonerate the person or the wrong doing. It doesn't excuse the behavior, the hurt, the trauma.
*Forgiveness is not an opportunity to inflict the hurt again, or take the place of accountability when dealing with yourself. If you're coming from a place of wholeness and connection, then we free your hearts when we ask for forgiveness. This does not mean consistently apologizing for things you cannot control, that is another issue (a sign of depression and anxiety). What I'm referring to is apologizing and taking accountability for your actions against someone else, in efforts to free your heart from self-deprecation and approach someone you've wronged from a place of love and a sincere desire to find resolution.
*Forgiveness is NOT weakness.
We must be willing to meet ourselves half way in the healing process, and forgive ourselves and others. It's not an easy task, especially when we've been damaged by someone we loved, or whom we thought loved us. When we have felt failed, neglected, dismissed, unacknowledged and invalidated. It's definitely tough to forgive those individuals...this I know. It wasn't easy to forgive my father for being an abusive, alcoholic husband and leaving us. It certainly wasn't easy to forgive the men who abused me when I was a child. I took that 'ability to resent and carry the wounds of unforgiveness' with me, as my safety blanket; feeling as if I just held tight to that stinky, dirty and torn up blanket - then no one else would get close enough to hurt me that way again. Well, I learned eventually that this isn't the case. This a lie we tell ourselves to justify staying broken. We have to TRUST ourselves, and what we learned from those experiences to move toward better situations where this hurt wouldn't exist. I had to learn to forgive them, for ME - not them. Because I deserved to be free, because I needed to live a life without fear, and because I didn't want my kids to learn the same behaviors. It was time to drop the safety blanket on the floor and walk away.
We must free ourselves, we must forgive them, and then once that's done - forgive ourselves. Forgive ourselves for the YEARS we wasted in our resentment. Forgive ourselves for punishing those we love who are around us and are witness to our resentful ways, Forgive ourselves for the behavioral and physical causes of our inability to let this go, and how that showed up in our lives (i.e. isolation, anger, poor health choices, bad relationships, etc). Forgive ourselves for not living perfect lives, where we could have been protected from the things that broke us in the first place.
We must forgive THEM and US. And when we forgive them, take that time to establish healthy boundaries between yourself and who/what hurt you - practice wisdom and discernment to trust your heart in deciding who/what should stay in your life, and who/what needs to go. That is a sign of self-forgiveness and self-compassion, as you can move forward with a sense of worthiness, understanding what you will and will no longer stand for...because you've forgiven and now have given yourself permission to drop that dirty, smelly, worn out safety blanket from your past.
"Forgiveness is the only way to heal. We can choose to forgive because we feel compassion for ourselves. We can let go of resentment and declare "That's enough!". First, we need to forgive our parents, our brothers, our sisters, our friends, and God. Once you forgive God, you can finally forgive yourself. Once you forgive yourself, the self-rejection in your mind is over. Self-acceptance begins, and the self -love will grow so strong that you will finally accept yourself just the way you are. That's the beginning of the free human. When someone can touch a wound and it no longer hurts you, then you know you have truly forgiven." --The Mastery of Love, by Don Miguel Ruiz