Updated: Feb 7
Forgiveness. What does it mean? How do we do it? Are others really worthy of our forgiveness? I have had my share of feeling anger, abandonment, betrayed and disappointed. Because these feelings were sitting so deeply inside of me, it took over both myself and my life for many years. I wasn’t even aware that I was feeling these emotions because rather than actually feeling them, I decided that it was safer to deny them, bury them and mask them with thoughts like
“Feeling my pain will only create more pain”
“It’s not ok to feel my “negative” emotions”
“I’ll just “try“ to stay positive”
and the best one of all…
"I should just be grateful"
When my external life began to reflect more and more of my internal pain, I had no choice but to surrender to my feelings and gave myself permission to feel and release, feel and release on repeat. I say “on repeat” because healing is not a one stop shop. It’s a process that requires commitment.
Giving myself permission to feel my real authentic emotions opened me up to many realizations - Here are just a few of them.
The most loving thing we can do for ourselves is own and feel what we are truly experiencing so that we can release the old energy and free ourselves to welcome in new energy. Denying and ignoring parts of ourselves in an attempt to be "strong" only sends ourselves the message that we aren’t worthy of our own attention.
We must know that we are worthy of our own attention before we can genuinely offer it to anyone else. It’s not a selfish act, it’s a self-honoring act of love. The more we can courageously validate and actually feel what we are feeling. the more we begin to transform our emotions. In other words, we don’t transform our
”negative” emotions by denying them. We transform them by accepting and honoring them as
Feeling our pain helps us realize that the one that we believe hurt, betrayed or abandoned us was actually the one that is feeling the most hurt. We can never project onto others what we aren’t actually experiencing within ourselves.
Feeling our pain helps us to find compassion for the person that we believe has caused us pain. This allows our once closed heart to soften and open. We begin to see that this person is really the one that is in need of the most love.
We realize the only one we ever truly needed to forgive was ourselves. We are the center of our entire existence. We are the common denominator in all of our experiences. Getting honest with ourselves allows us to choose what to feel, how we choose to perceive others and ourselves and how we will respond to circumstances that come our way. Forgiving ourselves for believing that another could take our power is transformative. The truth is we only ever have power over who we choose to be and how we choose to respond. We get to decide this in every moment and when we forget…the only thing to do is say, “I forgive myself for forgetting that my power lives within me.”
So if you are feeling called to forgive, but are feeling resistant to it, it's ok.
Begin with trusting yourself enough to acknowledge your own pain. Allow yourself to feel all the emotions that are being triggered within you. You owe yourself that gift. So often we forget to give ourselves permission to do this. We don't realize that the most challenging people in our lives are offering us the greatest gift - the gift of growth. They are opening the doorway that leads to our most empowered self. We are being offered an invitation to ask ourselves powerful questions about what we think and believe about ourselves. In the end, we realize that nobody can ever actually do anything “to” us. They can only help us to see what we couldn’t see before. Our pain and disappointment triggered by another can be a tremendous gift if we allow it and when we are willing to receive this gift, our pain transforms into power and our disappointment transforms into deep gratitude. And rather than having to say “I forgive you,” we will find ourselves saying, “Thank you.”