No pain, no gain, eh?
Because no life is without adversity.
One kind of adversity is when someone hurts you, wrongs you, or attacks you.
The resulting injury may be emotional, physical, psychological, and can involve insult, offence, desertion or betrayal.
Being hurt can lead to all kinds of negative emotions – anger, resentment, and hate, to name a few.
And while you should allow all emotions that well up to come as they may, hanging on to them long past their “best before” dates is doing yourself a disservice.
“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one getting burned.”– Buddha
If you’re preoccupied with negative emotions, you can’t experience gratitude.
Holding on to past hurts and grudges or harbouring resentments act as powerful barriers to gratitude.
The antidote to that is forgiveness.
- Forgiveness is your way back to empathy, love and compassion – for yourself more so than for the person you’re forgiving.
- Forgiveness does NOT mean you condone the behaviour.
- Forgiveness does NOT mean everything is okay.
- Forgiveness does NOT mean you forget what happened.
- Forgiveness does NOT magically happen, given enough time.
- Forgiveness does NOT mean you need to allow the person who hurt you to continue to have access to you and your life.
- Forgiveness does NOT make you weak.
Forgiveness is FREEDOM that allows you to move forward.
Forgiveness is ACCEPTING that it happened.
Like Oprah said, forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could have been any different.
Forgiveness allows you to begin your journey towards healing by laying your hurt down.
And journaling is the perfect way to start.
It gives you a safe, private space to let your true feelings out, and I recommend doing that whether or not you want to talk to the other person at all.
People don’t actually need to know that you’ve forgiven them; forgiveness is more for you than for the other person.
So, even if you end up writing a letter to the person you’re forgiving, there is no expectation whatsoever that you need to deliver it.
Working out how you can forgive is absolutely worth it, but it does mean that you have to step up and take full responsibility for your own feelings.
It means getting out those things that are sore and painful and honestly looking at them.
And I know that can be hard.
So how can you work toward forgiveness when you’re not feeling ready to forgive?
Processing your emotions, and what happened, into words allows you to stop past hurts from hurting you today.
In order for forgiveness to happen something has to die.
Like your outdated or unrealistic expectations. Like a past version of yourself.
Like anything that starts with the word “should”.
Whatever has shifted you, for better or for worse, and all the other messy in-between bits – now’s the perfect time to practise self-compassion.
To forgive yourself.
- What are you ready to forgive yourself for?
- Where do you feel it in your body?
- What would it feel like to let go of what happened?
- How can you extend yourself more grace and compassion?