“You will begin to heal when you let go of past hurts, forgive those who have wronged you and learn to forgive yourself for your mistakes”.
“You have to learn to select your thoughts the way you select your clothes every day. That’s a power you can cultivate. You wanna come here and control your life so bad, work on the mind. That’s the only thing you should control. If you can’t master your thoughts, you’re in trouble … stop trying. Surrender”. – Richard from Texas
What is forgiveness?
The first step to forgiveness is admitting that we have blamed someone or ourselves for something. We are filled with anger, resentment, blame, hatred. Forgiveness is about letting go of these feelings we have been carrying around. Releasing yourself of these heavy thoughts of revenge or bitterness. We do not even have to come in to contact with the person we are trying to forgive. We do not have to tell them we forgive them or tell anyone at that matter. It is for your sanity and happiness that you need to forgive. The more we talk about how people have done us wrong and hurt us, the more negative thoughts and emotions we bring about in ourselves. Of course let off some steam and vent to your best friend about it when it is fresh and new and reflect. That is also a part of healing. But then forgive. Let the space be filled with love. Let it go.
Forgive and Forget?
Forgiveness doesn’t come easily for everyone, but the kind of forgiveness that really matters is the forgiveness that resides in your own heart. Self-compassion is what will enable you to learn and grow and become the best version of yourself. I will dedicate another post for self-compassion SOON. Forgiving someone does not mean you approve of the wrong they have done. It can mean different things to different people. For me, it means I forgive those who were not in a good head space at the time or had portrayed their inner demons through their behaviour. Sometimes I might view it as the person not being on the same emotional maturity as I am but that sometimes can come across as a bit arrogant. It is not that you feel sorry for the person either. It is about building awareness that peoples behaviours are usually a reflection of their inner selves. The same way if any of us have a bad day they might snap at the next person who asks them a question. If you are feeling sh**t about yourself you might criticise others just to make yourself feel better. Kind of like those bullies in school. More than likely they had a lot of stuff going on for them, either in their head or at home. Forgiveness is not about sympathising with people but about empathising with them.
sympathy: feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else’s misfortune.
empathy: the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
I also understand that some people commit horrible crimes and do outrageous things to people that cannot be empathised with. Some people might blame themselves for things others have done to them and might feel the horrible abuse or mistrust was deserving. In this case the person to forgive is yourself.
FORGIVE YOURSELF FIRST
Forgive yourself for believing you could have stopped what had happened. Forgive yourself for believing you are not worthy. Forgive yourself for believing you were deserving of what happened. Forgive yourself for being in this negative mindset. Forgiveness is a journey. It is something that needs to be practised daily. You don’t just wake up one day and have forgiven and healed yourself and everyone around you.
I watched a movie recently called ‘Eat, Pray, Love.’ There was a scene where Julia Roberts (Liz Gilbert) was speaking about how upset she was that she had left her husband and she felt he would never forgive her. This was something that was bothering her throughout the majority of the movie until she met this nice man (Richard from Texas) at a retreat in India who thought her she did not have to come in contact with her husband or hear him say he forgave her. She simply had to forgive herself.
Liz Gilbert: I’m waiting for him to forgive me, to release me.
Richard from Texas: Waiting for him to forgive you is a damn waste of time. Forgive yourself.
“We all want things to stay the same, David … settle for living in misery, because we’re afraid of change, of things crumbling to ruins. Then I looked around in this place, at the chaos it’s endured, the way it’s been adapted, burned, pillaged … then found a way to build itself back up again, and I was reassured. Ruin is a gift, ruin is the road to transformation”. – Liz Gilbert
I have learned to forgive friends who chose boyfriends over our friendship. I have learned to forgive my Dad for making decisions I felt were wrong when it came to family and marriage. Work colleagues who had outbursts of rage towards me. But most importantly I have learned to forgive myself for making ill decisions in the past, for not taking responsibility for my own happiness sooner, for thinking I needed a boyfriend before I could find happiness and contentment. By letting go of all these negative feelings and thoughts I had towards these people and myself, I have become the happiest I have ever been. That, alongside mindfulness and other self healing practices. Happiness is not a destination, it is a journey. You too will have your own journey.
As Kylie Jenner said ‘2016 is about realising stuff’. And I certainly have realised A LOT this past year!