As the world continues to change around us, there seems to be an understanding or knowledge inside of us that wants to come out. For some it is a time of finally having the words to describe it! And for others it is a lonely prison of misunderstanding and of not being heard. Whether you experience one side or the other… or somewhere in between, know that as you continue to heal yourself and others, the barriers we feel stuck behind will begin to dissolve, so that clarity and communication can flow freely. Although there are many things happening and embracing our multi-dimensional essence can be scary and uncomfortable, there are things within our control that we can do to help ease the uncomfortable feelings. I would like to encourage you to read my previous blogs: 5 Ways to Thrive, Not Just Survive; 7 Ways to Stop Thinking and Regain Control of Your Life; and 10 Ways to Heal Yourself and Others, as additional resources.
This blog is focused on Forgiveness, why it is important, and how to give and receive forgiveness. Most people view forgiveness as something that you give to someone who wronged you. However, that is just one small area of forgiveness. Also, since there are many resources available on the internet, I want to explain that this blog is focused on helping you heal yourself. Let’s dive in!
WHAT IS FORGIVENESS
If you engage in a search on the internet for “What is Forgiveness?” You will receive a plethora of answers that vary from a simple “the act of forgiving” to a complex psychological analysis. How I describe forgiveness is as a process of letting go of the negative feelings attached to a situation/circumstance that negatively impacted your life. Most people think of a time when someone wronged them or even significantly traumatized them. However, even small comments, situations, and other subtleties can disrupt your way of functioning, and may need forgiveness. So as you read on, please be conscious of these smaller hurts your still hold within you.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT
To quote Aang from Nickelodeon’s cartoon “Avatar, The Last Airbender,” “Revenge is like a two-headed snake. While you are making the other person feel the pain from one bite, you are also being bit by the poison of revenge. Rather choose forgiveness, so you can heal.”
Forgiveness is important because it is a release from the hurt and the suffering you have been feeling. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you are condoning the behavior or situation, rather forgiveness allows you to break the chain of being linked to the hurt and emotional pain caused by it. Forgiveness is often difficult and can be a journey to reach the place you need to be in to experience it. It is ok to embark on this journey, no matter how hard or difficult it is. Remember that you can stop to rest and care for yourself as frequently as you need on this journey. You don’t have to overexert yourself to sprint to the finish line. This rarely ends up being successful, and usually causes more hurt along the way. If forgiveness seems like something you would like to work toward, but don’t know where to start please consider working with a professional to help you through the process. Just like venturing into the mountains alone is dangerous for those who are unexperienced, so can venturing into the unknowns within our emotions. Both situations are better with professional guides. Click Here for a list of resources who can help on your journey or Click Here to schedule a session with me.
HOW TO GIVE AND RECEIVE FORGIVENESS
Most people think of giving forgiveness as the act of saying “Sorry.” Even though saying sorry is very important, giving forgiveness is done by the person receiving the “sorry.” In order to give forgiveness, you need to be aware of thoughts, feelings, and wounds you are experiencing. Many times, we as humans think that forgiveness comes after there is an external validation (someone saying sorry, public knowledge of the incident, ect.) that a wrong has been committed. Yet even in situations where there is an external validation, (because not all situations receive an external validation) there is still internal validation that is needed. This is where you begin to heal your wounds, feelings, and thoughts. Until then true forgiveness can NOT be given, as remnants of the hurt and resentment for it continue to consume you consciously and/or unconsciously. As you heal your heart space, you are able to give authentic forgiveness from your heart space, freeing yourself of burden from the wound.
In addition when someone chooses to give forgiveness to you, it needs to be more than words. In order for you to receive forgiveness, you also need to be aware of wounds in your heart. For example, many people feel guilt, regret, and shame for what they did. Until you can heal these thoughts, feelings, and wounds, you will not be able to receive the forgiveness given. When we heal ourselves, which includes giving forgiveness to yourself, we then become open to receiving the forgiveness from others. Again releasing ourselves of these burdens.
USING FORGIVENESS TO HEAL GENERATIONAL WOUNDS
Generational wounds are wounds that have weighed heavily on the hearts of many generations within a family or culture. A few examples are Jews impacted by the Nazi’s, Indigenous people whose lands were taken over by new settlers, and African who were forced into slavery in new countries. These are just a few of the bigger events that most people are aware of. Some examples of smaller events that people tend to be unaware of are infidelity in relationships, having to be the perfect child/citizen/member of your community, martyr or narcissistic mindset, being poor, being rich, or anything that you can see has impacted you and others in your family tree. The Ho’omana website simply describes generational wounds as “The shame and blame of the past that haunts you.”
Becoming aware of generational wounds and working to heal them is important to free yourself of burdens and stress you have been carrying for your ancestors. It allows you to be open to new experiences and patterns rather than confined to the old ways. If this is something that you feel impacts you, please contact me to help you explore, understood, and heal these wounds within you.
USING FORGIVENESS TO HEAL YOURSELF
Many people are unaware of subpersonalities that they carry, as many of them are unconscious. One of the most powerful subpersonalities humans have is the Inner Critic. This inner critic can be created by one statement made by someone, multiple statements repeatedly said, or even by different experiences with different people that build up to confirm a concept such as “Not being good enough.” I want to bring this to your attention, as many times with forgiveness our inner critic continues to wound and hurt us based on the painful experience we had. You can see how if this is left unchecked it will push the forgiveness away. Many times when I work with couples, I hear, “How many times do I have to apologize for the same thing.” The unfortunate answer is that it does not matter how many times one person apologizes if the other person cannot forgive themselves or heal their wounds.
Becoming aware of our own hurts, wounds, and burdens allows us the opportunity to give ourselves forgiveness and heal these painful experiences. When we are not connected to why we keep rerunning the hurt in our lives, we cannot break ourselves free of the same old patterns. This is something that we are all capable of but were never taught how. You have the power to forgive yourself and let go of these old patterns to create the life you want to life.
Forgiveness is a powerful tool! As you begin to open your heart and mind, forgiveness is a necessary action to transcend your past. Our heart spaces are holding so much hurt and heartache, only with forgiveness can we begin to fill these wounds with love, compassion, and empathy.
Crystal Deichert LPC, of Positive Assist, offers a full suite of counseling and holistic services for those wishing to get unstuck and move forward in their lives. She is trained in several evidence-based modalities and holistic approaches to help her clients see their barriers through their soul’s perspective allowing them to break free and fly. If you’d like to discover your true self, you can schedule a free consultation at www.crystaldeichert.com, by calling 720.767.1994, or emailing [email protected]. Check me out on Facebook at Crystal Deichert LPC