“When you forgive, you in no way change the past - but you sure do change the future.” ~ Bernard Meltzer
“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” ~ Lewis B. Smedes
In my Bio on my website I mentioned that I grew up as an empathic child in a home with a violent father. One of my family members who read it, after my website was published, made a comment that I “slayed my father”, meaning that I’ve thrown him into the lions and sacrificed him as an offering. But that’s not the case. I wanted to show that you are shaped by your immediate environment from a very early age, regardless if you realize this or not. Our emotions and circumstances have direct impact on what our beliefs are during our lives, what our fears are, what decisions we make later on, how we relate to others, and who we become.
The basic idea is that we should “learn” through our mistakes while we spend time on this planet. Most likely the majority of us have experienced some things that we remember very vividly, or maybe some that we are not proud of. I did. But, as I grow older and see things from a different perspective, I realize that it’s a natural way of inquiring wisdom. However, I have to say that our society has contradicting standards and it makes it very hard for us to learn those life “lessons” without getting scarred for life. I mean that there is a very small margin of tolerance and when things go wrong, we are not only shamed by family, and ridiculed by so-called friends, but also punished by being humiliated in a variety of ways. As a result, we often feel like failures, losers, inadequate idiots, horrible people, etc., etc., etc.
In those moments, when we fail, we often feel deeply hurt and it's rare that we tell ourselves: “I did the best I could in those circumstances and I will never let it happen again. This was a valuable lesson.” Instead, we are more likely to talk down to ourselves, feel horrible, and each time a similar case comes we, beat ourselves to a pulp, slowly accepting a belief that isn't true and view ourselves as one who cannot handle these situations at all. Harbouring pain, shame, fear, and anger that stem from these failures and their negative aftermath for years is so tough that we literally make ourselves physically sick, not realizing that we are manifesting those illnesses only because we are not letting things go!
One of the hardest things that I had to do in my life was to forgive my father for all the wrong things he did to our family. Second hardest was forgiving myself for believing that I was a horrible person. At some point, I realized that I was constantly idolizing my father, wanting to see him as a loving dad and husband. My mom suffered in silence and I also felt partially responsible for her developing cancer. I know it sounds crazy, but at one point my parents were thinking about divorce and apparently, I said that I would kill myself if they went through with it. I was a kid at the time and later, after my mom lost her battle with cancer, I started going through ifs and buts, and that’s how I added this “crazy” belief to my baggage. But during that time of grief, pain and denial it didn’t feel like it was crazy at all.
Many people go through horrible experiences in their life and it is very difficult to forgive those who put them through trauma and self-blame. We constantly live in the past, wallowing in those painful moments that cannot be changed, finding more reasons that act like salt for our wounds. There is also a common misconception about forgiveness. Some believe that if they forgive those who did them wrong, everything will be forgotten and those people will get away with it. But this could not be more far from the truth. First of all, we are letting our lives get away from us, without any chance of reclaiming those years we spent living in the past that cannot be changed. Another aspect of “living in the past” is that we are not present now! We don’t see good things that take place, we don’t enjoy them when they happen, and we may live our whole lives thinking that nothing positive happens to us. Our outlook is tainted by the dark “cloud” filter that we wear like glasses, not realizing how much happiness goes by.
Unfortunately at some point we assimilate ourselves with our circumstances. However, the truth is that our circumstances, the labels we put on ourselves, our feelings, and our wounds are NOT us! We are powerful, creative, gifted, and incredible beings who give away our power to those hard-felt emotions like shame, guilt, embarrassment, anger, vengeance, resentment. Instead of embracing our mistakes, tough lessons, and failures that really teach us to be stronger and more resilient, we lose the truth of who we are.
After I realized that the only way to grow wise is to learn from those hard lessons, I forgave myself and my father, and I am grateful for all that he contributed to, and helped me become – a strong, compassionate, intuitive soul who appreciates all that has come my way, knowing that tougher times teach me to be a better person. I cannot remember who said that “holding onto negative feelings is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die."
Forgiveness is not an easy process. It is difficult to let go of negativity and hurts. But if you start from forgiving yourself, and letting go of self-blame, you are going to make a whole lot of room for new and amazing blessings to come your way. And that is one of the most rewarding and healing gifts you can give yourself. So, don’t waste your life dwelling on the past. Trust me, once you get the pain out of your life, miracles will happen. Start with forgiving yourself and you will see what I mean.
And if it comes to those who put you through traumatic experiences, let their own consciousness punish them for what they did. They are perfectly aware that it was wrong, and they will not sleep soundly at night unless they forgive themselves or ask for your forgiveness. So, don’t believe that their actions are ever forgotten, or go without repercussions. And instead of holding onto ill wishes toward them, think of what a great gift they offered you. They helped you grow in a way it would never happen if they weren’t abusive, violent, controlling, deceitful, … Yes, it is never “fun” to go through those harsh experiences, but you also learned to never let anyone else treat you the same way again.
Believe that you are enough, that you are lovable, that you are creative, unique, and amazing. Share your stories and heal yourselves. Take time to forgive yourself and make room for new and better things to come your way. There is so much more to you than your pain. FORGIVE and let it go!
"Letting go helps us to live in a more peaceful state of mind and helps restore our balance. It allows others to be responsible for themselves and for us to take our hands off situations that do not belong to us. This frees us from unnecessary stress." ~ Melody Beattie
“Abundance is a process of letting go; that which is empty can receive.” ~ Bryant H. McGill
“Make Mistakes: I've learned so much from my mistakes -- I'm thinking of making a few more.” ~ Unknown