We have all been taught that forgiveness is vital so that we can be free from the binds and hurts of the past to move forward. Truly, forgiveness is not about letting those who have hurt us off the hook or condoning their behavior, rather it is an act of compassion to ourselves and allowing ourselves the freedom of letting go.
One of the biggest gifts we can give to ourselves is to compassionately forgive ourselves, and we may often find this more difficult than forgiving others. I believe that having regrets, beating ourselves up and blaming ourselves for the way things have turned out contributes significantly to keeping us stuck in old patterns which in turn perpetuates the very experiences we don’t want to have.
So just how do we forgive people who have hurt us and also forgive ourselves?
Forgiveness for others can be seen by our culture as a very “noble” and “admirable” thing to do. While we may feel better initially by proclaiming forgiveness for someone, the effects may be short-lived unless we have taken the necessary steps to reach a true and long-lasting forgiveness state.
You see, it is absolutely vital that we fully acknowledge, feel and embrace the pain and release the trauma generating it BEFORE forgiving.
Let me break that down.
Many of us have endured painful childhoods. We may have suffered abuse, including physical, emotional or sexual abuse. We may have been neglected. We may not have felt loved and accepted. Perhaps our parents or caregivers pushed us to achieve, therefore we now source our self-worth through our achievements. Perhaps they didn’t protect us and so we have felt deeply unsafe in the world.
As I said at the beginning, we are continually given the message that we must forgive. We are often also told that our parents or caregivers were doing the best they could with the tools they had.
While this may be true for many, I have worked with many women who have taken these messages as it is somehow wrong to feel the emotions around what they suffered as a child or growing up – be it hatred, rage, grief, revenge or anything else.
We may also find ourselves focusing only on the happy memories we have, even if they are very few and far between, and disassociating ourselves from the rest. Messages such as “Be a good girl,” “Be quiet,” “Know your place” go in deep and have us form beliefs that it’s not safe to express our emotions, especially the ones our culture has labeled “bad” emotions such as anger and rage.
We can also develop beliefs that we must be subservient to those in authority, or we may go the other way and become very rebellious against authority and “rules” without understanding and meeting these parts of ourselves that have been in so much pain.
Of course, there are a whole host of ways that this affects our friendships, our interactions with others and our intimate relationships.
If we have been abused by our fathers or other male members of our family with no healthy male role-models, we may become subservient towards men and finding ourselves automatically dismissing our own needs, focusing only on their needs and having zero boundaries. We may often not even know what our own needs are, never mind being able to express them or draw clear and healthy boundaries.
All of these beliefs and behaviors are mostly on automatic mode. Often, we don’t even realize what we are doing and even if we do, we have no idea how to change them.
Indeed, many super intelligent, self-aware women have told me that while they are confident and successful in other areas of their lives, when it comes to relationships, especially intimate relationships, they find themselves doing and being a completely different version of themselves with seeming no or limited ability to do anything about it.
That’s because our intimate relationships bring up our deepest wounding. All of our insecurities, unresolved trauma and limiting beliefs come to the forefront.
The only way to turn things around is to fully acknowledge what we suffered and more importantly how it made us feel.
We must acknowledge that the abuse our parents or caregivers inflicted on us was wrong, not our fault and allow ourselves to feel the feelings around it, all of them.
In doing this we begin to get in touch with the “little girl” within us…the wounded parts of ourselves. We start to form a relationship with her. We start to get very curious as to what she has to say and what she wants to show us. Indeed, she holds the key to our healing. She knows what needs to be healed.
But we have to build trust with her, so that she will reveal more to us. We do this by making a commitment to her that we will never leave her again, that she is our first priority and that we will do whatever it takes to heal her, so that she is free from the past and can create the life and love she deserves.n conjunction with this, we must turn towards the trauma that is held in our bodies and release it out.
Let me say that again.
All of the trauma from the abuse or neglect or hurtful events as a child, while growing up and through experiences as an adult, has been building and building inside us and is stored up in our bodies.
No matter how hard we try, we CANNOT heal on a mind level. I know many of you have been working on yourselves and following your spiritual practices for years…I know I have myself.
We have been taking seminars, reading self-help books, doing every personal growth course out there, doing meditation, applying the law of attraction and the list goes on.
I myself have spent years doing all the above along with all sorts of therapies and healing remedies.
While some of them are certainly helpful and can be supportive to our healing to some degree, many of them only give short-term relief.
The ONLY thing I have found truly effective in relieving the symptoms of abuse, along with severe emotional pain often include depression, anxiety, panic attacks, CPTSD, adrenal fatigue, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and a whole host of other physical conditions and even more severe diseases, is getting into the body and feeling the feelings caused by whatever has triggered them, targeting them directly to find out what the trauma is generating the feelings and then releasing the trauma out of the body.
In doing this, we create space inside for the answers to life’s questions and challenges to organically start to emerge. We replace the trauma with our own self-love and with Source/God/Divine/Universal energy (or whatever your version of it is).
The mind follows the body ALWAYS, not the other way around as we have been taught. In releasing our trauma from the body, suddenly we begin to see things differently, we have access to the answers which are all inside. We reprogram the unconscious excruciating beliefs we have held for so long, the ones that have been sabotaging our best efforts to create the lives and love we want.
Best of all, we feel deeply connected with our “little girl” inside.
I have been having this experience with my “little Julie-Anne.” It’s on a completely different and deeper level to anything I have had before. She is my friend, she helps me, she reveals so much to me. I always have her back, and she has mine. She is trusting me more and more. It is truly stunning, and there is just nothing or no one “out there” that compares.
So within, so without… ALWAYS. By engaging the process I have described our outer world starts to reflect our new inner world.
From this place, we can TRULY and sincerely forgive. Forgiveness that lasts a lifetime! Why? Because we genuinely know that absolutely everything that has ever happened to us has brought us to this place ,and has made us who we are now. All of our experiences in childhood and adulthood have been leading us to heal our wounds, so that we could meet our little girl within on this level, so that we could bring her home to her true self – the self she always has been underneath all of the trauma and pain.
All of life has actually been working FOR us all along, and it always is. When we know that, we can actually begin to welcome and bless our triggers because we know they are leading us somewhere – somewhere so amazing we can’t possibly imagine. We start to co-create life rather than just being a passive survivor. Magic and miracles start happening.
This has truly been my experience.
Gosh! I could go on and on and can’t wait to write more soon.
If what I have said resonates for you and you would like to talk about how I can support you, please do let me know. Allow me to hold your hand and guide you home to yourself – the greatest love of all.