08 Feb Forgiveness A JOURNEY
“Thank you for apologising… I forgave you years ago”. …Forgiveness is a unique journey of healing
The Journey of Forgiveness is certainly unique.
I originally wrote this blog in February 2016. I have update it and polished it up for you to enjoy as I republish it in February 2020. After all, learning about forgiveness can never be outdated. I hope you enjoy this post.
Releasing feelings…one step closer to healing
Have you ever decided to release feelings of resentment? It is possible, and yes it can be you who decides. And if you do not decide this at a conscious level, you may find you wake up one day and these feelings have gone anyway. How did this happen? How was an internal resolution taking place without your awareness? May this have been one of those moments they call ‘forgiveness whilst in hypnosis?’ or “unconscious forgiveness”?
Was it hypnosis?
But you were not in hypnosis you may say? Who’s to say? What if all those moments you found yourself going over the situation and losing clock time, day dreaming about it….you were in a trance? Lots of unconscious work occurs whilst in trance. So perhaps if you wake and those feelings towards another person have eased, then accept the peace, it’s only healthier for you. It’s nice when we perform our own therapy, especially while we sleep.
Forgiveness does not mean you forget and it does not mean you excuse behaviours. I remember one particular life changing incident. And to be honest with you, I do not mind remembering. It is a story that I tell others when I find it appropriate. The way I tell it is also a sign of maturity, and a true indication that it bares no impact on me anymore.
I forgave, but I still remember. And my memory of it does not stir up any feelings or emotions within me. I am also aware, there is no excuse for deliberate and calculated behaviours.
When a story is told, it’s told with the “narrators” perspective of how it is remembered, at that current moment. That’s a different topic altogether. This blog is about forgiveness. But just know, everything in life is a perspective.
You don’t need to know
When I forgave, the other party wasn’t even aware. Them knowing or not knowing made no difference to me. When I was asked for forgiveness many years later, I replied “I forgave you years ago”. The truth is; you do not even need to tell the other person that they are forgiven. There are, however situations when it is more appropriate for the other person to know that they are forgiven. Just not in my case.
Forgiveness does not guarantee that you will get rid of any feelings associated with the problem, but it did for me. Forgiveness doesn’t mean everything is now fine, nor that the other person needs to stay in your life. That’s right, you still have control even when you forgive.
Forgiveness for me was one of the most peaceful encounters of my life that I can remember. And no, I chose not to keep that person in my life. Why? I found it a risk, and so I decided I would not place myself in such a vulnerable position ever again. All these years later, I am happy with my decision.
Forgiveness is not done for the other person! Its something you do for you.
It’s not easy…untill you let go and accept your decision to forgive
Isn’t it amazing; if forgiveness can help you heal, why can we find it so difficult to do? I found forgiveness to be a “talent” and it’s not easy to do or to want to do. Just because I forgave at that time of my life, at that stage of my maturation and education, would I have forgiven… say if it was 5 years earlier? Possibly not. I guess I’ll never know. What I do know however, is that you can decide to forgive, even if it’s a long time after the event. One may say that it’s never too late. Both points can be argued. But lets not argue.
Forgiveness can be therapeutic
If you forgive, there is a therapeutic essence in this; you let go of anger or resentment and thus negative feelings tend to leave you and you may feel a sense of peace. This alone is healing. A purposeful goal for any client in therapy.
Forgiving yourself…is part of the journey to healing
Not only can we forgive others, but we can forgive ourselves. Forgiveness is a unique journey of healing. It was many years ago I listened to a relative of mine talk about her family dramas. It was so many years ago, that I do not remember the content well, I only remember the people that she spoke about. I remember her concluding statement was:
“…I forgive him…but most importantly I forgive myself.”
This statement impacted me and turned my life around. It was that night that her statement healed me. I cannot even tell you how. All I did is embrace her statement. I took it on board because I really liked it. Perhaps I found it empowering. I was admiring her story and the way she told it. I found myself in a trance over it, and the empowering suggestion of forgiving myself embedded into me at a deeper level. Now that I’m a hypnotherapist, I explain the process that way. Infact, much of our learning has taken place that way. Forgiveness is a unique journey of healing.
Ever since that night it kept repeating in my head, and I found a way to relate it to my personal story. It sounds easy doesn’t it… I genuinely and successfully forgave the person I held responsible for my hurt and resentment. And I forgave myself. I wasn’t sure what I was forgiving myself for, but it felt good to apply, and I still say it. It’s a mature thing to say, and it makes me feel good. It appears to serve me well, no doubt. And if you think about it, or at least if I think about it, I can find many reasons why I find forgiving myself useful in my personal context.
I also use this in therapy and I find others embrace the idea too.
Since that time, I have felt no anger or resentment. I feel at peace, and I am grateful for my experience. It showed me how proud of myself I am for finding the way to move away from that situation. Hypnotherapy can be a useful pathway for forgiveness.
There is a healthy way to forgive yourself. You can relieve yourself of unpleasant feelings such as guilt and shame. However, there may be cases that forgiveness reduces empathy, and reduces the drive to make amends. Be aware of this.
A process…that turns out to be unique to healing
It is important not to try to forgive if you are not willing to. You need to experience and release your anger and pain first if necessary. In fact pay attention to all your emotions. This is real important. It’s a process that needs to unfold. And each person is different. This means each person has their own unique process of healing.
After you have been wronged, you feel emotions. When they pass, you may be faced with the opportunity to forgive. What will happen if you do? You may let go of grief and judgement, and you may repair yourself. This worked for me. But lets be honest, sometimes we may find it impossible to forgive. We can only do the best that we can at any given moment of our life. The choice becomes ours, and sometimes we do not have a choice. So go easy on yourself. You may find yourself being wronged by others many times, or that the process of forgiveness alone makes you more angry. Self assessment is important to get to know yourself and where you are at with your anger, your decisions, your feelings, etc. The process cannot be rushed, to say the least..
Forgiving can be difficult…but its part of the process
What if you want to forgive and you find it difficult? Thoughts of retribution or revenge may be a reason. However you can work on this. You can for example work on controlling which thoughts serve you and which do not. This is a technique often explored in hypnosis.
Your experience is unique…as will be your healing
You may not even know how to resolve the situation. For instance you may prefer to keep the feeling of adrenaline that anger gives you. Have you noticed some people also enjoy sitting in the victim space. Some fear that forgiving the other person(s) may mean they need to connect or disconnect from them, and they feel uncomfortable about this. Each person has individual needs. And thus, each person’s experience is unique and must be considered uniquely. Remember forgiveness is a unique journey of healing.
Be patient…forgiveness takes time
So whats the best thing to do here? Find a way to get to know yourself. Get to know how you think and feel with different situations. Become familiar with your boundaries and your personal needs. This too is part of the process, and will no doubt lead you to the right direction for you at a personal level.
Realise and acknowledge your growth and experience since the incident.
The power of your perspective
Think about the other person (Why do you think they behaved that way? What need were they trying to meet?). Yes, this is your perspective, and sometimes that’s all we have to work with…your perspective. How will you choose to perceive a situation? One may also decide to change your perspective. It may not be such a bad idea to view it with different perspectives. This may lead you towards the path of forgiveness and ultimately personal peace.
By forgiving, as mentioned you do not need to tell them, and you still will remember what happened but you would have worked through the feelings. You may even grow from this experience and therefore create stronger boundaries, or find a way to get your own needs met.
Good luck, forgive me if I wrote anything that you do not agree with….I’ll even forgive myself.
Just for fun click here for 5 ways to forgive yourself -wikiHow
Remember forgiveness is a unique journey of healing.
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