The concept of forgiveness is very noble and we are told it is the right thing to do, but sometimes it is not so easy.
Even when we know that forgivness is not saying the other person was right we may still crave completion, an apology, a way to prevent it from happening to someone else, retribution, or even just understanding what happened.
Forgiveness is a complex subject and we each have our own way of being with it. But, many people get stuck on the word and the idea of what they feel they should do when all they feel is beaten up. And then, they judge themselves for not being able to forgive and long for the relief it would bring. Sound familiar?
When my clients find it hard to forgive and move forward, I suggest they forget about forgiveness. Yep, you read that right. No more trying to forgive. When you try to forgive your focus is on the other person, but true healing is all about you.
Instead of forgiveness, look at the ways the person or situation is still controlling you. How often are thoughts about it playing in your mind? How much is it influencing how you feel? What percentage of your day is impacted by it? Get really clear about the burden it has become.
Make a decision to reclaim your life. To not let what happened continue to hurt you again and again. To truly heal and re-engage with the world in a healthy way. To feel good again.
Let it go! This may be as simple as letting it flow out with your breath, journaling, or creating a ceremony of closure. One of the visualizations that works well for my clients is:
- Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and settle into a relaxed state
- Imagine that the other person has put suction cups on your body and heart that are controlling you and draining your energy
- Sit with the feeling of being drained by the suction cups
- Make a decision to let them go
- Take a deep, deep breath
- When you exhale, let the suction cups fall away (repeat this step if you feel any remaining)
- Breathe in love
If you are finding it difficult to move forward after a challenging experience I encourage you to ask for help. Talk to a trusted friend, counselor, or contact me to schedule an appointment. Healing is a process that can take time, but you are not meant to be stuck in the pain forever.