“Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other to die!” – Buddha
When holding onto anger can destroy us…
So why forgive? We do it for ourselves and to be able to live in peace. We do it for others so we can love and be part of a family and a community, and become stronger, not to be torn apart.
Forgiving doesn’t give anyone permission to hurt us!
It gives us permission to heal!
I read this article written my the mother of a mass killer, the man who had killed sweet Amish girls, and I cried. People in the Amish community came to her and her husband to share a message of love and forgiveness, and the outward ripples now are for each of us!
“If we cannot forgive, how can we be forgiven?” – lesson from the Amish
Forgiveness… Such an old fashioned sounding word, yet something so very much needed today! When we forgive, we can heal and move forward… And we all deserve that!
It was a moment of sudden, healing clarity for me. Forgiveness is a choice. The Amish had made that very clear, but now I knew what it meant: Forgiveness isn’t a feeling. These sweet parents were as grief-stricken as I was, their hearts broken like mine. I did not have to stop feeling anger, hurt and utter bewilderment at the horrific decisions Charlie had made. I only had to make a choice: to forgive.
And I understood the other part of what the Amish had said: If we cannot forgive, how can we be forgiven? I am not a murderer, but I have committed wro
ngs as well. And I was forgiven! How can I, in turn, not offer the forgiveness I’ve received — even to my own son? Especially to my own son.
Forgiveness is an enormous step in healing, yet it is probably the most difficult to do.
The inner resistance is incredibly huge, as the hurt person inside cringes at the thought of forgiving the person or people who perpetrated horrors onto themselves or their loved ones.
The inner turmoil easily turns to hatred. The anger is palpable and felt through every fiber of the body, relived very time a thought is triggered.
Yet, if we choose to hold onto the anger, the pain, the bitterness, and the hatred, we become consumed by those emotions, and after a time it eats us up inside so we no longer feel happiness or joy. Positive emotions become foreign.
How is it possible to go from intense hurt, hatred, extreme anger and anguish which consumes the soul?
People who have forgiven those who have hurt them have come to see there are a few important points which are all part of the process:
- Forgiveness is a choice we make
- It’s not so much for others as it is for our own healing
- The act of Forgiveness DOESN’T give the perpetrator permission to ever hurt us again
- By choosing to Forgive, we also remove the power for our perpetrator to continue torture our minds
- Forgiving allows our minds to heal
- No matter how badly we have been hurt, we all deserve to heal
Additional tips to preparing our minds and spirits to forgive:
- People who hurt other people are themselves damaged, for healthy people don’t go around hurting or damaging others
- Perpetrators often lack coping skills for life
- When a perpetrator lashes out at others, they’re expressing their own pain and anger
Forgiving someone in no way implies that the hurtful actions were justified, necessary or acceptable.
The actions still remain unacceptable. When others like me speak of forgiveness, we’re not talking about sanctioning someone else’s behavior. That is simply not what is being said or implied.
My personal lessons with forgiveness:
I’ve been physically and emotionally abused when I was a child, my first husband left the marriage for another woman, my second husband was a narcissist who turned toxic when my youngest granddaughter was re-diagnosed with cancer and I went out to help my daughter with the kids; those are three very traumatic situations I’ve experienced, not to mention many other betrayals or difficult events in my life.
I’ve spent most of my life either experiencing difficult life events, or healing and recovering from them!
I’m no stranger to the concept of forgiveness! I’d like to say that it gets easier each time we’re embarking on a path to healing, but each traumatic event is in itself very difficult to recover from.
Each traumatic event requires making decisions to not be a victim, of deciding to becomes stronger, of healing, and yes, of forgiving.
Each time I’ve had to focus on my recovery I’ve had to make the decision to forgive. Each time I’ve had to struggle with why I don’t want to, and each time I’ve had to examine the situation carefully to learn how I could forgive in that instance.
Remembering that my perpetrators chose their actions which hurt me because they didn’t have better life skills (at the time) to have handled things differently helped me to be able to let go of my intense suffering and anguish.
Reaching a place of Peacefulness with the past.
It took me quite a while to finally reach a place of peacefulness with each situation. I had to approach forgiveness many times, in different layers.
I’d get triggered with memories and each time it happened I was upset to see that my emotions were still affected deep inside the heart of me. Waves of anger or even self-pity would wash over me.
I struggled with depression and negative thoughts about myself.
Each time I had to mindfully talk with myself. I had to give myself positive yet believable self-affirmations.
Bit by bit, piece by piece I was able to remove the negative tapes which my soul had absorbed, and be able to see myself and my life in a
It took work. I have had the loving support of my daughter, other kind family and friends who have helped me see myself in a better light and be able to move forward.
Reaching a place of Peaceful Forgiveness was hard won, and yet so vitally important to my emotional well-being!
If you’re struggling with the concept of forgiving someone
If you’re struggling with the concept of forgiving someone who has hurt or damaged you, please hold on! Please go through the process!
Yes, it’s difficult, but it’s also do-able! Keep going! Keep working on your recovery!
You’re worth it and worthy of also finding peace!
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