21st June 2021

Well isn’t this a can of worms hmmmm?

People talk about forgiveness like it’s the easiest thing in the world to do but honestly, I’ve found this to be the biggest speed bump in my own life. I mean, some things just seem unforgivable right? Some things are so incredibly painful and scarring, how do you forgive those?

I’ve talked to many people and read many books in my life asking and seeking how to truly forgive. I found many differing answers …. that I must forgive if I am to live a Christian life; that to be spiritual is to forgive all; everything happens for a reason so it’s ok whatever it was; you’re only ever given what you can handle; or, as it’s in the past so no longer part of your present, it must be forgiven for you to be able to live your life freely and honestly the list goes on and on.

What I’ve found by my own personal experience is this:

I am human.

No matter how long ago or recent the pain or act that occurred that “needs forgiving” occurred, I experienced it. And within that experience was an event or act that changed my life somehow. I need time to process that. And some things that happened in my life have been so big, that the person telling me that I need to forgive that or else, quite simply, made me just wanna tell them to F off.

Forgiveness, like all acts of conscious choices in healing, is a layered personal process. So I start with myself first. I decided that with some things that occurred I honestly can’t or don’t forgive that person …. yet. But what I will do is forgive myself for being unable to right now. Forgive myself for any behaviours I’m not proud of that may have been a direct consequence of that hurt. Show myself compassion and understanding as I take steps to heal wounds deeper than I wanted to experience.

I pick one small thing and I hold that moment close and I physically place my hands over my heart while I feel it, and I give myself permission to be ok with all that I have done to get through that pain. And I forgive myself, bit by bit. And then one day, when I feel ready, I take a look toward the event or person and see where my forgiveness level is with that. Rinse and repeat.

Deep wounds often leave you with a level of trauma or PTSD as it’s widely known. This is a whole other topic I will discuss at a later date, however, Gabor Mate says “trauma is not just something terrible happening to you, it’s the not having anyone to hear and protect you or keep you safe..trauma happens because you’re alone with your hurt”. So forgiveness, when you’re also living with PTSD from an event, is multi layered! And having someone speak platitudes to you albeit well-meaning, isn’t always helpful.

Our bodies store so much stuff on a cellular and sub-conscious level, all spectrums of the “good and bad”. Having all that inside of us on the emotional and spiritual level, all comes together to create your responses and reactions. So when you CHOOSE to heal, and face old hurts and wounds, you inadvertently face forgiveness or unforgiveness as well.

You have to choose to put the work in. One day you will surprise yourself and find it doesn’t hurt as much, or that it’s no longer a tangible pain but something that happened in your life. Is there forgiveness there yet? Maybe. Maybe not. Your job is to honour and heal your own wounds, and to recognise no matter what happened to you, you are only responsible for what happens next. Like all things that require healing, there are layers, it’s personal, and you’ll get there. Because you choose to.