There are many things I could talk about this month, and maybe I might have time to do another post later before the month is over, but there is one subject that jumped out at me to share. This topic is a reoccurring thing for me, and I feel the need to share and talk about it with others because it really is an important thing to know and understand. I want to talk about forgiveness—forgiveness to others, but most importantly, forgiveness to ourselves.
I used to shy away from that word—forgiveness. I never really understood why. Nowadays I understand all too clearly. I shied away because I couldn’t bring myself to forgive myself, or anyone else. This stemmed from a lack of compassion. My heart over time had become so full of all the wrongs in this world, I couldn’t conceive of trying to make anything right.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed if we were never taught how to combat overwhelming things. If we never learned the tools to move past the daily hurts and see the positive in every situation. If we never allowed ourselves to feel deep compassion for ourselves or for others, because that’s not how we are taught to interact in our society. When our hearts become closed and hardened, forgiveness becomes impossible.
I can’t speak for all people, but I can say that for me forgiveness has been the hardest lesson of all to learn. We typically learn from an early age that the blame always falls with someone else. And maybe at times this is the case. Maybe there are many people who have hurt us along the way, but I think in some ways we do invite this sort of hurt onto ourselves. Because deep down we are nursing something that needs to be brought to light, but are not able to do so for one reason or the other. We think we don’t deserve better, or we simply feel helpless to do anything about anything.
But if we are to truly move forward and have well-balanced lives, we have to learn to open our hearts and forgive. Learning how to forgive, and to forgive often, is how true happiness can be found.
Forgiveness is something I have started to welcome into my life on a regular basis. It’s never easy dwelling on the thing(s) that make us uncomfortable, but if real growth and progress is wanted, then we really have to become close friends with uncomfortable to some degree. This is where compassion becomes necessary as it helps to ease the hurt and uncomfortable feelings.
What’s the big deal anyways? Why is forgiveness so important?
Because if we don’t learn to forgive, then we stay stuck in very damaging behaviors and cycles that just keep pulling us down. We can’t break free because we haven’t learned the lesson. We haven’t taken steps to feel compassion for ourselves for messing up (sometimes messing up over and over—I’m Queen of that by the way). Once we can forgive, then the healing can begin.
I have found that forgiveness is usually an everyday thing. I can’t just forgive myself once, be done, and move on. I usually have to forgive myself multiple times before I can truly move on and accept that forgiveness.
My favorite way to forgive is to write it out. I write a letter to the person I need to forgive. I then decide if that letter needs to be given to that person, or if I need to just keep it to myself. If I decide not to send it, then I usually burn it.
Burning is very cathartic. It really helps to release the emotions holding that situation hostage in the heart. I have gotten to where I do burnings quite often, and it helps every single time.
I also write letters to myself. I have written many, many of these kinds of letters. Some of them I feel moved to burn to help release the situation more. Some don’t need to be burned just the act of writing it all out is enough. Each time I write the letters, I feel something deep being peeled away.
It’s not easy opening up and going into these deep, and sometimes dark places, but I find that the more I make it a habit to push through and do it anyways, the easier it does get. In fact, I feel empowered each time because now I am not just in reactive mode, I am actively making changes toward a better future, and better me.
It’s a good feeling, knowing that my hard work is paying off. I see amazing amounts of evidence of it in my life. Forgiveness has allowed me to have a new start in life. I am in a much better place in my heart now, and as a person, because I have allowed myself to forgive—to forgive myself and to forgive others. Forgiveness truly is a very powerful way to deep and lasting healing.