Do you strive to live a happy fulfilled life? If you’ve been a victim of trauma or pain chances are you’ve had to forgive that person who caused you suffering in order to move past the experience and get on with your life, but what if you just can’t forgive the person who caused your suffering. Why is forgiveness necessary? We’ve been wronged, and that shouldn’t be ok!
It’s normal to feel pain, anger, frustration, hurt and humiliation when we’ve been victimized and we’re entitled to feel these feelings, let me be very clear about that. We’ve experienced something that will have a lasting impact on the rest of our lives. The inconvenience of having to now learn to accept this is going to be difficult.
But here’s the hardcore truth through, if you want to live a happy fulfilled joyful life you’ll have to forgive the person who has caused you suffering (including the person who has hurt you the most). This can seem impossible BUT I promise you it’s not.
FORGIVENESS CAN BE A DIFFICULT PROCESS
Some believe that, that by forgiving it means they are condoning the behavior and they will need to forget that the experience happened which they refuse to do and therefore choose to hold onto the anger and resentment. This misconception prevents unhealthy emotions and the inability to move toward finding happiness, peace, and freedom from ever being obtained.
Forgiveness isn’t always easy and it can take time but at some point, you need to make it your goal to work toward forgiving if you’re ever going to want to find happiness.
I’ve learned first hand how important it is to forgive. I was a victim of childhood trauma, abused (physically and psychologically) by my mother. The trauma inflicted on me as a young child continued on into my adolescent and teenage years at which time, I decided to leave the home and go live with my father.
By this time though I was damaged, I had no self-esteem, no self-confidence, and lacked the ability to communicate and meet friends because I had always been taking care of my mother’s needs up until that point.
I remember thinking I’ll never forgive her for what she’s taken from me, how could a parent do that to their child, how could she have inflicted so much pain and trauma on her child for so long.
Fast forward 20 years, I’ve now cut all ties with my mother. I’ve had to sever those ties for my own well being and I have come to terms with that. Part of moving on was forgiving my mother for the suffering she inflicted on me as a child, something I remember thinking I would never do.
She herself had only ever known trauma since she was a young child and I was born into her trauma, repeating the cycle of abuse. As I became older, I gained a better understanding as to why she failed horribly at parenting.
I made a conscious decision that I was going to break the cycle, I was going to live a better life and be a better parent to my children, I forgave her, released the anger and resentment and moved on.
DOES FORGIVENESS MEAN RECONCILIATION?
Choosing to forgive doesn’t mean you have to reconcile with the person who caused you suffering, it merely means that you have chosen to release the hurt and pain that person caused and continues to hold over you. You are essentially forgiving the person for yourself it has nothing to do with the other person who has caused you suffering. You are taking back control of your life and releasing the negativity and resentment that causes unhappiness.
For me, I’ve forgiven my mother, I’m no longer angry or hurt and I have moved on with my life (living my best life I might add). I don’t have a relationship with her because sometimes when the other person doesn’t see any wrongdoing on their part, it’s just easier to move on for your own well being, hence reconciliation is not possible nor is it necessary.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE HOLD ONTO ANGER AND RESENTMENT?
We often tend to have a false sense of power by holding onto anger and resentment and not forgiving those who hurt us dearly, but in fact that negativity eventually will turn itself inward because it has nowhere else to go and by holding onto it we begin self-destructive behaviors and, self-sabotaging cycles because that’s what holding onto negativity does.
The reality is, most of us at one time or another throughout our lives have been victimized but if you hold onto that anger and resentment you will most likely get stuck in what’s known as a ‘victim mentality’, thriving on being the victim, obsessing how horrible your life has turned out and chances are you’ll end up pushing people away and friends and family will start to avoid you and your negativity.
Letting go doesn’t mean that what happened to you is ok, forgiveness is the act of releasing yourself from the negativity that was produced within you from your past experience(s).
Remember this, the past is just that, THE PAST it doesn’t exist anymore and when we carry negativity from a past place that no longer exists, we will never find happiness and peace of mind.
WHY IS FORGIVENESS NECESSARY FOR YOUR HAPPINESS?
When we forgive those who have caused us pain and suffering we do this for ourselves, NOT for the person who caused us suffering. It is the final step of healing, releasing the anguish and ache another has caused and taking away that power they essentially hold over us causing negativity and unhappiness.
When we realize this and forgive those who have hurt us it allows you to focus on what’s important in our lives and releases the hold they have over us. It moves us away from feeling bitter and miserable.
LEARNING TO FORGIVE THOSE WHO HURT US
So how do we begin to think about forgiving those who have hurt us? How do we start to change the way we feel about that person and what they’ve done? Well it’s going to take some work on your part, but the ultimate payoff is your happiness, so believe me, it’s worth it.
Focus on the present – think about what’s important to you now, is it your family, friends, growth? Whatever it may be remain focused on that rather than the past.
Commit to letting go – this will be hard and it won’t happen overnight – but with a consistent focus on what is important to you now and focusing on the present, you are essentially training your mind to move away from past thoughts.
Allow peace to enter your life – well wouldn’t we all just love that?? We, in fact, have to make this happen, it’ just doesn’t miraculously show up, unfortunately. Meditate, sit in nature and listen to the sounds of waterfalls and birds, we actually have to quiet ourselves to begin to listen for our inner quietness (or wisdom is what I like to call it) because this will actually guide you into doing what you need to do to find happiness.
Do the unthinkable, empathize – you heard me right! This may sound absolutely ludicrous but you’ll need to practice this if you’re going to make sense as to why this person has hurt you.
Realize you have a choice – believe it or not, we have a choice as to whether we forgive someone who has caused us suffering. We can hold onto that pain for the rest of our lives OR we can do the work to forgive that person and release the negativity and free ourselves to live a happier fulfilled life.
IN CONCLUSION| FORGIVENESS IS WORTH IT
Ask yourself this, do you want to be happy and free from suffering? If so, you’ll have to make it a priority to forgive those who have caused you pain and suffering.
This won’t be easy, and it will be work on your part but it is absolutely necessary. When we choose to forgive it doesn’t condone the act nor does it mean we have to forget it. We are simply letting go of any suffering and pain that the person continues to hold over us. We are letting go of resentment and negativity allowing ourselves to focus on what is important to us in the present.
Forgiving someone does not mean that reconciliation necessary, you are in fact forgiving the person for yourself, it has nothing to do with the other person.
It may seem impossible at first, but you have a choice and you can put in the effort to forgive those who have caused you suffering, I promise you, it’s worth the effort because what you gain in return is magical, it’s freedom.
Leave me a comment below and let me know what your experiences have been with forgiveness.