Once our journey of healing is well on it's way, we find that we have ample opportunities to forgive people.
Forgiving is a lot about remembering.
1. We remember what happened.
It's first remembering what happened and acknowledging that we didn't like it. It's saying specifically, I did not like that! Wow! Boy ever did I not like that one bit.
Of course we are all pretty good at this step. We replay our stories over and over in our heads like bad late night tv. All the classics!
And that's an important step in remembering, but we all too often stop here.
2. We remember why we didn't like it.
The only reason we ever don't like something (anything) is when it pushes us outside of knowing who we really are. If it felt bad it's because it didn't honor your wholeness, your dignity, your worthiness.
We are unconditional love at our core essence. We are pure presence. We arrive in this world knowing that full well. We accept and love ourselves just the way we are, with no concerns or complaints. We accept our needs and make it known when we have them. We have no guilt about showing up, having needs and asking for them to be met.
We experience contrasting situations when our parents or caregivers for many reasons are unable to gaze at us with that same pure unconditional love and acceptance. Society and culture and personal history result in our parents passing along intense fears and extreme false beliefs. Because they have not had the chance to remember.
And it feels bad because it doesn't match who we really are. Anything that is not Love will not feel good to you. Every time.
The particulars of each story are more significant and have to be worked out too. For example, many of my clients simply had parents that were not able to attune to them. (Match the timing and quality and nuance of expression) So, when we realize "I didn't like that interaction because it wasn't attuned." We have more clarity about what it was in particular that we didn't like. And as a result we become more clear on what we DO want.
When our caregivers remain unaware and sick, eventually it erodes away our sense of trust and we forget. All that remains is a stake through our hearts. One that we often need compassion and safety within a relationship to remove. (That's one place where I can come in, btw!)
BONUS SIDE NOTE: Did you know that if you are stuck blaming someone for something, it actually means you learned that from them? In other words, they blame themselves. Your beliefs about them came from them. Those were their thoughts. They knew that what was happening didn't match their own true selves. But so few of us have been offered the kind of compassion and honesty that allows us to put down our defenses long enough to truly remember (and change).
3. We remember our bodies.
Your body holds the key.
*caveat* After years of mistreatment and being in a state of unawareness, we start to get the signals all mixed up. So don't expect this to be automatically true if you've been long ignoring your body signals. Getting things flowing again starts with feeling your feelings.
After we acknowledge what happened and why we didn't like it, we open ourselves back up to feeling.
And a lot of times that means we find deep grief (for so many reasons) a big one being that we lost so much time and life that we can not get back. We grieve for the limitations we endured from having that stake in our hearts. We finally feel those old backlogged feelings and release the old data which has been stored in our bodies for years. As the tears escape and the deepest grief is felt we can acknowledge, "this is how I felt then. this is what it felt like in my body." Usually this is crying or shaking or other kinds of movement.
And as you do this, we get to come home to ourselves. We begin to befriend our bodies again. We begin to see that the sensations in our bodies are healthy and helpful and guiding us towards freedom.
4. We remember other perspectives.
As the old feelings are expressed and our brains move out of signaling flight/fight, we are able to take new perspective on the whole thing. Suddenly we have flexibility of thinking where we didn't before. We can re-learn and re-parent and re-structure those old beliefs that held us down. We can actually see that it wasn't our fault, that we couldn't have made it any different, that we were not bad, that what we did only made sense. We even start to see the other person differently.
When we don't have to avoid the truth of how it felt, what we needed and the old thoughts and beliefs that we innocently took on, we can slowly, gently open to Love.
5. We remember who we are.
Once this process is complete, we are freshly aware of who we really are. We are restored. We are offered redemption. We are offered another chance in a fresh new way to become the most alive version of ourselves. We can access our creativity. We can access our joy. We discover talents and skills we had long forgotten. We have all the energy to do the things we feel called towards. We are no longer looking at life through the inside of the closed door. We can declare to our hearts, you are safe now! Swing the door open and step out into the space that is meant for you.
This is your life, this is your one sacred life. Make it your own. You deserve to live. You deserve to feel. You deserve to create richness and enjoy it.
When you know who you are and you live a life that matches who you are, things are truly good. Things are always getting better.
You are growing. You are expanding. You are becoming. You are learning. You are pure positive presence. You are life itself. You are burgeoning. You are infinite. You are eternal. You are supported. You are capable. You are Love. You are yes.
Imagine that kind of life every day...
6. We practice remembering.
We repeat this process again and again. Seventy times seven times, even. It will become a way of life, remembering. We come back to ourselves again and again, each time more brilliant than the last.
We begin our healing from where we are.
Where you are is good. Where you are is the only place to start. I would love to support you in this beautiful process of remembering. Email me to start working in a counseling relationship. I take great care to form meaningful and safe relationships with my clients.
Also, if you're wanting to get started in a more personal way, check out one of my favorite podcasts: https://www.liveawakeproject.com/show-reel. All of these episodes go hand in hand with the process I've described above.