Dear Natural Healing for Women Community;
In the current climate of #MeToo, when so many of us are coming to grips with those who have wronged us, I thought to share my meditations on forgiveness, and how to free your self from feelings of victimization.
I’ve seen so much written recently about forgiveness…it seems to be the trend of the moment within new age, spiritual thought circles.
And the particular bent on the subject getting the most traction explains how forgiveness is not for the person you’re forgiving, but rather, for your own Self: to release the burden of resentment, anger and bitterness in your own heart.
Yes! I absolutely agree with this more enlightened perspective on forgiveness… in contrast with say, the image of Jesus on the cross referencing his persecutors, “forgive them Father, for they know not what they do…” In other words, the traditional notion of forgiveness as a selfless or altruistic act, releasing the other person from their injustices because you’ve decided to be the “bigger” person.
I’ll tell you, I’ve always had a problem with the idea that we need to forgive those who has wronged us, because I think that the focus is misplaced. And I’m here to say that you don’t need to forgive anyone in order to let go of the burdens associated with mistreatment.
If you have feelings of resentment towards someone who has wronged you…I get it, and know the feeling well! And that’s why I know that you’d probably love to find a way out, because it’s no fun to be plagued by resentments and the obsessive loops that play out in your mind over and over.
But the paradox is this: even though it feels so awful to harbor hurt and resentment, it may also feels impossible to shake. If it were easy to let go, you would have done it a long time ago, right?!?
So the problem I have with all I’ve seen written on the subject of forgiveness is that there’s still no explanation for HOW exactly to accomplish it. Because here’s the thing: you can no sooner will yourself into forgiving someone whose wronged you, than you can will yourself into swallowing a 20-pound bag of dirt. It’s not going to happen. And you can’t “think positive thoughts” your way into it either. True forgiveness is a profound letting go that occurs as a deep spiritual release.
I’m going to try to help you do just that, because I know how painful emotions can get stuck in your body, and actually create ill health. Yes, illness can stem from the harboring of toxic emotional baggage: resentment, bitterness, stagnant grief and prolonged rage. It’s imperative to to release these blocks from our heart and cells in order to keep the body and psyche in optimal health. So, how to find a way out of resentment and let go???
Okay, here’s what you need to know:
Letting go of anger/resentment is a process that must be committed to. It has it’s own rhythm, and is definitely not linear. It may feel like one step forward, two steps back, but that’s okay as long as the energy of anger, resentment and hurt continues to move. Ways to keep this energy moving is through journaling, talking with trusted friends and therapists, moving your body through exercise, yoga or dance, singing, making art…you get the picture. As long as you’re not denying the existence of your painful feelings, but rather allowing them to move through you by utilizing one of these outlets, you will continue to release in your own timing. And very importantly, you need to celebrate yourself for your efforts, because it’s not easy but you’re doing it!
Your anger needs to be honored because it serves a vital function. Anger acts as a boundary saying, “NEVER AGAIN”. It’s a placeholder between the strength you’re learning to possess, and the part of you that was taken advantage of. Until you’re solid in your stance and no longer feel vulnerable to this person and others like them, anger creates a definitive line that tells others they may not cross. In this way, anger serves as your protector. You can thank your anger for functioning for you in this way, supplying you with strength and grit. I want you to actually show your anger some love, and then…watch it soften and shift.
Here are the 3 insights that I’ve learned along the way that have been the most helpful for me:
1) Let go of the belief that you need to FORGIVE the person that’s wronged you. That’s right, it’s actually unnecessary, and a waste of effort. Instead, you can decide to leave that person to their own devices and their own karmic mess. That person does not need to be a part of the equation of letting go of the pain you hold around them. What IS necessary however, is to acknowledge your own feelings and where they are held in your body. Tune into them, claim them as your own and understand that they are existing within you, devoid of who they are connected to. Make a decision to work on letting go of these painful feelings in order to reclaim your freedom. Then…
2) Trace your hurt back to an earlier injury, or as my therapist says, “Go Early.” This means that karmic themes tend to repeat themselves throughout our lives, and whatever situation or painful hurt we find ourselves in often reflects an earlier wounding stemming from your family of origin. Most of us are walking around with buried hurts that have occurred in our most formative years, and are still unresolved. Commonly, we find ourselves in relationships that mimic these original hurts. You can actually appreciate the painful situation at hand, if it enlightens you to an earlier trauma that you can now work on releasing. When you’re able to trace your pain back to the original wounding, the current person or situation at hand often loses significance.
3) Know that Justice is not in your hands. We often hold onto resentment because we fear that if we were to let go, its akin to letting this person off the hook, and then justice will not be served. However, unless you’re actually bringing this person to court, know that you are not the force that brings the offender to justice. Rather, you can let go, choosing to trust in a higher law of justice and surrender it all to this Higher Power. You can think of this power as Divine Justice, Karma, Right Order or God/Goddess. It doesn’t matter. What matters is your acknowledgement that bringing this person to justice is not in your hands, and holding faith that there is a force in the Universe that oversees karma and has a greater intelligence then you. It’s the acknowledgement that you can’t necessarily see or understand the larger picture in the moment. So, even if this person appears as though they’ve gotten away with murder, you can’t know the truth of their reality or how they’re faring. But you can have faith that everyone gets their karmic due.
In essence, letting go of the pain of victimization is a practice and a discipline. But it’s vital work because painful emotional baggage can lead to mood disorders, chronic pain, and even serious disease. Make a commitment to let go of these burdens as an act of self-love…for your own health, sanity and general flow with life. From the stance of Self-Love, you will find your power, your strength, your softness and ultimately release.
Sending Love for Health and Healing..today and Always,
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