I thought I would never move on from the feelings I had for this guy, but I did. See, not all of you humans reading this could relate to this silly incident, but I know a lot of you have had your hearts crushed by little circumstances that you can happily laugh at today.
It takes time to forgive, it takes time to heal.
I want to talk about forgiveness because I believe that it is something that is necessary for you to work on and have in order to heal, let go of the past and grow into the person you are destined to turn into.
People have wrong perceptions about what forgiveness means. Here are a few:
Forgiving means forgetting. I would have to disagree! Your brain doesn’t just stop remembering something that has really affected you. Instead of dwelling on the past, you are now free to protect yourself and move on from the pain and the hurt.
Forgiving means you’re a pushover. Nope. I find that forgiving puts you in a position of strength. You can still hold people accountable, but you take away that person’s power to hurt you.
Forgiving means you can’t get angry. You can still get angry. You don’t excuse unkind, inconsiderate, selfish behavior nor minimize your own pain.
Forgiving means reconciliation. Not always! It just gives you emotional space to make decisions that are best for you. It helps you decide, with strength and confidence, what’s best for you. You can decide if you want to work things out, walk away or do something else. You have the power to decide sitting in your own lap.
So, why should we forgive?
“The Stanford Forgiveness Project has shown that learning to forgive lessens the amount of hurt, anger, stress and depression that people experience. People who forgive also become more hopeful, optimistic and compassionate and have enhanced conflict resolution skills. This research also found that people who forgive report significantly fewer physical symptoms of stress such as a backache, muscle tension, dizziness, headaches and upset stomachs. The act of forgiveness also increases energy and overall well-being.” – Lisa Tams, Michigan State University Extension.
After reading that I bet you’re thinking something along the lines of: “But how do I forgive someone for something that caused me so much pain. I can never fully get over what happened…”
Well my friend, you are not alone. There are things that have happened in my life, and things I have experienced in my own head, that have made me believe I can never forgive and move on. But, let me encourage you by telling you there are healthy ways to forgive.
Time is on your side. As each day passes, here are ways you can start to forgive:
Acknowledge the pain you feel and recognize who is responsible for causing that pain.
Express your emotions in healthy ways. Do things you love doing (reading a book, going for a walk, working out, making yourself a beautiful dish of food or even making a smoothie, writing in your journal, etc).
Release any expectations you have of righting the wrong that was done to you. You can’t right the wrong. The only thing you can do is forgive and grow.
Be mindful of or restore your boundaries so that this doesn’t happen again. Remind yourself that people cannot give you what they don’t have. Remember what to expect of others.
Find new ways to get your needs met in the future.
Learning to forgive requires acceptance by acknowledging that what happened really happened, instead of wishing it were different.
Release the unhealthy attachment you previously maintained concerning how the other person behaves.
Reframe your life story and find meaning in the broken places. Redefine, recreate and restructure your life. If praying to God helps you, then do it. If it’s meditating, using essential oils to heal in your own little space, then do it. Find ways to help yourself feel comfortable, and healthy accepting what has happened, and inspiring yourself to move forward.
I never thought I would forgive the boy that broke my heart. I never forgot how I was treated, but I did grow from it and I forgave him. While it took some time to process, it was the best thing I could ever do for myself. I did it, and so could you.
Who in your life do you need to forgive? Think about it and start finding healthy ways to start that adventure. Let it be something that is positive rather than negative.
Forgiveness is not an easy journey, but it is one that will be worth your while. Have a blessed Sunday everyone.