Having Trouble With Forgiveness? Try This.

Forgiveness is such a powerful practice and can yield a healthy detachment from some of the things that bother us most in life.  Yet, it can be hard to do.  The good news is, how easy or difficult it feels may truly be within our power, and less about the offense than we may originally realize.  This is what I'm referring to: I have experienced an order of actions, that if taken, will not only make our acts of forgiveness come more easily, but may make us feel so peaceful and relieved we may no longer feel so strongly about continuously engaging with an offense.  Bonus?  We may truly be able to let it go and put a stop to continuously churning the offense through our thought loops or through a need to muster up a decision to render forgiveness or not.  The "magical" order is this: YOU first, them second. 

a woman sitting in the sand with her hand on her chin

If you've ever struggled with forgiveness, which most of us have, you'll be pleased to know relief is within your grasp in using this order.  It isn't realistic to think that we will never be hurt by another or find a reason for which we need to forgive ourselves.  Neither is it realistic to believe we will not have challenges that make us feel angry, scared, frustrated or sad.  What we sometimes do when we think about these offenses, is we churn the feelings via the stories we tell ourselves and others.  We keep the offenses alive, and breathe life into them each time we roll over the series of unforgivable words or actions, making it harder and harder to forgive.  Each time, it feels like a suffocating re-injuring process has occurred and can make the wound feel even deeper and more long lasting. And hence, pushing forgiveness into a realm of even greater difficulty.  This pattern if left unchecked can become crippling.  However, once we realize there is a better way, we can take a new action and avoid torturing ourselves by all the unkind and unnecessary repetition.

a woman laying in a bathtub covered in plastic

This means, if we stop telling the story over and over, something new can happen.  We can actually decide to be brave enough to try a new approach, and take the time to feel those feelings, to walk toward them instead of away from them, be with them, explore them and to begin the process of deeply understanding what part of us was hurt during the offense.  Here, do not be mislead to believe feeling our feelings means taking action on them.  Rather it means simply being with them.  Our feelings may represent a wound from childhood that still is festering or it may be something more recent.  Regardless, a commitment to being with our feelings, to feel them and take gentle inquiry of them, to let them move through us in their own unique way and grow into their pitch, allows them to speak to us, to express in a way that they can be deeply heard.  Doing so gives them "permission" to soften, disperse and move out so we can experience a more peaceful inner space and true relief.

a man with long hair wearing a white robe

I, like you, have been deeply hurt by certain people in my life, in both childhood and adulthood.  Yet, until I began practicing this method also known in psychological circles as "Parts Work," forgiving seemed either more challenging or somehow incomplete.  Because I believe in forgiveness, I am willing to forgive.  However, once I made the choice to take more loving responsibility for my own feelings first and listen to what they were trying to show and tell me, things changed.  I dove deeply into my own mind and heart.  It was there that I began to understand which part of my personality was hurt, and through a process of gentle inquiry, held myself in a state of witnessing on both the physical and emotional levels.  As the hurt fully showed itself, it also began to unravel and I started to feel a fresh, new sense of resolve. 

a woman in a black bra looking through a hole in a sheet

The resulting offense with which I started was now greatly decreased.  In some cases, it had completely shifted to the point of me wondering why I even felt I needed to forgive it.  Here I don't mean that what happened didn't matter in the small context, but at times that I felt such a sense of relief and ease, the inner peace I experienced as a result of the process was much "larger" and dwarfed the feelings of hurt.  It just seemed like nothing more needed to be done; as if it was already forgiven and I had moved on.  By grace the heaviness "lifted."  And after spending so many years in repetitive "story" with old offenses, I have to say this process feels incredibly empowering, miraculous and divine. 

a staircase leading to an open door in the desert

This completely changed my relationship with forgiveness.  I believe it is because I got the order right.  First attend to my feelings, then if necessary, the offense of the other.  After having done so, connecting with the part of me that felt the offense most deeply, was able to receive this beautiful relief and unfolding inner clarity.  That experience helped me to see how doing Parts Work made forgiving more natural and effortless. This has saved me so much anxiety, so much mental churning; that pesky wear and tear on my psyche and physical body.  It has expedited the process of releasing the inner hurts and is my personal proof of what can happen when we tend to ourselves with love and listen with honor to our noble souls.

So if you too have some challenges with forgiving yet want to move past the hurts to better times, you may want to do a little research on Parts Work from a qualified professional who teaches the process either in person or on the internet.  When we get the order right by tending to our own feelings first and allowing their truth to be expressed, only then will we decide with wise authority what comes next relative to the "offender."  Once you experience the peace that comes from using this process and the state of relief that results, I can almost guarantee you will see and feel differently and more positively than you ever expected.

a woman standing in front of a body of water

I will leave you with this: may forgiveness never feel like a burden, a chore or cause for anguish or guilt.  May you learn the power of being a loving witness, holding yourself in high esteem and committing to listening deeply and beneficially.  May you always be willing to give agency to dissolving and releasing stories keeping you from experiencing your birthright: true peace.

Always for YOU,

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