Posts tagged how to forgive

How to Let Go of Your Pain and Take Hold of Your Life

forgiveness

“Forgiveness is the final form of love.”
– Reinhold Niebuhr

►Have you been holding on to the pain and burden of a terrible childhood, or a traumatic event?
►Getting through your everyday life is like walking through a river of mud.
►Each step is an effort.
►Each step makes you feel more miserable and more drained.
►It takes a lot of energy to stay angry and miserable.
►What if you could feel better?
►What if you could look down on all that anger and misery from a mountaintop, that you climbed!
►You left all the negativity behind.
►You are a fresher and lighter person.

Let me tell you my story of forgiveness.

Over many years, my brother and I were dragged through a very difficult childhood. During the time all I could do was cope with my tumultuous environment. I developed a hard outer shell, grew quiet as a field mouse, and learned a severe form of independence.

Keeping people at arm’s length

I learned that everything I did or said resulted in a painful reaction for me. I just stopped sharing my thoughts and opinions. I was a very quiet and shy kid, got good grades, and faded nicely into the woodwork. Though there were people to whom I felt very close, I couldn’t express it. I didn’t know how to express love. My mom’s hugs were minimal, and she didn’t say she loved me until I was well into adulthood.

My Shell Will Not Crack

Through middle and high school, I found some meaningful friends who were mostly band geeks like me. I was known as a very nice and quiet girl. I never started trouble, respected authority and stayed away from attention as much as possible. I kept up my grades and a good reputation until my sophomore year of high school. I met an older guy, made a series of terrible decisions and made a mess of my life. That is a story for another day.

Acceptance

In the atmosphere of forgiveness, you have to acknowledge that what you see as a person’s limitations are actually the full extent of what he or she is capable. For a long time after I was out on my own, my mom and I talked once every couple of months on the phone and saw each other less. It hurt that I wasn’t able to have a mother-daughter relationship with her. We were more like acquaintances. Over time I accepted that was the most she could do. It made the pain go from a throbbing bruise to a light scratch.

How do you Forgive?

Forgiveness isn’t something that just happens. It requires the surrender of your own ego. You cannot be a stubborn sitting bull and expect to make progress. Much like with addiction recovery, the first step is admitting there is a problem.

With forgiveness, the first step is to understand that it’s not your fault. When you were abused, or otherwise victimized as a child, you had zero control. You had no way to alter your environment or change the people in it. Blaming yourself is not an option.

Putting a stop to blaming yourself alleviates some self-hate. When you stop hating yourself so much, for what was never your fault, your internal compass is free to point towards the source of your anger.

It is OK to be Angry

In fact, it is a necessary part of getting through the mud and funk of a traumatic experience to arrive on in green pasture of forgiveness. Though I absolutely advocate counseling, it isn’t for everyone. You still have to process your anger, though.

►Write down your thoughts
►At whom are you angry?
►What did he/she/they do to you?
►Be as specific as you need.
►How did those actions affect you?

I was Angry, too

Growing up my mom worked as a nurse. When I was in high school she earned her RN degree, and specialized in psychiatric nursing. The latter years of my high school experience were spent slowly spiraling down into a dark well of depression. I was accepted into a prestigious liberal arts college, attended one semester and dropped out.

All I wanted to do was sleep. Unhappiness was my constant companion. Even if given the chance, I would not have been able to express I felt depressed, hopeless and sad.

When I was finally diagnosed in 2005, I was so angry at my mom. Here she was a mental health professional, and I had textbook symptoms of clinical depression.

I was angry because she hadn’t seen me spinning out of control, and sad because maybe she had, and just didn’t care.

Pursuing Wellness

I could not work out my feelings alone. I attended counseling quite often for about two years. With help I was able to understand my mom better, and recognize that she was depressed, too.

Between her own feelings, dancing and tip-toeing around my stepfather’s antics, she wasn’t able to clearly see the world around her.

Compassion

Most people have good intentions. The road to forgiveness becomes less rocky when you realize the person who hurt you didn’t mean to.

About the Author

Jayme Lang lives in Ohio with her husband, two boys, three dogs and five cats. She is an aspiring freelance writer, and can be found on Twitter @pawprint76, and reached at jaymelang.2003@gmail.com.