Guilt, pain, shame and distress weigh heavily on a soul. With each passing year old memories laden with those emotions get heavier and heavier even as the event itself gets hazier in the mind's eyes. Often you can't say with certainty when it occurred, but you know that it did and you remember vividly how awful you felt.
Without realising it these emotions stagnant and fester, becoming an infection that spreads through your entire being. Left unattended they drown out the good memories and leave you with a history that is full of despair.
From this wretched history looking forward, the future looks bleak and hopeless. The only escape from this prison is to free yourself from the memories by forgiving the persons who were the cause of your pain.
Forgiveness in itself, is an act of self love. It does not absolve the other party of their moral responsibility. Its chief power is to free you from your own self-inflicted disease. Without forgiveness you will unable to move forward with all of your power.
Let me explain.
If you enter into a new situation but you perceive it based on your twisted past, you lose the ability to gain new and fresh treasure. Learning from your past mistakes should not leave you jaded and cold. You should open , but be wise and ready to deal promptly with any hitches that crop up.
One of the greatest hurdles in forgiveness, is to forgive yourself for the role that you played in your trauma. As you are carrying around a chip on your shoulder against the person that inflicted the hurt, you often also carry around an even bigger chip towards yourself for having allowed the situation to happen.
This self-blame is even more profound if it was a situation that persisted over an extended period of time. In such a case we hold ourself accountable for allowing it to continue when we knew better. The disease of self-hatred, coupled with holding onto despising the person who caused the injury, results in you being unable to see the world with positive optimism.
The truth is that when you harshly judge another, you are often disturbed mostly by the reflection of your own shortcomings that you see in theirs. Your intolerance or inability to fully embrace new things without cynicism, comes entirely from the fact that you have yet to move past your pain.
I'll admit, holding onto pain became an addictive habit for me. It was a ready excuse for my failings and mistakes as I progressed though life, and it allowed me 'good reason' to never step out of my comfort zone.
There came a point for me however, when I came to realise that the only one who was hurting me now, was myself. The events of my past which I held within me, like a poison dagger ready to stab in my own feet to impede my progress, was now fuelled only by my continued insistence on not letting go.
To forgive myself, and anyone else who I perceived had wronged me required me to let go, and even more difficult and terrifying, to move forward. I had face the fact that I was terrified of progress, even though I claimed to be dissatisfied with my present position.
Also, in forgiving myself I accepted that the things that happened to me, while they had been monumental at that time, were now simply stepping stones on a long road. They were a chapter in a huge book and it was time to do a synopsis and fully turn the page.
Forgiveness was hard for me to wrap my mind around at first. But I was helped by a pod-cast on forgiveness by Amber Agha which stressed that I was not in so much absolving the person of responsibility but seeing them as just as human as I am. and thus capable of making a mistake.
She said to detach ego from the situation and realise that it wasn't anything about me that caused the problem, per-say. I didn't deserve to be treated badly.
My journey of forgiveness, started when I wrote all of the things I wanted to let go on a paper in red ink. The red ink signified all the pain that I had continually regurgitated for all the years. I wrote and I wrote until the paper was full.
Then I burnt it in a small fire, mixed with the incense of frankincense and myrrh. I mindfully realeased all of the hangups and hurt feelings as the paper burned and I felt a weight lift off of my shoulders as I did so.
It was end of me carrying the load, but it is still next to me. Each day I will work on unpack that bag and setting each and every emotion completely free. Forgiveness is not anyone act, because life will always offer up more lessons of a painful kind.
Forgiveness is a continual release of baggage before it can fester.
I leave you this.
I forgive myself for letting me down. I forgive myself for being scared. I forgive myself for lying and for hiding behind a mask of happiness when inside I was mess. I love myself for my softness and my vulnerability. I am embrace my inherent sensitivity and I welcome all new experiences with open arms.
I urge you to give yourself the same freedom.