We are complex beings. We each come to relationships with friends, family and loved ones with our own perspectives, past, and way of being. As a result, these relationships can sometimes be messy. They can be deep, loving and unexpectedly nourishing. But they can also be scary, painful, and result in lasting scars. This is a normal part of life, although a painful one as well.
Are you holding onto situations, resentments, or lasting pain in your life? If you are, I’ll tell you now that you’re in the vast majority. So many people walk around carrying these heavy weights. But pause to recognize that
YOU DESERVE TO LIVE A LIGHTER LIFE, HAVING LET THESE PAINS GO
There are two significant myths surrounding forgiveness, and these misconceived notions encourage people to keep carrying these painful burdens:
1. Forgiveness means I won’t find closure
Forgiveness and letting go can feel like giving up on understanding the full situation and finding closure. And many people become addicted to trying to understand what really happened. What was the other person thinking or going through that caused them to act in this way? What did they think of me, what did they misunderstand? What have I misunderstood? We tell ourselves stories in the process to try to fill in the gaps because this is how our minds cope with traumatic or painful situations. This causes destructive rumination with negative self-talk that can be difficult to recognize let alone try to end the cycle to. Often times, life doesn’t come with full explanations. Sometimes there simply aren’t answers to our questions. Forgiveness and feeling closure doesn’t come from having our questions answered, it comes from our own process of healing and letting go. When we have the courage to nourish ourselves and intentionally move on, this is when the healing process begins. And this creates a form of closure in itself, even if it’s unconventional.
2. If I forgive them, I’m letting them off the hook
Forgiveness is not about minimizing the other person’s actions or dismissing the harm they caused. It’s about recognizing that you deserve to move through your life without the painful burden of holding onto this experience each day. And your body holds this hurt just as much as your mind until you’re ready to process forgiveness. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you’re erasing this experience from your narrative and starting with a blank slate. You deserve to move forward with this experience in a new way. A lighter way. Take the lessons of potentially strengthened boundaries or self-worth. Increase your awareness of your own behaviour patterns that you can shift to possibly avoid this experience in the future (if this seems applicable).
One of the most beautiful parts of forgiveness is learning to see people as they are in this moment, not the image you have stuck in your mind. When we feel hurt, we have a tendency to take our association of someone and lock it in an invisible vault. In releasing this vault, we create freedom in our own lives. It lightens our emotional burden. It also mirrors what you deserve in your own life. You deserve to have people meet you where you are in this moment. We are more than our thoughts and more than our feelings. More than the choices we made in our past. Choose to value your own wellbeing by beginning the process of forgiveness wherever you need it most in your life.
disclaimer: there are certain extenuating life circumstances in which forgiveness may not be the best choice of action. If you are struggling with this issue, please reach out to a mental health professional for support.