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It was a chilly, crisp Fall morning, and she was wonderfully excited for another day of kindergarten. The brown-eyed four year old stood in her parent’s small kitchen eagerly waiting to run out the door to join her best friend in their new morning walk to school ritual. She adored her friend, always so cute in her Catholic school uniform, the girl cherished their time together before they would separate for the day, her friend off to the Catholic school across the street from the public school she attended.
Sometimes people do things that have us thinking in ways that create pain for us. Sometimes we carry those actions through our life like a horror movie we can’t get out of our heads. Words are spoken, actions are taken that shape us into who we are as an adult, continually creating pain and suffering that we never seem to move past.
That particular morning as that innocent brown-eyed girl stood in that small kitchen, she desperately wanted to run, she didn’t want to hear the words that were filling the air, filling her head, yet she stood frozen.
We have heard it said that hurt people hurt people, logically we get it but do we really? We’re hurt; we hurt people. Can we honestly get into the heart of that person that hurt you to possibly understand that their hurt has nothing to do with you? That their hurt just happened to be poured out on you in that moment, that it wasn’t about you but about their own pain and suffering?
Her mom was saying words that the girl would repress for years, only to wake up many years later to relive the scene, to remember the hurt. She wouldn’t be able to tell you what had happened in her mom’s world that morning to make her say those words. Words screamed out that changed that little girl’s world in ways she would never understand; until fifty years later.
In the past week’s I have been preparing a lesson for Celebrate Recovery, a lesson about repairing relationships. Today I thought I’d share a portion of that message, with some different insights.
What is forgiveness and why it can be a useful tool.
Forgiveness is the action of setting someone free from actions they took that may have harmed us. Around here we use the self-coaching model to look at these circumstances of words said or not said, actions taken or not taken. Those actions are circumstances in our model and we have thoughts about those actions that generate a feeling for us. Those feelings have us showing up and acting a certain way that is creating a result for us.
Those actions directed at you are also part of the “offender’s” model. They took action based on something they were feeling, created by a thought they were thinking about a circumstance in their life. Plug all of these items into a model and you get their result.
That morning the words “I wish someone would end your life today so I never have to see you again.” rattled through her brain as the girl sprinted out of the door as fast as she could. Tears streaming down her face and out of breath as she caught up to her friend, she straightened up and packed those way words down tight.
Forgiveness is for us. Forgiveness is to set us free from the chains that keep us connected to something someone did to us. Those chains create pain as they rub and chafe every time we dredge up those old memories, creating ongoing suffering in our life.
Forgiveness does not release the offender from what they did or condone their actions.
It is one hundred percent possible to drop those chains forever and begin to create a whole new, empowering story that serves you. It is one hundred percent possible to find love and compassion for the offender while possibly never speaking to that person again.
The process of forgiving.
- Reveal and recognize. We begin to acknowledge our pain and why we are experiencing this pain. We see our suffering isn’t coming from their actions, but from what we are thinking of their actions, what we are making those actions mean about us. We start by allowing our pain instead of repressing it, being truthful about how the circumstance is hurting us. We go through the process of learning how to feel the pain and understand why we are feeling it. We look at the actions we are taking because of the regret and resentment we feel. We start to see how these actions are only hurting us, creating results that aren’t in our own best interest, results we are getting that are completely under our own power to change. We begin to see how we are expecting them to do something so that we can feel better.
- Release. Then we learn how to start changing our current model so that we can start releasing them, as well as releasing ourselves of the power they have had over us. This isn’t “letting them off the hook.” this is getting US off the hook.
- Replace. The process of forgiving is the process of thought laddering. It’s the process of going from where we currently are to where we want to go, which is to a place of love, compassion, and understanding for ourselves and for the offender. It’s understanding that this will take time and committing to the work in honor of ourselves and the result we are working for.
Some final nuggets.
Before we can forgive others, we have to start with being able to forgive ourselves. If we are thinking thoughts that make us feel unworthy, possibly from something we’ve done or haven’t done, or because of actions taken by others, we will never be able to let someone else go. If we think of ourselves as unworthy and unlovable that means that somewhere deep down under it all, we believe that we deserved to be treated poorly.
Forgiveness is necessary when someone’s actions are creating pain for us, without forgiveness you will always be carrying the burden of that pain. In instances where we are able to see that someone’s actions are neutral, that they have nothing to do with us and everything to do with their hurt, we can move on. Their actions come from something they are feeling and thinking and it is for them to deal with however they choose to, it’s none of our business.
The words spoken out loud that Fall morning were not the first or the last to shape that little brown-eyed girl’s future. She went on to live a life full of repressed pain, resentment, and fear. Fear that no one loved her, leading her to a future desperately seeking to feel love in all of her future relationships, including the one with her mom. That little girl never understood that what she spent her life searching for was always available, deep down inside, waiting for her to find it, waiting for her to nurture it into life.
As another relationship began to crumble before her, the brown-eyed girl decided she was done fighting. Fifty years after that chilly, crisp Fall morning where she stood in that small kitchen, looking broken-hearted into her mom’s eyes, she decided to go to the mirror. She looked straight into her big brown eyes and told that five year old it was time.
It was time to awaken and discover who she was, to learn how to love.
She decided to awaken her true self so she could help you Awaken(YourTrue)You!
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Are you struggling in your love relationship? I would love to help you fall back in love with the one you love. My Awaken(TheTrue)You program is for strong women like you, and a few pretty cool guys, who want to stop hurting in their most intimate relationship. Together we work from the inside out, meaning I teach you how to have a healthy, loving relationship with yourself so you can show up and simply love your partner. Let’s reignite your love relationship today, book your consultation call today!
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