One of the most difficult things I have ever had to face is my own past and those that have hurt me. Like most of us, I do my best to bravely march onward and to not look backward. Who says to themselves: I can’t wait to think about my mistakes again today? Sometimes, the healing process requires deep reflection, the kind that demands total honesty not just to others but to yourself.
How honest are you, truly? Are you telling yourself what you think you should feel and burying your hurt in unhealthy habits? People don’t just turn to alcohol or drugs. Whatever “it” is, it’s usually unhealthy at the least if not downright destructive.
The most glaring example, and one that I see in myself, my friends and my family is when one boasts of being a “workaholic.” Not everyone I know is working away some sort of hidden pain or trying to numb themselves, but most often addiction manifests a desire to numb physical or emotional pain. Excessive exercise can be an addiction, too, as is playing too many video games or the obsessive use of the Internet or other technology.
Behind trying to escape is in the why. Some people escape relationships because they are afraid of true intimacy. Deep inside resides a wounded child in most of us, unable to let go and really forgive the person or people that caused us pain. When you look in the mirror can you honestly say that you have forgiven everyone in your life that has hurt you? Can you actually say that no matter how wrong you were treated, no matter how terrible the situation or circumstance was and how much of a nightmare it was to even live through, that you have forgiven everyone? Can you look in the mirror and tell yourself that you love and have forgiven yourself?
At one point in my life, I thought I forgave everyone that hurt me. But then I realized that forgiveness is a tricky thing; it’s more than saying some sort of prayer or mantra out loud. True forgiveness is letting go and letting go completely. It is going through the entire healing process, grieving and then releasing the hurt along with the person or people that hurt us. Real forgiveness takes a lot more courage than holding on to the pain and the bitterness. You lose more of your power, your energy and your precious time by staying angry. When you haven’t forgiven, you carry more than baggage. You haul around bitterness in your heart and resentment that has callused overtime.
Forgiveness is very difficult. Sometimes it takes a lifetime. Some people live their entire lives with the weight of a stubborn grudge. It is not easy, for if it was we would have less violence and chaos and wars and divorces and heartache. Despite its challenges, forgiveness is one of the most freeing things we can do. If you are bound by the chains of pain, you hold the key to freeing yourself from that prison of resentment and unforgiveness. Unforgiveness is like cancer to the body. It is poison both to you and anyone you hold dear.
No matter how long the process might take, try working your way through forgiving and letting go. Life’s too short, and you deserve to be happy. You deserve the love and the abundance that the universe has in store for you.
Find your smile, joy and happiness today by working your way through the process of forgiving yourself and others.