When you have a fight or other painful event in a relationship, how do you get back on track?
Many folks would say forgiveness.
I agree — that is a great place to start! However, I’m going to step out on a limb here so you can give your forgiveness practice more power. Forgiveness is not, as many believe, the entire healing process. It is the first step.
But it is an extremely important first step that allows the rest of healing to happen.
This came up for me recently, a little too close to home, when someone I love took dramatic offense and hurt at something I said with all good intentions. They were done with me; I was devastated. Several days later, a friend brilliantly and lovingly asked me, “What else do you need from this situation in order to heal?”
Great question! You can’t go anywhere if you don’t know where you want to go! It’s so easy to get stuck in the emotions of a crisis without looking for the healing solution.
I went within. I… I wanted to be forgiven. Even though I had technically done nothing wrong, they were genuinely hurting. I wanted this person to say, “That’s OK dear, I understand, things like this happen sometimes, I’ll get over it, I forgive you.”
The Power of Forgiveness Is Disconnection
When we are stressed by a negative event, our energy and consciousness freezes. It locks us into the event(s), which is now in the past. Even today, many of us are locked to painful events from earlier in your life. (Some vividly, as if it happened yesterday. Is there anything left from your upbringing that can rile you up upon thinking of it?)
When you maintain connections to the past, you must power those connections with your energy and consciousness. They are distractions and energy drains. You struggle where there could be ease. You feel adrift, confused, or vaguely dissatisfied with life when you tend these old wounds. It is as if you are carrying them around in a massive backpack, bending under their weight.
This I know: the heart of healing is connection. It is connection to that which sustains and nourishes, and disconnection from that which drains and demoralizes.
Forgiveness is a letting go, a healthy disconnection of your energy and consciousness from the painful experience. It is a release of blame and the need to receive anything back. Forgiveness turns you around, from being stuck in the past, attached to what happened, to facing forward again, being present in today, and moving forward into healing.
Sometimes, it’s easy to get over an offense. Hey, things happen and we can move on. But in situations where stress, outrage, shock, hurt, and other emotions have firmly attached us to that original fight or event, forgiveness is golden. It initiates the healing process.
But What If They Won’t Forgive You?
What do you do when you are the transgressor — intentional and repenting, or unintentional — and the person you hurt will not forgive you? What do you when the other person is refusing to reconcile?
You heal. You step beyond this situation, by disconnecting yourself. And the #1 rule about healing is this: you have all the resources you need at all times.
The way energy works, the only way you can experience or perceive someone not forgiving you is if, in some way, you have not fully forgiven yourself. This you must do. As soon and as much as you can.
Surprisingly, and wonderfully, when you forgive yourself — when you disconnect from that event and the pain around it — you make it much easier for the person you hurt to do so, too.
Now THAT is healing. (You healer, you!)
You are not dependent on other things or people for your happiness and spiritual journey. Any thought that says otherwise is Resistance. You can find everything in the world within you, including forgiveness.
I know this spiritual principle, but I’m human and I had gotten caught up in my emotions and forgotten. When I remembered that no forgiveness on the outside means no forgiveness on the inside, I knew it was 100% right. I was devastated and shocked, and had not forgiven myself in the uproar.
Forgive Yourself and Free Yourself to Heal
After a nice meditation of self-forgiveness (“I choose to forgive myself, I choose to let this go, I hand this situation over to God for resolution, I choose to forgive them for not forgiving me,” etc etc), I felt less upset. You may choose to take a physical action of forgiveness, too, like a donation to a relevant charity or sharing your newfound wisdom with someone.
I will repeat this meditation a few times. Connections of energy and consciousness are a bit insidious. Once built, they tend to resonate with similar connections and entwine themselves where they don’t belong. To truly forgive and fully let go, it helps to repeat your forgiveness exercises and touch on the situation from a variety of angles. You might want to get help from a healer or counselor.
Once you have forgiven yourself, you will be able to freely look at the situation and see what you reacted emotionally to and do some healing (eliminating or rewriting patterns) around those issues. Sometimes this stage is so easy, once we let go/forgive, that we assume forgiveness was all that was necessary. Hallelujah!
When I am done with my self-forgiveness, I will no longer need forgiveness from the other person. I have not abandoned them or the situation, but I will have completely let go of the source of the painful rift between us. It will be water under the bridge. And I will rest in that wonderful place of genuine spiritual independence, where others truly have no power over my happiness.
I pray for them to find this inner release, too.
© 2012 Daria Boissonnas
Have you struggled to forgive yourself? Do you have advice or a different perspective? Please share it in the comments below!