I have touched upon this in previous posts, but today I felt called to this again, following a conversation I had with a friend where the theme of forgiveness came up.
I used to get very annoyed at all those memes about forgiveness and the idea they seemed to put forward that forgiveness is important in order to move on in your life, that if you continue to hold on to the hurt, you won't be able to move on, and I can see how this is true, yet, what really annoyed me was that I felt that there was a sort promise implied that everything would be ok once you forgave. It would be a happy ever after sort of life.
I could also see how this would be frustrating, if I did my best to forget these people and situations and continued to feel the hurt, and somehow I did not feel instantly happy. Like many other fast promises I see around the internet, all this pressure to forgive and false promises of instant happiness, creates in me a sense of not being normal, frustration and shame.
For some time, I was very resistant to the concept of forgiveness. Parts of me could not understand, and maybe still don’t, why I had to forgive someone who caused me pain that affected who I am for the rest of my life, in order to be happy.
Until one day, I went about it with curiosity. I started wondering what would happen if I used the Ho'oponopono mantra in certain 'less serious' events in my life or whenever I felt guilty about some of the things I had done to others in the past. I started using the mantra for asking forgiveness to others, both people who had caused me hurt as well as people I had hurt; I use it to forgive parts of myself: like the part of me that feels that I have to be in a relationship in order to feel valued and loved, or the part of me who seeks acceptance from others.
I learnt from this exploration, that forgiveness can be done in pieces. That I can forgive parts of the trauma or aspects of that person, when I feel ready and am curious as to how it would make me feel if it works.
I also learnt, that while I have forgiven certain events or memories from the past, sometimes they come back. To me, this means that maybe there is something else or another aspect that needs to be revisited, or that I am ready to look at a deeper piece of that memory, learn something from it and when I am ready, forgive it.
What I have found and experienced for myself so far, is that forgiveness is a process. It takes time, it is done in stages and it is possible to forgive pieces of that trauma and hurt. There is no size fits all for this, my process is very much my own individual process and will take however long it needs to take, because above all I want to be kind to myself and I have made a promise to myself to watch out for any practice that brings shame (feeling I am not normal, good enough, not capable, etc).
This takes all the pressure and inadequacy off me, it gives me time, space and peace to do it at my own speed and I feel so much freer from the pressure I was putting on myself, because ultimately I want to be free and happy, just like everyone else.
May you forgive in pieces and with kindness to your own process.
What has been your experience with forgiveness? Do you have a process that works for you?
I understand that this sharing may be more challenging in public, but if you would still like to share your experience, I would invite you to do it by private message.
If you would like some guidance regarding your own process, I am offering Intuitive Guidance sessions which are a mixture of talk therapy together with other tools I have on my unique toolkit. You can have a free Exploration Call or go straight to booking a session here: https://calendly.com/pelagiapais.