How to Forgive Through the Pain:
Forgiveness is not the process but rather a byproduct of a process. It only comes after a lot of work, tears and letting go. – Paul Hellwig ACOA/Inner Child Coach
Forgiveness without working through the pain, hurt, betrayal, shame, and guilt can only be fleeting.
Like pulling a knife out of a stab wound and not treating the wound. It may scab over and appear healed, while underneath there is an infection festering.
Why do we assume choosing not to forgive empowers us?
We decided, with self-righteous indignation, that we will not forgive someone who isn’t seeking or couldn’t care less about our forgiveness. This brings about the saying, “Holding on to a resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” When we can’t forgive, we can’t let go and we are only hurting ourselves. Why do we want to hold on to something as toxic as woundedness, pain, and suffering? Do we think that it makes us right? At what cost? Holding on only allows us to maintain our position as a victim. I’ve done that, and this does nothing but drains my life’s energy. Slogging it through all areas of my life, allowing it to permeate into all the cracks and crevices of my soul. Moving through life with our wounds way in front of us, begging for someone to rip off the scabs. Live like this long enough and wounds can become not something we own but who we are.
Being unforgiving can and will cripple us.
This will keep us out of the game of life. How can we move forward in our lives towing an anchor behind us that is getting heavier and heavier? It is exhausting and is all-consuming. Meanwhile, those who hurt us are strolling through life without giving this a second thought. Do we assume those who harmed us will somehow grow conscious? It is not up to us to make sure that they pay for what they did in the spiritual sense. Our forgiveness is not for them but is for us. We must let go of the “I’ll fix you by hurting myself” mentality.
Psychologists define forgiveness as a conscious, deliberate decision to release resentment or revenge towards a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they deserve your forgiveness.
I know that my motivation for not forgiving my mother for the pain, hurt, suffering, for the trauma she inflicted on me but was to hurt her back. My mother never sought my forgiveness, let alone took responsibility for her actions. So, I have no evidence that my refusal to forgive her had any effect on her at all. What I do have is plenty of evidence of what my refusal to forgive her has caused and cost me.
I stayed wounded, stayed a victim, and part of me stayed in the past. I blamed all women, and thought of them as the enemy, and treated them as such. Not that I harmed them in any way except leaving them alone, never trusting them, always on guard ready to defend myself. Of course, realizing all I lost was extremely painful. There were layers of pain and anger that had to be worked through.
But my refusal to forgive changed nothing and kept me stuck in a loop going nowhere.
Holding on to resentment was easier. I had no idea that I made my spirit heavier and life more burdensome. Every resentment was a rock weighing on my spirit. Forgiveness for me came at the end of a process that included courage, trust, hard work, and letting go. Which then led to freedom and peace of mind.
It is the greatest present that I have ever given myself.
Do yourself a favor and work through the pain and give yourself the greatest gift of forgiveness, too.