Forgiveness is a huge topic, but an incredibly relevant one for learning to feel beautiful. As I'm sure you can tell, this week we’re digging into some of the deeper issues holding you back from feeling beautiful. When we hold onto resentment we’re weighed down. We carry this burden around in our bodies.
Choosing not to forgive someone hurts us more than it hurts them.
I was in a really toxic living situation a couple years ago. My roommate and his girlfriend fought a lot. Their fighting had a violent energy to it, and I could hear and feel everything. It was awful, and it went on for months.
After almost a year of this off and on negative energy within our apartment his girlfriend found a reason to be angry with me, and I got pulled into their dramatic mess. I spent 5 months dealing with uncomfortable encounters in my home, through text, and long conversations with my roommate. It was bad, and I did my best to resolve it. But we can’t always do that. Sometimes things are out of our control, and if someone really wants to dislike you, they are going to dislike you.
So I moved out. And it was amazing. My little studio felt peaceful and completely free of anger and aggression—except that I was having nightmares about this woman. My dreams were vivid and full of her anger. I woke up in the morning feeling like I’d just spent the night in my old apartment. Sometimes exiting toxic situations don’t cut our cords with that person.
So, I decided to forgive her, and as soon as I tried to say the words out loud I felt immense resistance.
The truth was that I felt wronged. I felt like I was forced out of my home by this situation, and I was angry at her for it. I was angry because I tried to make things good, but she refused to meet me there. And this is often the reality we face in life. Sometimes we can’t fix things. Sometimes people want to be mad or in pain or suffer. Sometimes people are not ready to forgive. So sometimes there’s nothing we can do but leave, and when that time comes we have to allow ourselves to let go of the past so we can move on and heal.
So even though I felt the resistance to forgiving her I began to work through it. I kept saying over and over, “I forgive you, Jenny. I forgive you, Jenny. I forgive you, Jenny.” (This is not her real name, by the way.)
The first few times I said it I felt the feelings I was holding onto coming up for me, and that’s a good thing. Then we can choose to keep walking through them. I then became aware that I was angry with her, and I could still choose to forgive her. So I kept saying this over and over again out loud. I envisioned her happy and healthy and feeling deep love and joy.
My nightmares stopped, and I could picture myself seeing her and embracing her with warmth. And then 5 months later I saw my former roommate, and we talked about the situation. Very quickly I discovered that they were still having issues about me, and things were said that brought up the chaos all over again. It affected me for days after. My nightmares started again, and I realized I needed to work on forgiving (both of them this time) all over again.
I'm not gonna lie. This is difficult work.
Sometimes it has to be done a few times because these feelings are so deep and difficult. But forgiving others is something you have to do for yourself. You have to be able to let go of the pain you’re holding onto by refusing to forgive.
And to be clear, to forgive someone who has harmed you does not mean that you have to have any communication with them. It doesn’t mean that you have to work things out or “make up.” Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is to remove yourself from the situation and work on forgiveness from a distance. It also doesn’t mean you condone their actions. Forgiving someone else is for you and your own health.
All of us have someone from some point in our lives who we are holding pain from. Call this person to mind and begin to work on forgiving them.
I forgive you, NAME. I wish you peace and love.
Be sure to stare into your own eyes today.