To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you. — Lewis B. Smedes
The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. -– Mahatma Gandhi
The starting point is the self. Only clarity, willingness to change, is effective now. A correct relationship to yourself is primary, for from it flow all possible correct relationships with others and the Divine. In order for me to have a correct relationship with myself, I first have to forgive myself.
Forgiveness of myself is the key that will open all other doors that will lead me out of selfish, self-seeking, self-loathing, egotistical thoughts driven by a hundred forms of fear with the three kings fears of rejection, not being good enough, and not getting what I want leading the way.
As with anything that I do, knowledge is not enough, I have to incorporate it into my core and this requires me to do it over and over and over again. And this holds true with forgiveness as well. Practice is what is needed,
We have to review our lives, and lay it all out in front of us. The good, the bad, and the ugly. We must start with recognizing the domestication patterns that took place over the course of our lives. Domestication from parents, siblings, relatives, teachers, preachers, neighbors, friends, and peers. We will need to look at the constant barrage when we were three, four and five years old of being told, “Why don’t you listen to me, I will punish you the next time… you need to do what I say” that transferred subconsciously to ‘You’re not good enough, I am rejecting you for the way you are.’ This was the start of planting fear and all sorts of insecurities that we would grow up with. They taught us how to act, how to be, and what to do to fit into society and these groups we desired to belong to. Then we have to see all the people who hooked our attention with their own fears telling us that you’re not good enough, a loser, worthless and will never amount to anything or the high praise we received of ‘you’re so pretty, you’re the star athlete, everyone wants to be like you’ that made us egotistical. All the verbal abuse from anyone that we allowed to dish it out to us. Peers telling us we will never be as good as them or good enough to date so-and-so, or we will never make the team or honor roll. Parents telling you to shut up, your ugly, you’ll never amount to anything, siblings telling us ‘Mom doesn’t like you’. Over time, and having our attention hooked by other people’s fear, we start to transfer that to comparing our insides to others outsides. Convincing ourselves “I’ll never be good enough like them, and I don’t deserve good anyway.”
we also need to look at friends, families and loved ones who have passed to the other side unexpectedly. The feeling of abandonment and an unjust God. All the fear that comes in that single, inevitable, act of being alive that has the power to consume us for life if I let it. What do we have to forgive ourselves for you might ask? For not trusting God and blaming him to the point that we become so bitter that we won’t ever trust anyone to be in our life for long. For not letting ourselves be free in Love, Compassion, and kindness, but controlled by something we had no control over to begin with.
Next, we look at all that applies to physical and sexual abuse that we endured. The beatings for not doing the right thing, being too loud, or because they were drunk, or pissed at the fact that they were ever born, living in all their fears, talking back or for just … being, The unthinkable sexual abuse we endured as children, well into our teens and finally in the relationships that we chose because we didn’t know any better.
And finally, our own self-esteem pulling us down into the pits of depression of self-pity and self-loathing. Our own internal voice, the judge who lives between our ears, always whispering in our head the hundreds of self-doubts that occupy our mind. Fear being in control now of every decision I will make moving forward.
Whatever comes up, no matter how big or how small and insignificant it may seem, we need to acknowledge that it was part of our upbringing up until this moment. Remember, the only thing you have in this world is this moment and the one thing you will never have is control. we cannot leave anything out. This is a big undertaking and requires strength, courage and faith in order for us to find freedom from the bondage of self. As the quote above from Gandhi says, I must be strong.
Now that we have looked at everything that it took to bring us to this point in our lives. We make a decision to let it go, and by letting it go I mean releasing it to our higher power, whatever that looks like to you. ‘I trust and surrender today.’ We will heal as soon as we start the healing process. The goal in forgiveness is not to forget our past nor to shut the door on it but to take away the power that we gave it to dictate my life and decisions as we live today. It is now just a story and has no power over us today. As we heal, we realize we come into self-love. We are able to accept everything exactly as it was so we are able to reach this point of self-acceptance.
The shame, guilt and fears that we somehow twisted so we actually thought we deserved what we got, it was our fault, has to be eliminated, sometimes with expert help. We came to realize that it wasn’t our fault, we didn’t deserve all the bad that came our way and that we are a divine magnificent spirit of love and light. At the time we did the best I could to deal with everything that was happening to us in our lives. For some people that came in the form of drug and alcohol dependency, for others we became just like the people who hurt us, for others we swung to the opposite end of the spectrum, being angry bitter, spiteful people ourselves and for others still, sadly, it meant suicide to escape the shear pain of it all. As a result, we have caused pain to others and for this we need to forgive ourselves. Whatever your coping mechanism is it is time to set it free.
The first thing we realize is that the pain that we felt from others came from people who also went through their own domestication process. They too, were taught to live with fear being the ruler of their world. They did what they knew and couldn’t have done any different. We need to take responsibility and have to decide that we are going to break the pattern of the habit. So, our first step is to forgive them for not knowing any different, then we look at ourselves, each incident, from our earliest memory and acknowledge that it is not our fault.
There are many ways to release things from our lives. Writing them done on paper and when we go through each one asking for forgiveness for others and ourselves, we can burn it in our fireplace or fire pit we might have, or on a camping trip, in nature. We may sit by the water’s edge, an ocean, river or lake and envision the water taking them from me one by one as we release them. Always asking our higher power to remove each one. This can be done with others in your circle of friends who may have the same intention, as a ceremony, or alone in the privacy of your own space. However you choose to proceed be of serious state of mind.
Each person is different and has gone through different forms of upbringing. For some people there are big traumas in their life’s and for others not so big. I have only scratched the surface of what someone might have experienced in their lives, and in know way am I insinuating that everyone has gone through what I wrote, including myself. Only you know to what extent of forgiveness you need. All are equally important to look at. It is vitally important NOT to discount any little thing as insignificant. By refusing to look at or acknowledge something is to think you are in control. Control is an illusion that fear gives you to keep its power over you. I must forgive myself to the core for me to have peace and serenity in my life.
Once I hold sacred space for myself, I ask God and trust him one hundred percent, for after all, God is all powerful, to remove all my fears and ask for forgiveness for all my shortcomings. I continue to do this, each day, every day. I work at it and depending how much I put into it will determine how much I get out of it. With everything else, this too becomes part of my being. For some, it may be a slow gradual feeling of ease, peace and serenity and others it may hit all in one day. The feeling of letting go and recognizing I am alright, perfect the way I was made. I remember that I am a divine magnificent spirit of love and light. Most importantly I am free. Free from the hold on me that I gave to others, free from the wall I built around my heart, not letting anyone in or my true feelings to be seen, free from the Island that I stand on all alone thinking I am a rock, free from whatever prison I put myself in because I didn’t think I deserved good. So, it is time to set yourself free to the Divine magnificent spirit of love and light you were born as. To trust and surrender that you are more than good enough for yourself and everyone else. Be vigilant in this endeavor, for it is the starting point to the life you were born to and intended to live.
A wonderful post to read and reflect on as I sip my morning coffee. Reminds me how grateful I am for having met and worked the 12 steps through OA that transformed and freed the fearful Italian catholic school girl within me. ☺️🙋🏻♀️
The best way out is always through ~ Robert Frost
Thank you Anne. Agreed. The 12 steps are wonderful and powerful tool to help with becoming free from the bondage of self.