“Forgiveness is hard,” I thought to myself. I was working with my life coach on healing an old wound that was affecting an important relationship. And by affecting, I mean spiraling so often and deep that I was losing sleep, crying in the shower, feeling like I wanted to punch this person in the face (which I would never actually do). But then I realized, forgiveness is simple. It’s the repetition of having to forgive over and over and over again that’s frustrating.
Forgiveness is a process. Starting at the top layer and working your way down. “I forgive you for triggering me today.” Simple. Then, “I forgive you for triggering me the time before that…..I forgive you for triggering me the time before that…” and so on and so forth. Until you get to the original wound. And there, is where deeper forgiveness must happen. There is where it might feel harder because there are several steps to forgiving the original wound.
- Are you ready? You took on that wound for a reason. What benefit are you getting from holding onto it? Did you put up a wall that feels like it’s protecting you from getting hurt again? Does it give you someone else to blame for other challenges you’re facing? Are you ready to let go of whatever you’re getting from the wound? If so, great – head to step 2. If you’re not ready yet, no worries, still work on step 2 and forgiving them again each time they trigger your wound. You will keep getting triggered until the wound is healed.
- Forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for taking on the wound, playing victim, and reacting to that person’s actions instead of focusing only on yourself. Forgive yourself for every time that you’ve been triggered since then and the way it affected your life and relationships. Forgive yourself for holding onto it for as long as you have. Forgive yourself for being human. You were getting some benefit out of holding on, remember?
- Forgive them and move forward. Fully release the wound. Take away all it’s power over you. Thank it for the benefit it provided for helping you feel safe and helping you grow (going through this process is a definite growing period – hooray, You!). Fully release the person(s) whose actions resulted in your wound from being your negative energy target. Maybe you will jump right back in with that person, maybe you will set up stronger boundaries with them in the future. Do what feels best for you and is in the highest good for everyone.
I personally wrestle with “Should I talk to the person who hurt me? Should I tell them that their actions had lasting consequences on my life?” That, I think, is completely individual to you, your relationship with that person, the situation, and what has passed since the original wound. And what kind of boundaries you want to set up with that person moving forward. Maybe they will want an explanation of why you’ve set stricter boundaries, maybe they won’t.
Before you head into any conversations ask yourself “Why do I feel the need to talk to them?” If it’s because you want them to know that they were bad to you, head right on back to step 1 above. You’re still wounded and triggered. If it’s because you want to share your growth experience, own your reactions and triggers, and explain why you are setting boundaries that are in the highest good for everyone involved, then it might be worth it. But, be very cautious that you aren’t returning the favor of being wounded (even subconsciously).
This process can take time, as much or as little as you need (see step 1). And it’s all okay. Keep working on step 2: forgive yourself. Have grace and remember you are only human and that is a good thing.