The Forgiveness Factor
Pain in all of its varieties physical, emotional, and spiritual is damaging. As a small child, I was physically and emotionally mistreated by people that were supposed to protect and nourish my spirit. But, not all childhoods are safe and some of us experience events that are traumatic. Often, a childhood rooted in insecurity creates an adult that struggles with insecurity. No great revelation, ask any therapist. Insecurity breeds fear. Fear breeds insecurity. This is not a debate about what came first the chicken or the egg... But, developmental years that are wrought with abuse tend to breed adults that struggle with resentments, addictions, repeating patterned abuses. Today's message is about the importance of releasing attachments to past trauma as an important step toward healing self. Releasing attachments includes the process of forgiveness, which despite popular belief does not equate with weakness. Let me repeat. Forgiveness does not equal weakness. Quite the contrary. Forgiveness is empowering. Empowering self further allows for development of better self control, thus putting you back in the drivers seat for self.
Forgiveness comes in different forms and is a process that requires commitment to self healing. It isn't easy to forgive those that have committed a wrong upon you and it is even more difficult to forgive self. At least this was my experience. Years of poor choices and decisions that caused others hurt were hard to forgive myself for despite acknowledgement that I wasn't trying to cause harm. I didn't know better at the time. I didn't have a foundation of good childhood examples, therefore I made some bad choices of which I am not proud. What the offenses were is no longer significant. What matters is that part of my self healing and spiritual development has been the appreciation that forgiving myself and others is paramount. Mistakes are part of life lessons, therefore forgiveness is as well. We are here to learn and learning is not easy.
Many believe we don't choose the family we were born into, but I do not agree with that philosophy. I subscribe to the belief that my soul did choose my family as part of my mission and purpose before I became human. Therefore, I took the potential lessons on as part of my free will. The abuses I endured gave me the opportunity to strengthen my soul self and bring me closer to my most Divine self. Therefore, if I remain in a victim consciousness the pain I endured was for naught. One step further, if I remain a victim then I have forfeited my personal power to those that have been my perpetrators. This I am unwilling to do. I am here to learn, to grow, to forgive and to be forgiven. The steps that I constructed I call The Forgiveness Factor.
With The Forgiveness Factor, I learned how to identify what would move me forward on my path of personal healing. I created a list of the people and circumstances I needed to forgive and systematically worked through the process as follows:
1: Identify the people who have caused me pain and why I feel this pain.
2: Identify the pain I feel from others and consciously release it to the universe in a personal ritual.
3: Allow myself to forgive those who have caused me pain as a means to my physical, emotional and spiritual healing.
4: Identify the people I have caused pain and why I caused pain.
5: Identify the pain that I caused others with my actions.
6: Allow myself forgiveness for the pain I have caused others as a means to my physical, emotional and spiritual healing.
In a step-by-step method, I identified the hurt that each person caused me and why it was painful for me to experience. This identification gave me validity. The pain I felt was real and deserved to be acknowledged. Next, I consciously labeled the feeling and released it to the universe. I wrote it on paper and burned it in a personal ceremony or I spoke the words out loud and blew them away never to be seen again. This process of ritualistic release of the pain, rage and fear made it possible for me to find closure and allowed my healing process to begin.
The process of forgiveness is not easy. Dark days do return, but what keeps me on my spiritual path is my commitment to reclaiming my personal power and working to shed the cloak of victim. The Old Testament speaks of, “an eye for an eye.” Most of us can identify with that. But then Jesus came along in the New Testament and undid retaliation and spoke of, “turning the other cheek.” Jesus’ philosophy is far less palatable in terms of human nature’s desire for revenge for perceived wrongs. Yet, by allowing positive energy to flow throughout my being without impediment, I learned to release hurt caused by others and become open to the idea of forgiveness. The culminating effect is that I have become a stronger, yet kinder me. I no longer judge as quickly and I awaken each day setting the intention to be of service to humanity.
Imagine for a moment the world we live in #blacklivesmatter #alllivesmatter. Consider the potential positive impact the power of forgiveness could have on the multitude of angry and resentful. I am NOT SUGGESTING that the racially or socioeconomically oppressed should turn the other cheek to violence! I AM SUGGESTING that the childhood influence of the perpetrators should be deeply considered when seeking solutions. Our society is fighting for the same injustices that have plagued civilizations for thousands of years. Anger, rage, racism, violence are rooted in age old resentments and false social assumptions that repeat patterns of poor behavior. Forgiveness allows opportunity to release and free yourself from damage of abuse. Forgiveness restores power and creates peace within. Peace within has the potential to translate to outward peace. Outward peace is what is required to create all the changes required in today's society.
Fill in the blanks:
I am __________________________________________.
I deserve _______________________________________.
I forgive _______________________________for _______________________________.
I forgive me for _________________________________.
We as a society should ____________________________.