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Is Grief Getting in the Way?

Is Grief Getting in the Way?

grief in the way

When was the last time you had a fantastic day where it felt like nothing could take the wind out of your sails? You didn’t spend hours being upset about something; where even mother nature provided a goldilocks-kind-of-day to enjoy. Most of us have to think real hard about this question. Because life isn’t perfect, right? And rarely do we have a day that feels as such. Or, is it how we’re choosing to see it? Furthermore, is how we see our days being influenced by the grief we store in our hearts?

Consider, too, for a moment the grief we store in our hearts and then add on our political climate with opposing views, often among family members. Then, tack on our home climate – is it chaotic, frenzied, harmful, or so busy you would forget to be if it weren’t for your phone (this has been me, too, no shame).

Is it any wonder we’re stressed out to the max? Add on the demands of life and life events that occur that are beyond our control and our bodies become the perfect incubators for disease.

I tend to feel drained by heavily social situations and I also tend to take on the negative energy of others, if I’m not mindful. Meditation is wonderful for a mental recharge/reset but how you prevent it is where I was looking forward to hearing her insight. She said that we cannot attach to the outcome and that where the energy is at in others is not our business. It’s a practice of mindfulness; witnessing the energy of others, acknowledging that that is their current experience, and noticing what is going in our own energy space. And then it’s a matter of choosing to not allow ourselves to get into negative energy and doing whatever we can to elevate our own (to put our oxygen mask on first).

Some Things You Can Do to Shift Your Energy Quickly

  • Remove yourself from the presence of the situation/person.
  • Saying a prayer or an affirmation to yourself. For example, I am in charge of my thoughts. I decide how I want to feel. God/Angels/Universe, help me to see this situation differently. 
  • Taking a walk in nature is a wonderful mind/body reset, too.
  • Meditation, as previously mentioned. It doesn’t have to be a long, drawn-out process. Even 10 minutes helps! Recently, I learned of a neat technique through a young girl’s youth program in which I’m a mentor. Sit on the floor, put a hand in front of you on the floor with your fingers spread out. With eyes open or closed, take the index finger of your other hand and, starting at the base of your thumb, trace your fingers all the way around your hand, breathing in as you trace your finger moving up and exhaling as you trace your finger down. It’s a very effective calming technique and because you’re focusing on your breathing, it’s also a quick meditation practice that’s easy enough for kids and adults alike that may have never meditated or have tried it but found it challenging. Quieting the mind is hard; however, the point is to focus on deep, belly breathing. Thoughts will come and go and that’s okay. Always come back to your breath; you can’t do it wrong. It may be helpful, too, to count up to 8 in your head as you inhale, and while exhaling, count down from 8.
  • Listen to uplifting music.
  • Read positive quotes.
  • Watch some animal/baby YouTube videos. Seriously, this works. A good laugh is good for the soul.
  • Reframe the situation. What is one positive thing you can say about what you’ve experienced? What has the experience taught you? How can you carry that lesson moving forward?

The above are generic suggestions for shifting energy quickly. Life is full of challenges and this is not an attempt to simplify or minimize those challenges. Take what is helpful and ditch the rest. It’s a matter of cleaning up our side of the energy space. We are all energy. And, thoughts are energy, too. Thoughts become feelings and feelings become actions. And we back it all up with energy.

Back when I went to Austin, TX for my grief recovery certification training, I mentioned in this blog post meeting a new friend who is a Buddhist. We have kept in touch and recently we had a conversation about how to not take on the energy of others and we discussed the aforementioned. My friend went on to provide a beautiful analogy of our spirit/inner-light. She told me to imagine myself as a candle – “you are a light,” she said. She went on to explain that when you take one candle to light another, the first candle doesn’t get dimmer, rather, it burns just as bright – it’s not losing anything. So, when you’re sharing your light with others freely (without holding on to a certain outcome), similarly like a candle, your light is not extinguished and it’s then allowed the light of others to burn brightly, too. I just found that to be a beautiful analogy for the human spirit. We don’t have to feel like we’re losing a part of ourselves (and giving up our energy) when we help others burn brightly. Rather, we take care of and nurture our (inner) light so we can help others.

Sharing My Light So YOU Can Burn More Brightly

Wednesday night, I gave my last talk before I was planning to start my first Grief Recovery Group. I came into it with a ton of energy, enthusiasm, and excitement! I had two people show up that weren’t even from the community and I left with the same energy, enthusiasm, and excitement – not for me – for them. Why? Because they took action and showed up for themselves. They are tired of the grief weighing on their hearts and lives and have decided to do something about it. I admire them for it because it takes courage. All the while, my heart is sad for those who feel that the pain is more deserving of their heart than the love that is locked away because it’s unable to be fully expressed.

Over the last five weeks or so, I’ve given three talks in three different communities. The first talk had 2 people in attendance. The next talk had 1 person. And the last talk, as I mentioned, 2 showed up. I know there are a lot more than 4-5 grievers out there within a 45-minute drive of me. I know there are.

It is so common that few show up to these talks at the beginning that I was forewarned. Yup, my mentors at The Grief Recovery Institute told me this would happen! Perhaps you wanted to come but you had prior obligations or you had an emergency. I get that things happen. No worries. Who I am directly talking to right now are those who know they’re hurting, whose hearts told them to put their shoes on but whose minds talked them out of it. Because I know that’s exactly what was happening and what I was told would happen.

What’s Possible

We all reach the end of our ropes at some point. Perhaps your hurting heart is just not there yet. And, that’s okay. There is no timeline to grief because truthfully, you’ll never be rid of it. Never. The love has nowhere to go when you’ve lost the one you were giving it to. However, it is possible to think of your loved one and not be taken back to the deep grief you’re currently feeling. It is possible to think of your loved one and remember the happy times more than all the things you never got to say, wish you would’ve said, or all the memories you’ll never share again. It’s living alongside grief. It’s actually living – moving forward beyond the grief that is possible. 

I can’t want this for you more than you want it for yourself. If this resonates with you and you feel a tug in your heart to join those who’ve decided to take this journey of healing, you have until Wednesday, May 29th, at the latest to join. We actually start next Wednesday, the 22nd, however, week 2 is the cut-off date. After this 8-week group, I don’t know when the next group will be held.

Will you choose to heal? If not now, when? If not this, then what?

much love, victoria

 

 

 

 

P.S. If you would like more info or would like to begin your healing journey next week, email me directly at victoria [at] theunleashedheart [dot] com OR reach out via Facebook messenger on my page, The Unleashed Heart. 

Sweep Your Side of the Street

Sweep Your Side of the Street

sweep your doorstep first

Dr. Phil once said, “you can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.” I believe we’d all agree with that statement.

So, if we’d all agree with that statement, why do we deny when it’s our own shit that’s keeping us stuck or getting in the way of our lives? Why do we treat grief like it’s an elephant in the room that’s obviously present but no one wants to talk about?

We’re Not Taught the How

Lately, I’ve contemplated the narrative that all you need is prayer; that prayer alone will get you through whatever pains you. So, I’m taking this opportunity to present another perspective through the lens of someone (myself) where prayer alone wasn’t enough. Faith is one thing. That’s not what I’m talking about. Because, without faith, I simply don’t think we’d take certain actions in our lives. What I’m talking about is the action of prayer alone getting us through – being the how – we get through difficult times.

Let me ask you this: How is prayer alone working for you? Be completely honest with yourself; remember what Dr. Phil said.

Prayer alone wasn’t enough for me. I believed I had plenty of faith to go around. I believed that if I would journal on God’s word enough, read enough scripture, listened to the Bible app faithfully in the background of my life, that I would have some sort of epiphany and be healed of my sorrows. So much so, I got a “Let Go Let God” tattoo on the inside of my right wrist. All you need to do is give it to God and he’ll do the rest, right? Wrong.

Maybe you relate to this. Maybe you’re struggling right now in your faith [in God] because you feel abandoned (as I did for many years). Perhaps you feel like you’re not Christian enough, therefore, there is no hope for you.

It’s OK to Not Be OK

I want to share this message with specifically you today and anyone who has convinced themselves their OK because they have faith and prayer. To drive this message home, I am going to use an example I pray never happens but one that I know many will relate to and one I’ve personally experienced watching my father fade away due to cancer (passing away only four years older than I am now).

I proposed this example to my husband because I wanted to know his feelings on the matter, but in the back of my mind, I also wanted to drive this point home to him and that I want to share with you today.

Hypothetically, I am diagnosed with cancer. It’s terminal and there is nothing more that can be done. I asked my husband if he felt he would be drawn closer to God [in prayer] or if there would be a part of him that would want to retreat and pull away (which is a natural response, by the way). He said he would pray harder; he would pray more than he’d ever prayed. And I replied with: And I died anyway. “Don’t you think,’ I said, ‘you would have a difficult time reconciling that in your heart?” This is what we experience and struggle with because we are human. There is nothing wrong with us. However, given that we’re all going to die someday and we have no way of knowing how; I want to share that, for most of us, prayer is and never will be – enough. And, I believe people often use their faith or prayer as a way of convincing themselves they’re doing just fine. I know I’m not the only one who has done this. Perhaps you’re identifying with doing this right now in your life?

For God to do His work in our hearts, we first need to sweep our side of the street; we need to do the inner-work. Then, and only then, are we able to give our hearts fully to Him and to others in our lives; loving with our whole hearts – not just the broken bits we’re desperately trying to super-glue back together and hope it holds. But life rolls on, right? Crap rolls downhill and snowballs and adds up in our hearts.

Resolving the Unresolved

By holding on to the familiarity of pain, we’re not fully living in joy either. God is joy. God is love. Until we resolve the unresolved, we’re not able to fully step into who we are, what we feel, and what we wish to contribute in this life. We’re all walking around a little shattered inside.

So, when I am snubbed by the faithful when I say that the Grief Recovery Method (GRM) isn’t faith-based, I’m partially telling a lie. It’s true that there are no scripture readings in the program. It’s true there isn’t open prayer during the program meetings. It’s also true that God is not shoved down your throat in the program, too. However, the message I really want to get across when I share about GRM, is that it’s you doing the inner-work, so He can do His. It is transformational, not in the way of conversion, but in the way of self-love, self-acceptance, emotional resilience…all the things God wishes for us. So, I guess in that way it is faith-based. Faith in knowing we are fully supported. Faith in knowing that God places people in our lives at just the right time. Faith that there is hope…even on the darkest of days.

That which is holding you down can become a powerful force that raises you up. You just have to be willing to take the ascent.

– from the book, The Untethered Soul

 

 

It Takes a Village

It Takes a Village

takes a village

We’ve all heard the saying: “It takes a village to raise a family.” I want to add: “It takes a village to heal.” We can try all our might to heal alone, but that road is far more lonely, frustrating, and longer than it needs to be.

One of the myths of grief is to grieve alone. We are told, from a young age: if you want to cry, go to your room. In other words – grieve alone. It’s the idea that we are to have a stiff upper lip and there’s something to be sorry about for crying in front of others. I used to apologize when I got emotional in front of others because I hated the feeling that someone else was made to feel uncomfortable at my expense. Or, it was something to also be embarrassed about. I imagine men feel the latter more strongly than women, because, heaven forbid a man cries in public, right?

Our society doesn’t know what to do with grief – our own, much less the grief of others. But, I can tell you, there is a reason therapists still have a job. There’s a reason there are social workers. There’s a reason schools are mandated to have school counselors. And yet, here we are – having made no more progress in the pursuit of joy and inner-peace when it comes to the many losses we experience in our lives than where we were 3 generations ago. Because influenced learning continues. It’s also why the cycle of abuse in families generally continues. We learn from our parents and our parents learned from their parents and so forth.

So today – it takes a village to come to this understanding. And, it takes a village to heal, too. We start within ourselves, yes, but we can’t do it alone either. We need support, guidance, and a heart with ears. We need to be able to feel heard without judgment, criticism and analyzing.

The last three days have been filled with interesting conversations around grief, several that occurred very spontaneously, too. And, the one thing that occurred to me is busy-ness blocks healing. One of the other myths of grief to keep busy. Growing up, we’re taught that if you just keep busy and keep doing and going and going that it will somehow magically take our pain away. But, it never goes away, does it? We simply overlay it with the band-aid of busy.

Our busy-ness hinders healing for others, too. For example, when you ask someone how they’re doing and they reply with, what you know, is not going to be a simple I’m fine but rather a story about their disheartened state, you suddenly may regret you even asked. Because in your busy-ness you were hoping for a short answer. In fact, you were expecting it, right? So, you’re taken down the rabbit hole of someone else’s unfortunate day and all you’ve got running through your head is your to-do list, the meeting you’re supposed to be at, or maybe how you regret you even asked in the first place.

We’ve all been there – no guilt, no shame needed. But, let’s just bring this to our awareness for a moment. And, I challenge you, that – unless you’re really willing to be present for that person and give them your heart space for them to share, do yourself, and them a favor, and give a simple hello and smile instead.

Time heals all wounds, right? Wrong. It’s action taken within time that matters and we don’t take the action necessary – for ourselves or others, to nurture healing either. We don’t seek a village for support because of shame or guilt, and we are hesitant to offer our time to others, too out of fear, I believe, too.

There is so much more to this and I’ve barely scratched the surface. But, I hope it’s helped bring some awareness.

To healing – yours and mine,

 

 

P.S. Did this post resonate with you? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments! Know someone who would enjoy this? Use the easy-peasy share buttons! Thank you for reading! xx

 

 

 

Love Over Fear – Always

Love Over Fear – Always

 

So far, my turning 40 birthday month has been amazing and filled with many firsts.

Grief Recovery Method Austin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The biggest first is taking a solo flying trip. I got back earlier this week from Austin, TX, where I spent 6 days for a grief recovery certification training of the grief recovery method. I’d love to share a bit about my trip – the highs, the lows (and there were big ones), and everything in between.

First, going from snow and cold temps to – what I thought would be 70’s (with rain expected some days), was the first joy of my trip. Austin, however, pleasantly surprised me with even warmer temps than expected and apparently, unusually sunny, Goldilocks-type days.

My first day there, I met up with a gal that I’ve known since around 2010 or so from a senior photographer FB group. It was sooooo fun meeting her and actually connecting in real life.

The following day, I met a gal who I’ve followed for quite some time and who I consider a mentor – Phoebe Mroczek. I’ve listened to her podcast, The Unbecoming (which I highly recommend, by the way) for the past year, and she is as down-to-earth in person as she is online. We shared goals and aspirations and it was great to connect in real life. Because let’s face it, ND isn’t exactly the epi-center for entrepreneurs. There’s a snowball’s chance in hell of any entrepreneurial event happening that would draw in people from around the country in my neck of the woods! LOL! If that’s the case for you, too – never be afraid to reach out to your online people, when traveling, to meet up! I’m so glad I did!

I enjoyed a wonderful stroll down the river, where I came upon a little stand where they were giving away free pints of ice cream! You’ll see it’s made with cashew milk and I gotta say, despite not loving pecans, this ice cream was sooooooo good! Highly recommend! I was told you can find it at Target and, I think, Wal-Mart as well. Worth checking out, for sure!

To my delight (and truly, I was happy like a child), I made an unexpected friend while on a tour of Austin, where we visited the cemetery where some well-known people are buried – including veteran Chris Kyle. My new friend is originally from Burma (borders Thailand) and living in Kona, HI. She was in Austin for training different from mine but somewhat in the same arena, so we had a topic of interest off the bat. After the tour, she asked me to join her to eat and we ended up talking for over five hours. She shared about Buddhism and about her homeland, as well as her life in HI. We’ve connected since that meeting again and I know I have gained a life-long friend.

The first 2 days of my trip, reminded me of all the great blessings God brings me in the most unexpected ways. But, I was open to receiving, too. And maybe that’s the lesson the first two days taught me: keep your heart open. Love over fear – always.

The next four days of the trip would be some of the most challenging four days of my life. Despite this being a certification training, a part of the training is to experience the process yourself that you will take others through. The method is to complete a loss-relationship in two of the four days. What made this experience even more intense is that the morning of the first day of training, I was awfully sick (puking, nausea, and you know what). I spent the entire day lying on the floor just so I could be present. Fortunately, I had the read the book prior, so hearing it in person, reinforced what I had read.

To begin with, Austin wasn’t the plan either, as I had originally registered for a training a 5-hour drive from me, however, that ended up being canceled. The next nearest training wasn’t until October. Austin just happened to be at the same time and I already had the time off. And, honestly – I just felt in my gut it had to be now and not later.

 

The Grief Recovery Method, once learned, is a method of healing you can utilize the rest of your life with loss of any kind that feels significant and with relationships of those both deceased and living.

I am beyond excited to be able to bring such a service to my community and surrounding communities. To start, I can only do in-person Grief Recovery work, however, it is a goal of mine to complete additional training down the road, that will enable me to conduct online Grief Recovery (i.e. bring healing) to anyone anywhere!

In the weeks ahead, I will share more about this wonderful program. I can say, with my whole heart, this can be a transforming (i.e. life changing) experience. And, I only say can be because you truly do get out of it what you’re willing to put into it. You have to allow yourself to feel all the hard feelings and be completely honest with yourself because that’s where the healing is.

This program is generally 8 weeks, however, as I mentioned in training, the emotionally challenging work is completed in two days – so it is a very intense experience. There is an advanced training I can take down the road that would allow me to also conduct the 2-day process in a weekend workshop, too. But to start, in the 8-week program, it’s broken down into weekly chunks of information.

My Personal Grief Recovery Method Experience

In my experience, having gone through it, I would say that it’s not that I’ll never feel sad again or grieve what I’ve lost, however, I don’t have this immense attachment to the grief itself anymore. It’s as if we hold on to what is familiar, but I no longer feel weighed down by it. The perfect analogy for me is this: before, I felt like I was treading water in a sea of grief. It was an exhausting vicious cycle, knowing that my life decisions were being dictated by this over-arching feeling of loss. And now, I feel like I’m swimming again. The grief is still there but it’s me moving with the current, not being bogged down by it. Does that make sense? I want others to experience this transformation, too. I felt called to this program the moment I found it – I knew it was it. I could cry in gratitude for this experience. It’s a freedom I’ve never felt. And, I can say never because I’ve been carrying these rocks since I was 8. Moreover, you learn tools on how to be a better listener, how to better communicate, and knowledge of how to complete other/future losses that you will have forever. No one can ever take this experience or knowledge from you. 

This program had me feeling like I dropped a backpack of rocks that I’ve been adding to all my life. I feel lighter today than I did before this program and am so grateful I listened to my heart and gut.

If you are in my area and desire healing, stay tuned. If you’re not in my area, I encourage you to seek out a Grief Recovery Specialist in your area via the Institute website. There are programs geared specifically for loss of a pet, one in the works specifically for loss of relationship/divorce, and also one for parents to help children grieve (love this one – it’s prevention at the heart of it). I have plans on offering these, too, as well as providing talks to businesses/organizations that feel their business/organization could benefit. We all could benefit from listening skills, right?

Grief – Impacting Our Economy & Other Areas of Life

Also, there is statistical data on the financial and productivity impact grief has on businesses and organizations and I will be sharing more info on that to come as well. It’s the one thing that unites us all – no one is immune and we all have it and we bring it to our careers, families, and all relationships. And, although you may feel as though you’ve dealt with it, I encourage you to dig deep and ask yourself if failed relationships, bankruptcy, broken family relationships, lack of or loss of friendships, may not be due to any relationship you’ve had that you wished would have been better, different, or more. I guarantee there’s something there you’ve likely buried and locked away. I did and The Grief Recovery Method was my key.

If you’ve made it this far – bless your heart. xx Stay tuned to future blog posts where I will share a bit more of the ins & outs of the program and other healing tidbits. In the meantime, I encourage you to sign up for my weekly newsletter, as upcoming talks and future group info will be shared there first with those most expressing interest in knowing more.

Yours in grief and for choosing love over fear – always. <3

 

 

P.S. Are you in my area and interested in being a part of my first pilot, 8-week group pilot program? I’m looking for up to 6 people who are wanting to heal a loss-relationship that they wish could be/could have been better, different, or more and heal that relationship once and for all, but are also willing to commit to their healing for 8 weeks – once weekly for approximately two hours each time. This is not a drop-in-and-out program. Commitment is required – it is the only way you can heal and also be reliable support to others in the group. Sound like you? Reply to this email and let’s chat.

P.P.S.There is also an opportunity for one person to work with me in-person 1:1 weekly for 7 weeks. Although I highly encourage the group dynamic (for various reasons), sometimes, a 1:1 is more fitting. Get in touch and we can discuss if you think you’d prefer in-person 1:1. 

P.P.P.S. It is also worth noting that those that take advantage both pilot programs, will benefit from a greatly reduced investment. There is nothing you need and all materials are provided. Why not do this for free? I wish I could, however, aside from my cost and time, it’s likely you wouldn’t do the work without an investment of some kind. There is something about investing in yourself that flips a switch in your mind that you value something more if you invest in it. I know this to be true of myself, too. But I also know, when everything else I’ve tried in my life, including trying to work through it on my own and therapy – nothing worked until this. True story. Investing in this program is the act of choosing love (and healing) for yourself.

Limiting Beliefs Block Transformation

Limiting Beliefs Block Transformation

design your destiny

The spiritual journey is one of constant transformation, and we can’t grow if we continually hold onto what is, rather than embrace change and what could be.

My children aren’t big into reading, which breaks my heart because a single book can change your life. Books can also take you to far away places and experiences. Such is the case with the book The Alchemist, one of my all-time favorites about a shepherd boy who yearns to travel for worldly treasure. My point in sharing this is that books can also help us unlock mysteries about ourselves. And often, it is our limiting beliefs about what we believe is possible or what we are worthy of, that keeps us stuck in our lives and making the same decisions over and over. One book, or even a piece of writing – heck, even one line, has the potential to have a lasting impact, helping us to recognize such limiting beliefs.

I recently read a piece of writing that helped me unlock my limiting belief. I have many; we all usually do. However, one could summarize all the rest. My limiting belief is that I don’t deserve/I’m not worthy. Do you have unique china/dishes you only bring out on rare occasions? Or, do you have an article of clothing that you have worn once, never to wear it again because you’re afraid of it being ruined?

On our first anniversary, I received a diamond bracelet from my husband, and it’s rarely seen the light of day outside of its velvet box (that’s inside another box). And what it comes down to is that it’s too good for me. The dishes may be too good for you, or the special scarf or dress may be too good to wear and enjoy them whenever you want. Sure, I could say I don’t want it to get ruined or lose it (and those things would be true) but, if I (and you) think about, the real emotions that come up is that I, or you if this resonates, are not deserving/worthy. People like “me” don’t wear beautiful things like that.

When I was a kid, I typically wore hand-me-downs. Woohoo for corduroy pants (which are making a comeback, by the way)! Anyway, I rarely got anything new. I didn’t mind. Although, I had this weird insistence, for a time, that everything I wore had to match, which was a problem with hand-me-downs because you get what you get. Lol! One year, though, Easter was extra-special as I received an Easter dress. But, I could only wear it for Easter, for that one time I got professional photos taken, and for super-special occasions (so, rarely).

This realization brought up many other examples of how a limiting belief, most often rooted in childhood, can wreak havoc through adulthood. For instance, I’m cozy with thrift stores. Granted, you can find some pretty great finds at thrift stores. Just as some people choose to be thrifty, there are people with no other financial choice. Regardless, if money wasn’t the issue, would you still prefer the thrift store? Likely not. Up until the last few years, I shopped exclusively at thrift stores. So, our limiting beliefs affect the one area of our lives most of us experience struggle of some kind with, and that’s money.

When things happen, too, throughout your life, that reinforces your limiting belief, it only cements that mindset further. For example, being a victim of sexual abuse as a child/adult reinforces the limiting belief that you’re not deserving/worthy. You’re not worthy of love that is pure and honest.

I could go on and on about this. For me, recognizing this has unlocked the ability for me to reframe it. I get to decide, from here on out, how I will shift out of this mindset and into one of self-love. Self-love is mentioned so often nowadays it’s starting to feel like a buzz word. But, it’s the only way we (you and me) can change our future. It’s the only way we can become the captain of our own ship and design our destiny.

What are your limiting beliefs? What stories have been passed down to you? Did you grow up believing life is a struggle; that there is never enough (of money, resources – anything good, for that matter)? I don’t think we comprehend how these beliefs hinder us in our growth.

Self-love – that’s where we find peace and when everything around us begins to shift.

Try this with me: take your three middle fingers and while tapping on your thymus (breastbone), repeat over and over “I’m sorry. I love you.” As you do, bring to mind all the limiting beliefs; the stories passed on to you in childhood (if you need, journal about this first). Forgive yourself for believing it and give yourself some love to release it.

To self-love & big shifts!

 

 

Forgiveness: What it is and What it isn’t

Forgiveness: What it is and What it isn’t

 

Forgiveness is letting go of the hope for a better or different yesterday.

According to Merriam-Webster’s definition, it is “to cease to feel resentment against (an offender).”

When one chooses to forgive, others may see it is condoning; however, the definition of condoning, according to Merriam-Webster, is “to treat as if trivial, harmless, or of no importance.”

If we are to believe these two words are alike, it would be impossible to forgive because who would or want to trivialize a horrible event?

What I’ve Learned About Forgiveness

I have learned, through years of grief, that forgiveness has nothing to do with the other person and everything to do with my well-being.

Forgiveness is an action, not a feeling. One cannot feel forgiveness unless you have forgiven. It is the act of letting go of resentment held against another.

Some may then say: I can forgive but I cannot forget. To that, it’s wise to ask then, has the transgression truly been forgiven? Who is the one who continues to remember and whose life is blocked by a lack of forgiveness?

Over the past few years, I’ve had to work hard at forgiveness. Not only that, I’ve experienced a lack of understanding when I’ve been able to forgive, and others in my life have not.

No one else needs to understand your willingness and openness to forgive. You and you alone know your heart and what it needs. We all walk the road of forgiveness in our own time. Let no one tell you that you’re wrong for offering forgiveness (in the silence of your heart).

What Not To Do with Forgiveness

To that point, never ever feel as though you must verbalize your forgiveness in person. You potentially open yourself up for more hurt and pain if you offer unsolicited forgiveness as the other person may see this as an attack. Remember: forgiveness has nothing to do with the other person.

On the other side of forgiveness is requesting it. When you ask for forgiveness, you are asking the other person to do something that you need to do for yourself. Because, when you’re the one asking for forgiveness, it’s really guilt rearing its head as you’re really trying to apologize for something you have said or done. Rather, it is an apology that is needed.

What are you holding in your heart that you’ve been unwilling to forgive?

Next week, I will share two methods I’ve learned in navigating forgiveness. In the meantime, give some thought to both positive and negative events of a relationship to someone you’ve found it difficult to forgive. This person can be living, deceased, or perhaps, any relationship you wish would be or could have been different, better, or more in some way. Map these events in chronological order as best you can, and then next week Friday, come back here to the blog for part two.

P.S. How about you? Struggling to find forgiveness in your heart? I know it’s hard – truly, I do. But know that by offering forgiveness, you’re not letting the “offender” off-the-hook. Rather, you’re breaking yourself free from the hook.