*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.
She had just stepped out of the swimming pool. I looked at her back and saw a huge black mark that looked like a big cut that had healed over time.
"What happened?" I asked.
She paused for a moment, looked down, and said. "My mother threw a sharp knife at me when I was 10 years old. I don't remember what I had done to upset her, all I remember is hearing her say I am crazy and threw at me the knife she was holding while peeling potatoes."
This woman is now 50 years old and every time she talks about this story, she tears up. She says she has struggled for years to forgive her mother and has harbored lots of resentment and bitterness for so long.
We both sat on our pool chairs and started discussing deeper on forgiveness.
Forgiveness is an individual process that’s almost similar to going through grief. There’s an emotional wound that was inflicted and resulted in a loss or rapture of a relationship. It creates fear and the emotional safety of the relationship is compromised.
They failed to fulfill their promises to love you till the end.
They promised to protect you but didn’t.
They vowed to be there for you in times of need but disappeared soon after a need arose.
They took advantage of your generosity and refused to pay the money.
They abused you when they should have protected you...
Forgiveness involves letting go of the expectations you had regarding the relationship, It involves letting go of the unexpected outcome that resulted from trusting the person/experience that hurt you. You thought it would go one way but took a different turn.
GRIEVE all those unfulfilled/unmet expectations that you had in your heart and then release yourself from the emotional hold.
Forgiveness is MY job, not the job of those who hurt me.
Lewis B. Smedes wrote: “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the prisoner was you.”
It takes work. We have to constantly keep doing it so we can eventually free ourselves from bitterness, resentment, anger, and even depression. The price is too high to pay. We have to do whatever it takes to nurse ourselves back to health so we can wear our favorite shoes again and make our best dance moves again. We owe it to ourselves.
Randy Boyd is a licensed California Alcohol and Drug Counselor, Certified Life Coach, the founder of the Courageous Healers Foundation, and an associate of “It Happens to Boys. He says that reconciliation takes two individuals for it to take place. The space for reconciliation opens up when two people acknowledge and are able to discuss the nature of the wrongs that were done and to be accountable and ask for forgiveness for any harm, or at least for an opportunity to make amends.
Reconciling may require having a dialogue with the offender about what happened, trying to explain how they hurt you, and hopefully empathizing with your situation and showing remorse. What if they don’t want to?
Reconciliation may require building trust again; depending on what happened, you may not want to go through that journey. It’s ok to forgive them in your heart, and not necessarily reconcile. You may not forget what they did but when you recall what happened, you don’t feel imprisoned by it.
If both forgiveness and reconciliation happen especially if the person who was hurt feels safe again, that is awesome!! But when the emotional pain has been released and you’re at peace, you’ve fulfilled your mission to forgive even if you don't reconcile.
No matter how good you are, forgiveness is a process and takes time. You may ask, how long before I forgive? It all depends on the individual and the depth of harm the person has experienced from those who hurt them.
Thanks for reading my article. Please don’t forget to like it, comment, and share it with friends and family
Disclaimer: This article is written for educational and informational purposes only and is not a substitute for individualized support. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-7233.
Comments / 198