One day a client we will call Mary (because I love that name) came in and told me an ugly family story of violation and pain which I will spare you. But that’s not why she was coming in. She was coming in because even though she “forgave” him, the issue was still bothering her, and she didn’t understand why.
I see someone like Mary at least once a week with a similar issue, typically having gone to some religious or self-help workshops on forgiveness where they are pushed to say “I forgive you” much to soon. Sometimes even by calling that person on the phone!! No, no, no!!!
Don’t get me wrong, I am all for forgiveness, but it must come in due time and only AFTER true healing work has taken place.
True forgiveness, the kind that brings healing, is about releasing yourself from the situation and the energetic/emotional ties with the other person or persons involved. That allows the freedom and healing that true forgiveness allows.
There are stages and steps to forgiveness:
1. Take ownership of what happened: Not responsibility for the situation but responsibility for the healing. As in “This ugly thing happened to me, it wasn’t my fault but now I will do the work to heal it.”
2. Do the healing work: Counseling, energy work, yoga, daily meditation, more counseling, therapy, hypnotherapy, etc. Lots and lots of healing work done over a long time.
3. Stop expecting reparations of any kind: Not everyone does this but I hear clients say a lot, “I just want mom to say she was sorry”; “I just want to know why they did this to me”; “I just want closure.”
I am sorry, but it’s unlikely the other person or persons will ever take responsibility for their actions and holding on to the idea you will get anything ties this situation to you. You must let it go.
4. More healing work: Continue number 2
5. Forgive yourself for what happened: Almost, every single person I have worked with who was a victim of a crime tells me there was a point at which they made a decision they regret, one that could have prevented what happened. “I shouldn’t have trusted him”; “I shouldn’t have gone alone”; “I should have believed people who warned me about her.”
Even if it makes no logical sense, if on some level you feel you should have done something differently that could have kept this ugly thing from happening, then you need to forgive yourself for that action. It’s OK, you didn’t deserve it just because you expected people in your world to be honest and noble and they weren’t, that doesn’t make it your fault.
When you are ready
Only then after you have done all the work of healing and feel strong and powerful again, that is when you are ready to forgive. You don’t need to say anything to the other person, especially if they are dead.
Imagine yourself handing that ugly situation back and telling them, you don’t want/need this experience anymore and you are both free to go in peace.
Then imagine yourself moving away from them fully in charge of your own power again. Free to love life and be happy while they end up being responsible for the trouble they caused.
Again, you never need to say anything to the other person; it’s not about them, it’s about you taking your power back and healing.
And believe me that healing will extend into every area of your life filling it with love.
Love yourself to do the work of healing.
Jill K Thomas CHT
Soul Connect Hypnotherapy
Author of the books “Tales from the Trance” & “Feed your Real Hunger”
Appointments available Globally by Video Chat