Tag Archives: forgiveness

These 2 Steps in Forgiveness Will Help You Heal and Let Go For Good

Months back I was spending time with an old friend of mine.  We were hanging out with each other, catching up and just having an overall good time.

In the midst of spending time together, however, my friend had eventually said something that had really hurt me.  The words she said, the way she said it and the way she acted for the remainder of our time spent together left me offended, angry and sad.

In addition, as the night went on I had found that my old friend was following lifestyle choices that made me deeply concerned for her own well-being.

I had no idea what to say, how to say it, or even if I should say something.  And so, I kept my thoughts and feelings to myself for the duration of the time we spent together.

Days later when I was spending time with my boyfriend I told him everything.  What she said, what she was doing, and my own thoughts and feelings about the whole thing.

In response, he said, “Oh I’m sorry babe — that sucks”.

But some validation for my pain wasn’t enough for me to heal and let it go.  The pain still lingered.

I knew I needed to forgive, so I looked into my spiritual toolbox and pulled out prayer and meditation.  I started meditating and praying about it in asking for spirit to help me forgive.

I would do it for a few days and the second I felt some kind of “release” I thought I was “healed” so then I’d stop… only to find that a few days later those hurt feelings would arise again.

This cycle continued for weeks.  And since my hurt feelings were still there I’d talk to my boyfriend about it.  Words of “I can’t believe she said that” were on repeat.

And then one day in the midst of my boyfriend patiently listening to all of this, he eventually said, “Well, you can’t control her”.

I stopped and finally realized the cycle that I was really caught in:  I was caught up in a codependent cycle.

A very basic definition of codependency is when one tries to control another person in some way.  It can be seen through boundary violation either externally or internally.

This can come up externally in the wife of an alcoholic who wants her husband to stop drinking so badly that she tries to throw out all the alcohol in the house.  On the flip side, this can come up internally in a husband who doesn’t like his wife’s spending habits so he complains about her behavior all the time.  The first is a clear codependent behavior because there was an external action.  The second is not as obvious because it is internal, but the energy and feelings of wanting to control is still very present — and can still be felt by others.

Fortunately for me in this case, I wasn’t violating any boundaries externally, but the internal desire to control was certainly there — which was, truly, the reason for my deep struggle to let go and forgive.  I wasn’t fully recognizing the faults in my own behavior, so the prayer and meditation just wasn’t quite cutting it.

So how can we follow to forgive, heal, and let go for good?  Here are the two main steps:

#1 – You gotta recognize your own control patterns

Often when we’re struggling to forgive someone it’s because we wish that the other person would change in some way.  Maybe we want them to apologize to us, maybe we want them to reach out, or maybe we want them to change their lifestyle in some way so the relationship can “heal” and things can be back the way they used to be.

It doesn’t work like that.  People are not going to change on your terms.  They are going to change on their own terms.  And though it may be painful to watch sometimes, the most loving thing to do is to let go and allow the person to live, grow, and learn on their own.

PeopleChange

Click to Tweet: People are not going to change on your terms.  They are going to change on their own terms. via @jenilyn8705

#2 – Release it to spirit

Once we’ve been able to recognize our own control patterns, its effective to do some kind of prayer or meditation with the intention to forgive.  Maybe it’s a visualization meditation like my forgiveness meditation in my album Ignite Love from Within.  Or maybe it’s a simple prayer in saying something like:

Spirit of the highest truth and compassion, I’m struggling to forgive [Name] because of [situation].  I have recognized my wrongs in this.  I can see my desire to control and I know that it is no longer serving me or the relationship.  I surrender my control and my desire to forgive to you.  Heal [Name].  Heal me.  Thank you very much.  Amen.

You can tweek the words so that it most resonates with you, but doing some kind of act to surrender and release to spirit/the Universe in some way on a daily basis is what is going to help you truly heal and release your pain and resentments.

Take action now!

If you’re struggling to forgive someone right now, ask yourself: What is my control pattern in this situation?  How am I wanting to control the other person?  How am I controlling?  Share it in the comments below!

Lesson on Forgiveness: Recreate Your View of the Past

A few years ago, I went through a very challenging relationship.  The relationship was “on again off again” and involved a fair amount of yelling and boundaries being crossed.

Even though the relationship only lasted four months, it was certainly one of the most stressful, difficult, and emotionally taxing relationships I had ever experienced.

For nearly three years after that relationship ended, I found myself re-experiencing the emotions from that time over and over again.  Feelings of anger for what happened, feelings of sadness for trying so hard to make things work, and feelings of being used and disrespected.

I never knew when the feelings would come back, but every time they did a big wave of feelings that would consume my energy for several hours or days.  I could feel that 24 year old young woman who so desperately wanted to feel respected, loved and supported, but it all seemed out of reach despite all her efforts.

Until there came a point when I found myself consumed by the memories and feelings once again, and I realized how much these past experiences were holding me back from the present.  In that moment, I realized that the reason I still had unhealed feelings was not because of the experience itself, but my own perception of that past experience.

The problem was that I was still heavily associating this past experience with all the pain from that time and the bitter resentments that I still felt the need to hold on to.  When, instead, all I needed to do was step outside of my own limited experience, look at the whole situation objectively from a bird’s eye view, and allow myself to see both of us through eyes of pure love and compassion.  It was a matter of clearly seeing us both for our ego-driven mistakes and how we had hurt each other rather than how he hurt me.

This mindset shift may be seen as forgiveness, but it goes a step beyond what we commonly believe forgiveness to be.  This is because it is a total shift in our perception from our own limited view of ourselves and it takes us into a more collective view.  It allows us to see how we are all connected as one and how we impact one another through our oneness.

So how can we begin the journey of making the mindset shift needed in order to truly and fully forgive?  The following are steps that you can do anytime that you feel that you need to practice forgiveness.

Step 1:  Be still and look inward.

To get started, you want to be sure that you sit down in a quite location where you won’t be disturbed for a long period of time.  This may be in a quiet room in your house or apartment, a beach, the mountains, or any location in nature that is fairly secluded.  If you are indoors, you may want to consider playing some nature or meditation music.

Step 2: Recall a painful memory.

As you sit still for a moment, allow a painful memory to arise.  It may be one that you were thinking of before doing this exercise or it could be one that popped in your head in the moment that you sat down and got still.

Step 3: Write (or Draw)!

Grab a pen and paper or journal and write out any thoughts, feelings, and images that come up as you remember this memory.  You may also want to use crayons, colored pencils or pastels to express any images that come to you.

It doesn’t matter if you write and not draw or draw and not write, as long as you do the one you feel most comfortable with.  As you write or draw, allow yourself to relive as much as you feel is needed so you can fully “paint a picture” of your past experience.

Step 4: Reflect on your impact.

After you have finished processing your memory, turn the table how you have impacted the situation by asking yourself the following questions:  How did I cause the other person pain?  How did my own ego-driven blocks make the situation difficult for them?

Allow yourself to really step outside of yourself and look at the situation from the other person’s point of view.  Or, if that is too challenging, focus on looking at the situation from an objective “bird’s eye” point of view.

Step 5: Send them some light and love.

Once you have finished writing and processing, sit back and take the time to do a short visualization meditation.  Allow yourself to be still and focus on your breath.  Visualize yourself breathing in white light down through the top of your head and exhaling it out through your heart.

As you breath, visualize this white light surrounding you.  The light protects you, supports you, and provides you with compassion and love.

When you feel comforted and calm, visualize the person that you are trying to forgive right in front of you.  As you are exhaling the white light out through your heart, send some of this white light out to this person on each exhale.  Continue to do this until you see the other person fully encompassed in this white light.

When you see the other person completely surrounded by this white light, mentally say to them, “I forgive you”.  Continue to mentally say this with each exhale.

When you feel complete, tell them goodbye and send them on their way.  Then take the time to bathe in the white light yourself.  Mentally say to yourself, “I forgive myself for the mistakes I’ve made.  I love myself.”

Once this meditation is complete, take the time to reflect and journal on your experience.  Write down any thoughts or feelings that came up.

Making this mindset shift can be very challenging at first.  You can do this activity for several days or weeks in order to better embody this mindset shift of forgiveness.

Above all, remember that forgiveness is a journey.  There is no switch that we can flip and it all suddenly goes away.  It is only with time, effort, practice, and dedication that we can allow ourselves to fully see our past experiences with love and compassion.

ForgivenessLesson

Take action now!

Go through the steps I listed for a person from your past.   How was the experience for you?  Share it in the comments below!

3 Things to Remember When You’re Trying to Fix Your Breakup

Breakups are rough. Trust me, I’ve been through plenty of them. Some are easier than others, but they still hurt.

When breakups happen we have the tendency to go into a mode where we obsess over all of our mistakes and wish that we would’ve done things differently.

We start thinking of all the things:

“I shouldn’t have said…”

“I shouldn’t have done…”

“I should have…”

“I wish I…”

Thought after thought after thought – all wishing that we could change the past in some way in a hope that our present situation is what it isn’t. We just with that somehow we could fix everything and our relationship could be back the way it was.

Though obsessing and focusing on all the “should haves” is a normal stage of the grief that we have to allow ourselves to go through, we have to be mindful about going too far with it. Meaning: Are you obsessing so much that you’re trying to control everything in your current situation?

Are you trying to force your ex to talk to you? Are you trying to force yourself to forgive? Are you trying to force the two of you to “figure things out” just so you can go back to dating again?

Admittedly, I’ve probably been one of the worst possible people at this. I’m a total recovering Ms. Fix-it. It was very hard for me in the past to simply accept the breakup for what it was and let go from a place of love and respect for the other person.

Though it can be extremely difficult to fully heal from heartbreak, there are things that we can keep in mind that help us release this urge to try to fix our broken relationship.

Regardless of what “technically” happened – it’s still not completely your fault and it’s not completely their fault either.

Typically when we start feeling the urge to control and fix our broken relationship its because we are beating ourselves up. It’s because we’re thinking in our heads “I messed this up, I’m not good enough, and I need to change”.

While its true that we do have areas where we need to grow and become better, its never completely our fault. After all, it takes two to tango. The other person’s imperfections certainly didn’t make things any easier.

That being said, its also good to keep in mind that its never fully the other person’s fault either. So we want to avoid the urge to point the finger at the other person as well. It’s both people together that create conflicts.

BreakupFault

Click to Tweet: A breakup is never one person’s fault. So be easy on yourself — AND your partner. @jenilyn8705

Focus on your own well-being.

When we have most of our energy focused on trying to fix our breakup, we completely forget to focus on one of the most important things of all: ourselves. Try to take time to rest, eat, and talk to a loved one. Allow yourself to grieve and process what you’re going through.

There’s always other fish in the sea.

For years I cringed every time someone would say these words to me, but now I actually find joy in the truth of it. There is so many potential lessons and experiences out there in the dating world.

Trouble, however, is that we can never fully see our possibilities if we are too focused on what we have lost. Sure, allow yourself to grieve – your soul deserves the time to do that – but be mindful about focusing too much on what you have lost. You don’t want to end up in a rut and miss out on noticing the gold that’s in front of you.

Take our a sheet of paper or a journal and write a letter to your ex.  All the things you enjoyed about the person and the things you will miss.  Write down the lessons you’ve learned by being with this person.  Allow this time of writing to be a way of really honoring the relationship that you had with this person.  But don’t actually send it!

Now, on a separate sheet of paper write down all the not-so-great things about being in a relationship with this person.  Try to be mindful about not going on a tangent over how terrible the person was — keep it reasonable.  Focus on the things that you can do, learn, and experience now that you are not with this person.  Imagine the possibilities.

Transform Your Resentments into Forgiveness

Forgiveness – it’s one of those things where we know that we should, but it’s so much easier said than done. Most of us have probably heard the fake Buddha quote, “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die”. We know it’s not good for us. We know we need to let it go. But gosh, why is forgiveness so darn hard to do?

With certain people, despite my efforts, the road to forgiveness has been a long and difficult one. In other cases, it seems that the simple act of time was enough for me to “let it go”, but even in those situations – I can’t help but wonder: Do we really TRULY let go in time or has the resentment just become so repressed that we are no longer aware of it? Has the wound really truly healed when we just let time take its toll on the situation?

I feel like there’s a lot of gray area to that answer, as there can be a lot of different things going on.

However, in the midst of my attempts to achieve genuine forgiveness over and over again, an assignment was eventually brought to me that transformed my mindset of not only those who I still felt resentful towards but to all human beings in general.

As some of you may know from reading my About Me section, I am currently going to graduate school in counseling psychology. A few months ago I was taking a class where we mostly talked about personality disorders: What their classifications are, how they develop in childhood, what attention may be needed therapeutically, and so on. This in itself I felt was an eye-opener because not only could I see several of the traits to varying degrees in many people I’ve known in my life, but I also saw myself in each and every disorder mentioned.

For both my Midterm and my Final Paper for the course, I had to create a fictional character with the personality disorder and write about what is going on in this person’s life, why they came to therapy, how their current relationships are, what their experience was growing up, my therapeutic experience with them so far, and what my future therapeutic plans are for them.

For the paper I kind of effortlessly began to create my character based on some people in my life I had difficulties with since they seemed to express several of the traits. As I began writing this person’s story, I found that frustration, anger, and resentment surfacing once again. How on earth could this person be so self-absorbed? How on earth could this person do such terrible things to someone else? As I continued writing, I began to write about what this person’s childhood was probably like. I wrote about the person’s parents and the type of living situation they were in as well.

It was at that moment that I feel the full reality of what truly is came full-circle. It wasn’t anyone’s fault. There truly isn’t one person or event to place blame. Does it give everyone an excuse? Certainly not, but they have done the best they could. In writing about the person’s background it clearly expressed how they have experienced such struggle and pain in their lives.  I couldn’t help but release any of the resentment I had and to feel true forgiveness.

If anything, this activity brought me back to the reality of how such trends of fear and pain have existed in our society for so long. And it allowed me to see the importance for each of us to really look deep into ourselves to break the trends and habits that so often get passed down from generation to generation. To reach out and see each and every single person for the struggling and wounded person that they truly are – and THAT is the mindset shift that opens the door to true forgiveness.

Forgiveness

That’s Tweetable!  Click here to Tweet: “Every single person in this world is wounded and struggling in their own unique way. See that and you see #forgiveness. @jenilyn8705”!

So think of that person you are struggling to forgive. Imagine their background (don’t worry if it’s right or wrong – just take a guess at what you feel was happening). See where they are coming from full-circle. And, most of all – release your expectations for them to be and do something greater than what they currently are. Accept what is, because holding on to the expectation for them to change is only going to hold you back from pure genuine forgiveness. It may not be an excuse for their actions, but they have done the best they could.

 

Take a Step Toward Forgiveness Today!

Think of a person you are trying to forgive. Write down a story of what they may have experienced in their childhood or past (Hint: Usually how they themselves act is a reflection of how someone in their life treated them – it’s not very different!). And be sure you WRITE the story, because by writing it makes it so much more real.