Because of something personal this past week, I felt that this week’s post would be best taken from something discussed in a chapter in my book…
It is okay to feel hurt. It is okay to let it all out. But it is not ok to hurt others because you are hurting. If you need to smash a plate or an old picture, then do it. Let it out, clean it up and move on. Holding it in is the worst thing we can do. I did it for far too long and those emotions then surfaced in each of my relationships, including those with my own family and kids. The fact of the matter is that we hurt because we hurt, and we typically hurt those closest to us because we know we can get away with it. They are the ones that accept us as we are and still stand by us. We know they are going to love us unconditionally and we need that. But it is imperative that we heal and break that cycle.
I learned through years of therapy that the way to heal, is through forgiveness. Even if you never hear the words I’m sorry…forgive. Forgiveness is hard. If you’re like me and suffer from OCD, it can seem unimaginable at times that forgiveness is even possible. I spend more minutes of my day replaying arguments and conversations that happened days, months or even years ago, than I do thinking about things that could actually make me happy. So much time wasted wanting to change things that are out of my control. Constantly going over the what ifs and could’ve been moments in my head. No matter how many times I replay the arguments or scenarios in my mind, I cannot change a thing. I have to let the past go. For me though, I too often dwell on the past and what it has brought to the present. Isaiah 43:18-19 – “Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be Alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?” We need to see it. Or, Colossians 3:13, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Remember too, that revenge is not ours to give. We must forgive and move on. It is the only way we can heal and have a healthy heart and mind. Leave the past in the past and live for today as you work on you.
I’ve never liked the saying forgive and forget. By no means does forgiveness mean that you need to forget. You should remember the wrong doings that have happened to you. BUT do not ever dwell on them. Keep hold of those memories and use them to your advantage, not your detriment. Learn from them. Learn how not to be in those situations again. There may have been offenses committed on you that felt like they broke you, but they really didn’t. You are here and you are strong. By forgiving someone, you are not giving them power over you. Quite the opposite actually. By forgiving them, you are empowering yourself. You are letting them know that they may have hurt you, but they did not break you. You are also letting them know that they cannot hurt you anymore. You are freeing yourself of all the negativity and animosity that is within you. This is essential to the healing process. Hurt and trauma cause us to always be defensive and guarded. If we can heal, we can learn again to open our minds and hearts, and do so with boundaries in place. We will be able to live life more on the offensive line, ready to play and win at life.
In the healing process, you also need to be honest with yourself and what you have contributed to your own hurt. People hurt us often on their own. But sometimes we allow them to. Sometimes we can be the toxic person too. I was not always the victim in my story. Sometimes I was the villain. From time to time, do yourself a favor and check yourself in the mirror. Ask those who you have wronged for forgiveness, and forgive yourself too. Let yourself off the hook. If you dwell on your own wrong doings, it is just as bad as dwelling on what others have done to you. You can only change the you in the here and now, not yesterdays you. And, you can only change you by acknowledging your own faults and short comings. You must also accept that you cannot change others. People will show us their true colors if you just let them. It is okay for us to accept it a time or two. But you will need to realize when it is time to accept who they are at face value, based on what they’ve been showing you all along.