No one is immune to being hurt. I have been hurt deeply. So very Soul shatteringly hurt that nearly impenetrable walls were built around my heart and stood tall and strong for years. That is until I couldn’t take the pain of resentment anymore. The load of the baggage was just too much for me to bear and I had to examine it in order to live the life that I wanted to live. Here I am learning about living a positive life and just how much our thoughts form and create our reality, and I’m dragging 1 ton worth of built up anger and pain around with me where ever I go.
A long time ago I heard the saying that “hurt people, hurt people”. If one was to truly love themselves then they would find it near impossible to hurt another living being. It took me years to fully embrace this as my personal truth, but once I did there was no going back. Now, when I do bad, I feel bad. When I do good, I feel good. If I didn’t do my best, or try, or go the extra mile, I feel a naggy feeling deep inside. This only became possible once I was able to look at myself, my life, my interactions and sit back and look at what I did, was doing, or could do in the situation that produced the outcome of my being hurt. When I did this, I found a few “oh shit” moments where it really was my fault and my words/actions were the catalyst for the downward spiral. Then there were times where I really was the victim. I was the lucky person to bear the brunt of a whopping and emotionally damaging hurt, done by someone who was so hurt themselves, that their cup runnith over with pain and resentment and it splashed all over me. I admit, I hate to think of myself as a victim. I like to believe that I’m always a trailblazer, but recently I’ve come to know the true value of emotions and vulnerability. I used to hide the hurt, fake the funk and be all “that is your life shit to deal with, not mine.” And for the most part, that’s true, except that you can still be hurt by other people’s “life shit” and that’s ok! Forget what you heard about image, authenticity is the new black. Cry if you need to cry. If you’re an asshole, be an asshole, at least you are being up front letting people decide if they want you in their life. Hopefully as a society we can work on our tolerance and our acceptance of others to the point if you are not someone’s cup of tea, they can live and let live.
Withholding forgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies
In life and love you almost expect and somewhat prepare for hurt. Co-workers, bosses, so and so from the PTA…there is almost a quiet acceptance of it, like death or taxes. But what of when family hurts you? Your mother, your father, an uncle, your in-laws? You can ignore it and let the resentment and bad feelings mount. You can be grudgy and nasty whenever you see them, or the hurt can be be acknowledged and worked through when you say things like “when you told people that you thought I was crazy, and denied the legitimacy of my love for Michael it hurt my feelings.” Now what if the other party doesn’t want to work through it? Their presence isn’t even needed! I have found that it is our individual responsibility to bring peace to ourselves. Forgiveness, I am learning, has absolutely nothing to do with the other person, nor are you condoning what happened. “I forgive” does in no way mean that “I accept” what happened/was said. Forgiveness is just as necessary to the psyche as a vacation is to the body, and just like the months leading up to a vacation, the journey towards forgiveness takes much work. I am finding that just like there are times where I’m going to put off that document for a few days because I just can’t do it, the same goes for my work towards forgiveness. To fully forgive, I need to do the work necessary to forgive a decent amount of crap from not only those who have hurt me, but I need to work towards asking for forgiveness from those that I hurt, either personally, or in my heart. (For instance, I’m not going to go track down my ex or anything. I can do the work necessary without him being there.) So you can see, this entire thing is a process. An individual, ongoing, and glorious process and it is never ever too late to start. Fair warning though, the longer you put off starting, the further the dig down into self. Plus why would you want to put off feeling better?
Very early into this journey, I realized that some of the people who hurt me didn’t set out to deliberately steal my joy at the best time of my life, they did it because they are conditioned to do so. They don’t know joy themselves. I found that some of the people that hurt me because they disrespected me, don’t know respect. They don’t respect themselves, nor do they respect other people close to them, so who am I? The best that I can hope for is that I can be a spark of light, or an agent of positive change, but I can’t do that when I am so fucking angry at them. Henceforth, the work that I still need to do. That’s the other thing, don’t be naïve enough to believe that anger doesn’t go hand in hand with the forgiveness process. I know…it was a surprise for me too. I will say that once I was able to stand back and really “see” the people that hurt me and fully understand their personal stories and also watch how they interact with others, I was able to take how they attempt to interact with me less personal. Then it dawned on me that a few of the hurts that happened were because I allowed it. I teach people how to treat me first and foremost, quite simply by how I treat myself. If I am down playing the brilliance that I’m born with, that we all are born with, am I to expect that others will play it up for me? Take me seriously if I don’t take myself as so? This leads me to the point that if I want to forgive or be forgiven, I have to start with me. I have to forgive myself for all the times I didn’t stand up for myself, or when I did and went about it the wrong way. For not going to law school, for being divorced, for not knowing better all the times that I should have. And so it happens, yet another path on your Journey to explore before you get led back around to your life’s path again.
Forgiveness pushes you to be compassionate to others as well as yourself. I found it helpful to be empathetic when thinking of my “enemies” as my ego has deemed them, and think…”how would I feel if”… and really put myself in another person’s shoes. Or if it’s a self-forgiveness scenario, I try to go back to myself at the time of the event and maybe then realize that I am holding young Jenna to what older and wiser Jenna now knows, and that’s just not fair. Then you inevitable get the thought: “Am I doing that to others?” I really envision their life as my own and then look at me from their angle. At first it’s a lot of work, but it will become easier, and it is vital to the recovery of our society right now. We have to learn to forgive. Healthy people = Healthy partnerships = Healthy kids = Healthy families = Healthy world. It really does start with the individual.
I am very very early into this process but I just felt compelled to share what it is that I’ve learned so far. Right now, when I am in contact with someone who has hurt me, I just stay quiet. Lady like, but quiet. This world needs no more Real Housewife drama than it already has and when you don’t know what to do/say then don’t do/say anything. Quiet is where the magic happens. It invites in peace. Don’t be afraid of silence, it is only then that you can hear God talk. Below is a link to the book that got me started on my process and I will tell you that you’re going to dig deep, real deep. I stumbled upon it in the height of my depression when my soul was pushing me to examine and change. The only copy around, on a shelf where it shouldn’t have been, I took it as a sign from my angels that this is where I needed to start in order to get relief. Typical of me…it sat on my bed stand for awhile. Knowing that I had to be ready to do all that the book was going to ask of me, I had to wait until I felt ready, and I was too deeply entrenched in anger. I can now happily say that while long from recovered, I’m no longer raging mad…instead, I’m only slightly pissed off. This book is gentle and what I’ve learned so far is so liberating. Eventually, one comes to learn that life is one big classroom. Everything, every experience has a lesson to be learned, and just like in school, you will keep getting that lesson until it’s learned. Sometimes, we have to just buckle down, dig deep, and learn.
I wish for you much success in “letting it all go.”
The Forgiveness Formula by Kathleen Griffin