Personal GrowthWhen we hold on to resentments it festers and in turn others get hurt in the crossfire whether it's intentional or not. It closes the doors to growing as people, spiritually and emotionally.
To truly forgive, one must step outside of themselves and see things as a whole and not parts. Then one must look inward at themselves and take ownership of their own mistakes, rather than blaming others or their past. This is not such an easy task, which is why it is so difficult to forgive. It's so much easier to hold and focus on those pieces that hurt us so badly and/or to point blame.
Many that know of how I grew up and other things I have survived, sometimes find it hard to understand how I have forgiven. There was a time when I had not. I was angry and it affected everything in my life. It kept me from growing, because when I would step forward, the resentments would show themselves and I'd take a step backward. It affected how I treated others in general and it kept me from letting anyone in.
One day I was watching my oldest daughter when she was eight years old. I was 27 at the time. I noticed how she was reacting to situations and I saw she was learning from me in a negative way. It scared me and I took a look inward to try and fix myself and find out why I was the way I was. I realized that I was allowing my childhood or lack there of to control my future and define who I was as a person in a negative way.
No, I didn't do drugs, drink or abuse like my mother and I took pride in that. Though, I didn't realize the negative emotions that I was holding on to were affecting everyone that I loved.
So, after taking a look inside at what was holding me back, I took a look outside of myself to try and look at things as a whole. Then I began to see my mother and others who inflicted pain on me in a different light. It was then that the process of forgiveness began. Anger began to fade and I began to have compassion for those that hurt me in my childhood.
Healing came in more completeness when I sat down with my mother one day. Instead of lashing out judgement towards her, I gave her a hug and didn't let go. I told her that she was not perfect, but I love her despite those imperfections. I let her know of the positives that my growing up had. It made me a stronger person and by watching my mother go through things she went through, I learned compassion for others and it stopped me from doing some dangerous things in my adult life.
My mother sat and cried for a bit and then told me thank you. You see, she spent her whole life holding on to the pain of the abuse she suffered as a child and in turn she hurt herself and others around her. Then she was living with the guilt of her actions. So, by forgiving her, I was releasing her from that guilt and replacing it with love. It was the beginning of a healing for my mother and myself as well as our relationship.
True forgiveness is one of the most difficult things to do, but it is one necessarily for personal and spiritual growth. We must let go of the negative to really see the good around us.