As I had mentioned in Part 1 of “On The Journey to Forgiveness”, as I began to forgive I noticed how much better I could breathe and how my jaw was no longer permanently clenched. Working on forgiveness is a difficult task indeed, but the struggle of it is nothing compared to the immense relief that is experienced when applying it.
I remember the exact moment when I realized that something had drastically changed, I stopped by curiosity to study this new emotion and concluded that it must have been peace. You see, once I grasped that the reason why others caused me pain was because they themselves were in so much pain that it spilled onto me, it was easier for me to forgive them. Since I was able to forgive them, I automatically forgave myself by default. Usually it works the other way around, you forgive yourself and then others, but all cases are different and there really is no right way.
What did I have to forgive myself for, you ask? It has been often said that whatever others have done wrong to you is nothing compared to how vicious we, in consequence have been to ourselves. For example, if your mother would have told you that you couldn’t do something, like becoming an artist, in your childhood and in the present, you continue thinking this by constantly telling yourself that you are dumb, useless and that you cant get anything done. In my case, my grandfather sexually abused me in my childhood and in repercussion, I destroyed and abused myself through drugs and alcohol and continuously would put myself in dangerous situations in which the abuse continued through more sexual abuse, police brutality, domestic violence and even rape. By the time I was done being vicious to myself, it was impossible for me to face the truth therefore I drank and smoked to numb the pain.
I was stuck in this vicious cycle and could not get out. Until, one day, I decided to explore myself and connect all the dots backyards so that I can understand why I had become who I was in the present. I knew I was worth it and I always had that gut feeling that I can be so much more if I could just get over certain walls. By discovering who I was and studying my past, it became clear that I was a survivor and that I deserved to thrive and live my life to the fullest. We all have that gut feeling, we are all amazing beyond our wildest imagination but unless we forgive ourselves and others for their past mistakes, we can never break down our walls and truly reach our fullest potential.
Forgiving the people that had somehow damage me in my life was enlightening and understanding that they were also wounded helped ease the process. As a result, I became more compassionate and at peace with the world and people around me… myself being no exception.
I often return to that moment when I first felt the peace, the moment when I could breathe fully and a huge burden was taken off my shoulders. Forgiving others was and still is amazing but finding the courage to forgive myself was way more then that… it was phenomenal. I could truly say that I finally started to understand what it means to love myself.
The journey to forgiveness is a long one, it takes a lot of effort and work. Some days are much harder then others and that’s okay, you can always start fresh at any given moment in time. It is a journey that never really ends, you must be strong, patient and courageous to apply it hence only a few will adventure into mastering it, but when you do, you will have the privilege of being genuinely free and have peace of mind no matter what has or is to happen in your life. You will be one of the rare individuals who live their lives to the fullest and enjoy the scarce treasure that is happiness…what more can you possibly ask for?…Forgiveness rocks!!!
Who in your life haven’t you forgiven? What have you done that you have not yet forgiven yourself for?