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What Forgiveness Really Is –

Hello petals, poppets, my dearest specimens

I hope you’re well.

Yes, this is late. Im sorry but I really wanted or should I say needed to spend a little more time on this and get it just right.

If you follow me on social media you will know that last week we were talking about the movie Joker. I felt it was really important after being on such a harsh and controversial topic to outline that though some of us may have been treated poorly it didn’t mean we had to go on and repeat that hurt. That instead we can learn about peoples behaviour and why they behave in the way they do.

With that, we got stuck into the topic of

FORGIVENESS

Yep and the minute I posted that first post on the topic I felt a wave of sighing ripple through my followers list telling me to do anything but discuss that topic. Unfortunately to me that meant even more of a need to cover it.

Forgiveness in itself is probably just as controversial as that blumin’ Joker movie. I was going to say I don’t know how it became quite so controversial then had a flashback to my early teens and early days of recovery when I was at the other end of the scale as to how I feel about forgiveness now.

Oh I was heartbroken the first time I was told to forgive. In fact heartbroken doesn’t even cut it. It was shortly after my second assault and i was at a place in my life of being so incredibly angry and hurt at what had happened to me. I wanted those who had hurt me to hold themselves accountable, to apologise and feel bad for what they had done.

It was so hard!

The first time i was told to forgive the therapist would have had a better response if she had thrown a wet fish at me. I couldn’t believe I had spent so long telling them about my struggles and what I had been through all for them to basically tell me that I should just accept their behaviour and that it was okay or should I say thats what I thought it meant.

I went on to endure therapist after therapist telling me i had to forgive and not one ounce of me could grasp it. In fact after the sentance was presented to me i would usually shut off to prevent any further explanation getting in.

Then my final therapist said it. You know that lady that i constantly talk about that came into my life with a shining bright light surrounding her. When she said it i remember just staring back at her. I was in complete shock that someone that i thought finally understood me would suggest such a thing. Due to my admiration for my therapist and how much she had helped me already instead of pushing the thought away i sat with it and thought to myself maybe there is something in it if she is telling me i have to?

Hang on a minute

She went on to explain what forgiveness really was. That it wasn’t about saying that was happened to me was acceptable but it instead was about accepting that it happened. That i couldn’t change the past as much as i wanted to and that i couldn’t make those that had hurt me take responsibility, apologise and hold themselves accountable.

As I started to learn about my background and story and where not only I had come from but my abusers too I started letting forgiveness into my life. I started to realise that I had been part of something that had gone back generations. That it was all unhealed trauma and anger that had been left to fester. I started to let go, I started to accept what had happened to me and most importantly I started to forgive.

Honestly, when I started to let forgiveness into my life I felt like weights were being lifted off my shoulders. That tension in my heart and body had started to release. I felt like I could sit up right instead of being hunched over in fear and that sickly feeling in the pit of my stomach had started to subside.

There is lots of different parts of my recovery that I loved and was fascinated by but forgiveness and the whole process just blew my mind. Though I spent so much time working hard during CBT completing tasks and daily bouts of homework I still wonder to this day how much of my recovery actually came from forgiveness.

It was life changing.

It’s really interesting that since I started covering the topic of forgiveness I received a lot of messages stating anything from “I don’t want to forgive because my abuser should be held accountable” to “why would I let them off the hook?”. All these things are exactly what I used to think and it’s interesting because I’m not sure why we feel that is what forgiveness is. Every single thing you guys brought in to me I thought years ago.

Its safe to say the main worry for most people is that forgiveness means letting abusers off the hook and mainly because we don’t receive any feedback from the abusers on what they have done. I guess that comes from every day life where we are always apologising for one thing or another. Someone stands on your foot and they say “Oops! Sorry!” and you say “Its okay” or “I forgive you” We hear their apology, we can see it in them and it allows us to accept it and swiftly move on.

Abuse though is very different. There is all this harm done to us. Far more than a trodden foot. We might be covered in bruises, healing physical pain and emotional torture and there is nothing. No apology. No look of sadness at what they have done. No remorse. Nothing.

We become confused because most actions in every day life come with an apology. To us we feel our abusers should be apologising to us with tear filled eyes regretful of what they have done but the sad reality is that it’s not going to happen. When dealing with abuse your chances of getting an apology are very very slim. Most don’t have the ability to see what they have done is wrong and dont understand why an apology is needed.

FULL STOP.

You have probably seen that quote “I never knew how strong I was until I had to forgive someone who wasn’t sorry and and accept an apology I never received”. Forgiveness is so incredibly hard but once we learn that we aren’t going to get an apology there is only one other thing we can do, accept that it happened and move on.

That is what I feel forgiveness is. Acceptance that it happened.

Abuser will have to deal with the ramifications of their actions whether you choose to forgive them or not. Chances are theyre already hurting deeply hence their actions and legal action should be on their path too. Forgiveness won’t touch them. They won’t know you’re doing it and forgiving doesn’t effect their outcome.

Another myth and something I received a lot of messages about was the idea and fear that forgiveness meant reconciling relationships with those that hurt you. Again this isn’t the case. Forgiveness isn’t for them and doesn’t mean anything of the sort. In fact whilst I was on the road to forgiveness I was actively removing and stopping contact with those who hurt me and what, 5-6 years later I have still had no contact with them.

Not even an ounce.

Forgiveness to me is accepting that it happened. Accepting that the people that hurt us don’t have the ability to see their wrongs. Accepting that our thoughts and feelings are only hurting us further and letting go of that anger, resentment and want for hurting those who hurt us.

I received a few messages asking why we don’t just call it acceptance and I feel thats a really valid point but I also think forgiveness is just as good. I think we just have a warped sense of what forgiveness is due to us forgiving those small actions on a daily basis. We have to learn that forgiveness with abuse and trauma is very different.

Though this topic has been a hard one on some of your hearts and hard to get your head around believe me when I say I wouldn’t discuss a hard topic with you guys if I didn’t think the pros outweighed the cons and when I say they far outweigh them, believe me.

I have studied a lot into forgiveness and heard a lot of stories on the topic and only successful ones. I think its one of the hardest to get your head around but the most powerful.

Did you know that there is even research on the health benefits of forgiveness? Not only mentally but that it can reduce blood pressure, increase quality of sleep and reduce the risk of heart attacks. I can believe it because of my own journey of forgiveness. That feeling of constantly being tense and angry at the world cant be good for anyone and I can only imagine what I was putting my body through back then.

I feel forgiveness holds so many wonderful benefits and I encourage you to actively explore it and most importantly look at its true meaning.

My abuser wether my main or those that assaulted me all hadn’t been down the process of forgiveness and letting go of what happened to them. They held on to that anger and bitterness that long that they only recycled the cycle of abuse which lead me to my story. Yes I believe anger is so important and so crucial in our lives but its important to know when to say enough is enough and move on.

We owe it to ourselves to forgive those who hurt us. We don’t deserve the poison of hurt and hate suffocating our hearts.

xox

littlestlady

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