Forgiveness is definitely NOT my favorite F-word. Those of you who follow me and watch my FB lives know what my favorite F word is. But no other f-word than "forgiveness" used to make me shut down and feel completely knotted inside. Because I didn't feel ready to forgive, I didn't want to forgive, I felt like "they" didn't deserve forgiveness, and because I felt cutting them (people, experiences, actions) completely out of my current life was enough and a "cleaner" way to deal with it all.
When I started my personal development journey years ago, and my coach at the time tiptoed around and eventually pushed me into the reality with "Seo, we cannot get to the result you are looking for without addressing this huge monster in the room, your forgiveness issue from past traumas."
I almost ran out of the meeting when he called it like that - "your forgiveness issue from past traumas." I felt vulnerable and called out about my "brokenness." But because I'm brave and committed to my work, I stayed. I sat with all the knots and stiffness inside my gut, feeling all those emotions and fears, feeling the tears, rage, sadness, defensiveness, and so much more.
What followed were weeks and weeks of more self exploration and work around my "forgiveness issue." I uncovered that my complete rejection to forgiveness came from this big fear of "becoming undone." My story went like this:
If I forgive them, that means they are free to enter my life again.
If they enter my life again, they are free to cause all the same drama, pain, damage in my life.
And then all the work I've done on myself to be okay & function normally, it will be all fucked up.
I will pretty much come undone, completely lose it, and I will be back to when I used to feel so powerless & broken.
If I forgive them, they will come back to ruin me, and I can't let that happen.
That's some heavy stuff! When I got really clear on why I was afraid of forgiveness, I was able to work through this. And this is why people need to do this work with someone else, a coach, mentor, healer, therapist...someone who can call you out on your bullshit, hold you accountable to the work you committed, and help you see your truth and UNtruth of your story.
These are some things that worked for me:
- Redefining what "forgiveness" meant to me: instead of saying forgiveness means a blank slate and ground zero, I considered a new definition of forgiveness to be FREEDOM from this terrible knotted feelings and fears I had been living with for years.
- Learning more about and practicing boundaries in my personal life, business, and relationships - so I no longer felt powerless and helpless if I ever decided to reconnect with those I was trying to forgive. Realizing it was in my full control to allow their access or influence to my life and emotion was...EMPOWERING.
- Working on HEALING my inner-child and inner teenager self so I no longer felt paralyzed with fear or anger from those parts of younger me that experienced the past pains.
- Using my adult LOGICAL MIND to see my past with less emotions - for example, when I was able to see my mother of my past as someone who was younger than me, with terrible self-esteem and insecurity, stuck in an unhappy and insecure marriage with a man with a drinking problem, trying to pretend and navigate through her life as if nothing was wrong. I considered, "could I (the adult, professional, compassionate coach Seo) possibly have a bit of compassion and patience toward this incredibly unhappy, screwed-up young woman trying to do life as best as she could, even though she is totally fucking it up?"
It took a while to get to a point where I could say I have forgiven my past, but I have. And I must admit, FORGIVENESS is really a magic F word. When we are able to free ourselves from all the pain, emotions, fears, and resistance related to letting go of our past pain, it's incredible how much SPACE it creates for us to invite something that is more joyful and loving toward our soul.
Do you have someone or something to forgive? How do you feel about forgiveness? What has been your journey so far?
Here's how to work on forgiveness to create the mindset and energetic shift you desire...
Sharing a practice from my 21-day Mindset Makeover program.
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Meet Seo Kelleher, an intuitive coach for life and business, committed to empowering women. "I am passionate about helping women find the courage to transform their lives by embracing their vulnerability and taking the responsibility."