Updated: May 7
When I met Natasha, she was at her lowest. She was married for about a year and was consistently looked down upon in her marriage. She was emotionally abused, had lost tons of weight, and tried taking her life. She was facing panic attacks as a consequence of the trauma she went through. She wasn't ready to come out of that toxic marriage even then. While trying to help her, her mom discovered that the boy had impotence and other problems, and he told Natasha not to disclose the same. The mother took the first step to save her daughter from all the torture. Though it looks like being educated, a working professional getting awards for her work, Natasha could have done better personally. I believe she was doing her best. She grew up in a society where the tag of being separated or divorced is like a character flaw. How could she think of taking that step? Everyone said things would get better, and she felt so.
She finally lost all the energy to deal with and make her marriage work. Then she was desperate to escape that and started working on her conditioning, self-esteem issues, and boundaries. In the process, she started realizing her self-worth & understood what made her ignore what was happening to her. She started understanding why she believed in others more than herself, allowed others to gaslight, manipulate and control her life, ignored red flags, tried to make others happy, doubted herself and started losing herself. She listened & followed through with whatever task I used to give her. She worked on herself rigorously. Watching her grow as a person- from an underconfident girl to a self-loving person was a pleasure. Sometimes, we need to hit the rock bottom to find out how strong we are. Natasha was in the process of discovering her true potential and was getting stronger day by day. However, there was one hindrance to her full recovery. She was not willing to forgive. She kept repeating that I could never forgive him. I will never forgive. And that became my biggest worry.
I never told her, but she made me feel so emotional and worried about her that I spent hours thinking about ways to help her feel confident and that whatever happened was not her fault. Before she could forgive her in-laws, I knew she needed to forgive herself for tolerating unfair behaviour to save her marriage, not taking any stand for herself, not believing in herself, not having healthy boundaries, and not prioritizing herself. She needed to be kind to herself. She needed to stop victimizing herself. She needed to understand that it's foolish to punish herself in her present because someone hurt her in the past. It's not worth it.
Forgiveness is often misunderstood as accepting the wrong behaviour. If you say, I can never forgive someone, you indirectly affirm, "I allow the person who wronged me a place in my head forever. I'll always remember them with hatred and never allow myself to progress from that situation, and I'll victimize myself whenever I realize I'm not moving like others." It's feeling stuck in the same way when renting your space to a painful tenant.
What forgiveness is—
Forgiveness is a choice when you value your peace of mind over everything.
Forgiveness is the wisdom to choose who can stay in your thoughts.
Forgiveness is a way to walk towards your growth and productivity.
Forgiveness is the most essential step to set you free.
Forgiveness is releasing emotional burdens.
Forgiveness is self-care.
What forgiveness is not—
Forgiveness is not condoning hurtful behaviour.
Forgiveness is not trying to change someone.
Forgiveness is not a favour to someone.
Forgiveness is not victimizing yourself.
Forgiveness is not a weakness.
Forgiveness is not revenge.
How forgiveness helps—
Breaks cycles of anger, resentment, and pain.
Reduces stress & anxiety.
Sets you free.
When you are hurting, the other person doesn't even know and probably doesn't care if you have forgiven them. You don't need to go to that person to forgive them. They might never come back to you asking for forgiveness, either. You need to push them out of your head peacefully to move forward is why you need to forgive. It also means prioritizing your well-being. Your mind is the most sacred place. Keep only those people, places, things and situations which make you feel comforted, relaxed, joyful, peaceful and abundant. You can consciously discard the rest.
We are most productive when we are physically, mentally, and emotionally well. That's one of my biggest reasons to practice forgiveness. I have been practising myself and trying to help people to forgive without condoning the behaviour. Below are a few steps that have worked with many clients.
Step 1: You need to understand what forgiveness is. Understand what it means to YOU.
Step 2: Why is it essential for you to forgive?
Step 3: You need to be willing to forgive. You won't forgive someone otherwise. This might take some time.
Step 4: You might need to forgive yourself first. Seek help or figure this out yourself.
Step 5: Keep repeating the first four steps till you feel free.
It might take some time, but it will be worth it. Ask for help from a professional if it's getting overwhelming.
How would you understand if you have forgiven?
You know you have forgiven others because you can meet them again in your mind, and there's no longer any sting. Whenever those memories of the person, situation or place come to you, they pass without leaving any uncomfortable emotions.
Final Thoughts: Forgiveness is a gift to yourself. Refusing to forgive someone is like stabbing yourself and hoping the other person will feel it. You are what you eat mentally & spiritually. You can eat the choicest of food & still be hungry for love, peace, harmony & health. It doesn't matter if you feast or fast. Whatever you eat physically will be transmitted into physical beauty, body symmetry & proportion. What you eat mentally changes your internal chemistry positively or negatively. Be wise in choosing your thoughts and more thoughtful in deciding who is worth staying in your thoughts.
Please share your views.
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