How many times have you been hurt in life? Really hurt? How does it affect you today? Maybe in ways you don’t even realize. You’re cruising along through your day and then something happens that triggers anger, sadness, maybe even launches you into a depression and you can’t pinpoint what caused it. Or maybe you know exactly who you’re mad at, exactly what they did, and it’s eating you alive inside. Well, it’s time to heal all of this and let it go because anger doesn’t hurt anyone but the one who’s angry. I thought today, I would share a little exercise that I did to heal all the hurts of my lifetime.
It started, for me, with a story you should definitely read first. It’s not too long and it’s one of my favorites. It’s called The Little Soul and the Sun by Neale Donald Walsch. This little story had a profound affect on me. I saw things about life in a way I never had before. I understood the “bad guys” in my life on a whole new level. From the perspective of the story, it’s the ones that hurt us that love us the most. “What?!” you say. “No. Just no. That can’t be.” I know this can be difficult to accept, but read the story, think about it a while. Wrap your brain around it and let it sink in. It’s the ones that love us that hurt us the most.
Once I grasped this concept, I picked up my trusty journal and started sifting through my own past hurts. I came up with, oh, I think a total of six major players in my life that really hurt me. At the top of the page I wrote their name. Then I listed my grievance. This is important, let it all go. Everything this person did, everything you’re mad about and how you feel about it. (You will need a box of tissues, a glass of wine, and an occasional break.) I came across this exercise online 3 or 4 years ago and can’t remember where. If anyone knows or sees it, please let me know so I can give proper credit.
Now, think about what you learned from this experience. Has it made you a better person? Maybe more compassionate? Maybe given you a cause to fight for. What was the gift they gave you? I’m sure you can think of something. Write it down.
The last step is to say thank you, and I forgive you.
I’ll share an example from mine. It’s the first and biggest one. My dad. He and my mother split up when I was 2 and the last time I saw him, I was four. I remember standing at the screen door saying goodbye to him. I was only as tall as the metal decoration on the lower half and had to look way up at him. I never saw him again, until I looked him up when I was 20 and that didn’t go well either. And I didn’t just lose him, I lost aunts and uncles and grandparents. They think you’re little and won’t remember, but that’s not true. So I carried this for years and it showed up in the relationships I chose, the way I interacted with others, my lack of self confidence, depression, anger, and rebellion. And as I got older and more mature, I just stuffed it down. I would say “Oh well, his loss.” when it would surface. As an adult, I truly thought I was over this, but I wasn’t.
So my journal page looks like this.
How I feel: You left me. Why did you leave me? How could you? Don’t you love me? How could you go on with your life like I don’t exist? I’m really hurt and mad at you!! (Here’s where you need the tissues, but don’t stop writing until there’s nothing left. We’re cleansing here. Say whatever you want. No one ever needs to read this, so let it go however you need to. For half an hour I was four again.)
What I learned. What was the gift: I experienced the pain of not being wanted by my father. It has made me a stronger and more compassionate person. The ultimate gift is learning to love myself despite anyone else, learning that my value as a human being isn’t based on someone else’s behavior.
Thank you: Thank you for loving me enough on the other side to volunteer to treat me poorly in this life so I might have this experience and learn from it. I acknowledge the gift received and I release this experience.
I forgive you and I love you.
You have to keep in mind that forgiveness is not for the other person, it’s for you. The person is only behaving in the way they know how to be at the time, and if it hurts you, that’s your perception of it. We suffer unintentional hurts all the time. Other people can hurt us and have no clue they’ve done so. (How often does this happen in a relationship?) Forgiveness of another is for your own peace of mind.
I sat with the last statement I made in my journal at the end of the page and felt it. I do truly forgive you and I love you for the beautiful being you are. I love you for loving me enough.
By the time I went through this with every person on my list I felt so much lighter. It took several sessions, and was emotionally draining at the time, but it’s all gone. I didn’t realize how much anger, pain, and resentment I was carrying around with me under the surface. Now when I think of my dad, it’s a good feeling.
When other people ask me “How can you be so calm about things?”, this is how. Because I get the yin and yang of it. If there’s no bad, there’s no good. If no one plays the bad guy, how could anyone be a good guy? How could we learn anything about life? I look at each person and see the beautiful soul residing in a physical body.
This has made a huge difference in my emotional state, the choices I make, how I respond to things, and how I treat myself. I have learned to love myself and choose well for myself, because in the end, the only opinion about me that matters is mine. And when you love yourself and treat yourself well, you naturally treat others well also.
This whole exercise may seem like a daunting task , but I promise, if you take the time to do it, you’ll feel soooo much better. It truly will change your life.
Wishing you a magic filled day,