Healing. That is a word that encompasses a lot of meaning for many different things. You can heal from physical things, emotional turmoil, and from your past. But what am I specifically thinking about today, in this moment? Healing from your past, we all have a past, some of ours are filled with all of the above that we need to learn to heal from. How can we do that? How can we heal from things that have happened to us in past events?
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It is not an easy task, it is a journey like many other things I have written about over the years, and just like any journey we begin, it is not always one with an easy trek. No, healing from one’s past is a trek that takes years and often a lifetime to achieve a point where you can make peace with all that has happened.
You can choose to allow your self to wallow in the sorrows, or you can learn to make peace with the things that have happened. Does that mean you have to forget? No, absolutely not. But it does mean you have to learn something that is hard for us all, and that is forgiveness.
Forgiveness does not always come naturally to people, especially those who have been hurt in various different ways. Whether it is from physical abuse, emotional abuse, abandonment, or a trauma that has occured in life, for your own sanity and well being you have to learn to forgive.
Does this mean you excuse the actions or the events? No. What it does mean is that you acknowledge that event or the person and you forgive.
Let me give you a few personal examples from my own life to allow you to understand better what I mean by this.
I forgive my ex-husband for not being the man he needed to be to have a wife and a family. I do not excuse his behavior, but I know that he was never meant to be a father, he was never meant to be the man that I needed him to be for our family to work in a healthy and sustainable manner. For this I forgive him, and from this I can move on with a healthy outlook on everything that happened while I was married to him.
I forgive my father for leaving me, I forgive him for getting sick [which he could not help], I forgive him for never being the father I needed when I was growing up, for never being there. I forgive him for things that were ultimately out of his control. Does this excuse all of his behavior and what happened, no. What it does is allow me to heal, it allows me to know that while he was present, he loved me and our family. It allows me to make peace with a huge piece of myself that was broken for years. It allows me to put those pieces back together and heal.
I forgive the man who took advantage of me when I was 12. Do I excuse his behavior either? OF COURSE NOT! But I forgive him for being consumed by alcohol, drugs, and lust. I forgive him for being broken and know that something in him isn’t right. By doing so, I can maintain my relationships in a healthy manner.
I forgive family for being broken and unaware of their actions, I forgive them for forgetting. Forgetting what it truly means to be a family. Again, I do not excuse their behavior, I simply forgive them for being how they are. It is not up to me to make them want to be present, it is not up to me to make them less toxic than they are, it is not up to me to make them care. It is only up to me to make sure that I harbor no ill will or hate in my heart.
For me personally, this is my way of making sure that my peace is not taken away. That I can forgive, so I can heal. I am of no use to my own little family, my children, and my husband… if I constantly walk around with anger, pain, and heartbreak. I realized when my children were younger and my husband and I started dating, that I was so angry, even when I was happy. It took several major traumatic events for me to realize that this was no way for us to continue on.
If I was ever going to heal from these events, I needed to heal myself from my past too. Slowly but surely I made a conscious effort not to yell as much, to take a time out, to make sure that the way I felt about certain things from my past did not ruin our future. This was not an over night change for me, no, it took several years to make that change. My kids look back and often say, mom do you remember when we were little and you used to yell all the time… It makes me feel horrible that they ever felt that all I did was yell when they were smaller. I was young myself, a mom in her 20’s with three small young ones. I did not know how to cope with my past or even to make peace with myself.
But you know what, is key in this whole process? Something that was harder than forgiving others… It was forgiving myself! That to me was harder than ever forgiving people who have harmed or hurt me. Forgiving myself for being young, naive, for being raw, for being inexperienced in many things. I had to forgive myself for all of that, but it still does not excuse my own behavior for being so angry all the time inside, that it spilled over into my children’s early memories.
I hope that they will forgive me, one day and that it does not take much for them to heal from it.
I hope that you can heal from your own pasts, that you can grow and learn from it too. We cannot continue to keep certain cycles going, you have to acknowledge your own part in your healing and break the cycle. You have to heal, you have to find your peace. Once you find it, never let go of it, even if it means cutting ties with those who are toxic in your life. Just because you forgive them does not mean you have to continue allowing them to hurt you. Sever those toxic connections, move on, grow, learn and heal.
I hope this blog post helps someone out there who may have needed to hear these words and experiences.
Until next time,