Unwavering Commitment to Forgiveness
I know, I know, forgiving someone who hurt you can feel impossible. It’s as if the moment you’re open to the idea of forgiveness, something triggering inevitably follows, causing another wave of bitterness, *deep sigh*.
I’ve been there – again AND again – riding the waves of hurt. I won’t sugarcoat it. Maybe someone out there can choose forgiveness once and it sticks, but for everyone else I know, forgiveness is an ongoing process. It’s a consistent choice + a healthy dollop of grace for the days you just can’t.
The first time I ached for there to be another way besides feeling consistently hurt and angry, you know what I felt? Stuck. Surely there had to be a way to get out of the wake, but I kept getting pulled under the tide when I asked the question: “how??”
I want to share with you a few secrets I embraced that allowed me to lay down the hurt and pick up freedom for good. Follow me through this five part blog series, or choose your own journey:
HOW I STAYED COMMITTED TO FORGIVENESS WHEN IT FELT ENDLESSLY IMPOSSIBLE (THIS ARTICLE!)
If you’re struggling with resentment or anger, friend, can I validate that the hurt you endured wasn’t ever supposed to happen. What they did was not okay. It hurt then and it hurts still. That’s okay. You’re courageous for wanting to move in a new direction so it doesn’t hurt forever. Forgiving doesn’t make what they did okay, it brings freedom for YOU through the process of healing. You’re in the right place.
How I stayed committed to forgiveness when it felt endlessly impossible
After I got pregnant at 16 years old, my daughter’s dad went to college a few towns away. For 5 years he was in and out, but mostly out. I felt alone. Left. The weight of single-parenting opened the door to overwhelming bitterness. Hurt expectations crumbled the view I had of him until I was sure I’d never forgive or forget.
My hurt displayed as bitterness and my disappointment mounted as anger.
Honestly, bitterness and anger were easier to choose than acknowledging long-ignored emotion. This clouded mindset kept the focus on his wrongdoing and less focus on my painful stuffed down emotions. For years I was there. Looking back, it seems as if there wasn’t time to feel all the hurt amidst the chaos. Now that it was long settled, grief begged for my attention.
Friend, lean in. Forgiveness will stay bitter until you process how you needed to feel, but never had space to. Make the space. Cry, journal, yell, however you release. This is essential.
Here’s the truth that allowed me to stay committed to forgiveness: Choosing forgiveness doesn’t make the hurt go away, it just puts you in charge of the hurt.
Forgiveness is only impossible when you don’t actually believe what is possible.
I remember the night I decided I was fed up with feeling fed up. I gave this person so much power over my emotions and actions. No one can make you feel a certain way, but they do have influence on your emotion. Actions and words have impact. On autopilot, you’re constantly choosing to give power over, take power back or share power. *To be clear, when triggers are present, choosing gets harder, but it’s still not impossible. You hold the cards that will determine how you see your situation. You can pick new cards anytime the ones you hold don’t work for you anymore.
Here’s what this looked like in action for me: Instead of focusing on all the impact, fear and hurt, I set a vision for how I wanted my daughter to grow up with us as co-parents. Starting with humility and this question: “am I doing my part of the work that will propel us toward making that vision a reality?”
What do YOU have the power to change/control? What do you want instead of what’s happening? Asking yourself hard questions isn’t oversimplification, it’s the corner piece of your puzzle that allows other pieces to fall into place more easily. Taking responsibility for my emotions and thoughts was empowering, but recognizing the control I had over them was a breakthrough.
Now you’re in the driver’s seat thinking, “What now?” Let’s look at some practical ways you can practice forgiveness that will put your foot on the pedal moving you forward! Click “NEXT” below to read part 2 in this forgiveness series.
Getting Started with Forgiveness
Your situation is unique and your story of forgiveness no doubt looks different. I crafted something with you in mind! The hardest part of forgiveness is choosing to break the cycle of bitterness. Get instant access to my “Getting Started with Forgiveness” guidebook. With your story in mind, interactively explore:
- forgiveness myths and truths
- identifying fears and barriers in your path
- the key ingredient to forgiveness
- tracing thoughts that feed bitterness and inserting replacement patterns
- setting your personalized vision for freedom
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