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Is Forgiveness Always Essential for Healing?

We must first forgive ourselves.

When it comes to forgiveness or learning how to forgive others what it really comes down to is the ability to forgive ourselves first. 

Many times when I do a reading for a loved one, forgiveness will become a part of the topic. I believe that there is tremendous power in forgiveness. Forgiveness can be a challenge, however our growth towards enlightenment has many of us looking at this lesson with a magnifying glass at times.  Forgiveness is one of the biggest challenges in our Life Lessons as part of our Soul Contracts.  

I would like to also give you a different perspective.

We are often taught that forgiveness is essential for personal growth and healing but in my experience as a spiritual teacher and medium, this is not always the case.  In my experience I believe you can move on, you can let go of anger and you can heal.  

We recently shared Dana’s life story on Spirited Straight Talk podcast regarding trauma and childhood abuse.   In this situation there was major trauma that took place and there was an expectation on her to “let go” of what happened and to forgive her perpetrators which were her stepmother, father and many other people of trust.  Dana and I spoke about her experience and contemplated why she was expected to forgive and have relationships with her abusers.  If you find yourself in this situation know that I do not believe your are dwelling on the past or harboring negative emotions.  You are giving yourself time to decide what is best for you.

Here are a few things that may help.

  • Analyze the situation and decide how you feel about what has been done to you.
  • Allow yourself time to heal.  There is no timeframe, and you are not doing it wrong.  The process is different for everyone.  If forgiveness is not a step you want to take yet, you will be ok.  I am not a fan of Dogma which teaches guilt and shame.  There is no shame in allowing yourself time to heal. 
  • Take your time. Saying you forgive someone when you haven’t can make you feel isolated.  Forgiveness cannot be forced, so allow yourself time to truly figure out how you feel.  Your healing process is the most important thing, so show yourself compassion.  If you are angry or hurting, then acknowledge that and don’t beat yourself up about it.  It is normal to feel these emotions if you have been hurt or betrayed. 
  • Acknowledge what happened and consider the severity of the situation.  Have they apologized and did they come to you directly?  It won’t always make up for it, but it is a good indication of remorse.  It may help you as you consider how you move forward.  
  • Remind yourself that the person who hurt you is human.  We all make mistakes.  If you can see them for who they are you may be able to “let go” of some of the anger.  Forgiveness is still your choice and allow yourself time to heal. 

Are you the one looking for forgiveness?

If you were the person who hurt an individual are you willing to take responsibility?  Can you apologize without sharing why you did what you did, unless the individual wants to know?  Are you willing to hear how your actions effected their lives without interrupting or defending yourself?  Can you accept they may not be able to forgive you?  Also, if you want the relationship to heal so they can trust you again, what are you willing to do?

There is no doubt everyone has hurt another person and for many of us that is not what we intended, but it does happen.  We are human and we will make mistakes, however we are also here to learn as we experience life.  

Wherever you are on a journey of forgiving yourself, forgiving others or just acknowledging where you are on your journey, know that you are going to be ok.    We all have our unique path of learning, healing our hearts and growing into the light filled souls we are meant to be.

Connect to Spirited Straight Talk Podcast to hear more of Dana’s Story and many other topics.

Namasté and Love,

Deb Sheppard