Forgiveness can FEEL hard.
One of the trickiest things about it is that you might not even be sure WHO you need to forgive. You may think it’s the person who has wronged you, but you could very well be wrong. Today’s guest expert, Valerie Kolick, said it best...
“When we have resentment towards someone else, it’s almost always about ourselves”.
For a long time after my divorce, I FELT really angry at my ex-husband. After all, he is low hanging fruit because he has been a deadbeat dad for over five years and a heroin addict. But here is the thing, my anger wasn’t really AT him. It took awhile to figure out, but I did come to the rather unfortunate conclusion that I was really angry at myself for marrying him in the first place.
I found myself getting caught up in stories of “what if”. “What if I had made better choices?” “What if I cared less about snagging a guy and more about loving myself?” “What if I didn’t lie to myself for 10 years?” How would my life be different? This line of thinking would make me feel so stupid and vulnerable.
What’s worse, about seven years post-divorce, I begin to see patterns of resentment bubbling to the surface of many of my relationships. Valerie hit on this exact point when she said, “When we don’t speak up and say what we need or want in a situation, we resent the other person because we didn’t get our own needs met.” This is where forgiveness comes in.
“We need to make a decision that we want to let go of the hurt or anger. Maybe forgiving ourselves. Maybe forgiving others.”
Get curious about your anger.
Create a list of your main childhood memories starting from 3 years old and work you way up. You know, like what you can specifically recall like it was yesterday. One of mine is a time my friend died of a drug overdose. I was crying hysterically because I had loved him so much. He was that guy that everyone loved. He lit up a room. He was special. When my mother saw me crying she said, “Oh, what the hell are you crying so hard for? You are only crying because he was cute”. So yup, that example along with countless others created a Melissa who doesn’t think her feelings are important and if she shows vulnerability, she won’t receive compassion. So I learned not to tell people I’m hurting - even when THEY are the one doing the hurting.
Why is our history important?
Think about it. What do you do when you are hurting and you’ve avoid handling it? In my case, I ate, drank, and did drugs. I did anything to push those feelings down real real good. Maybe you’ve learned to carry more than your share in relationships which causes you tons of anxiety which drives your desire for comfort through the roof especially at 9pm when you’ve stopped for 2 seconds and realize just how chaotic your day was. You seek out comfort via chocolate chip cookies. That’s just an example. You get the idea.
How do we stop this behavior that is stuck in our subconscious?
We need to change the thoughts that drive us to do the things we don’t want to be doing, like smoking, drinking too much, binge eating, etc. When you get the desire to “do the thing”, what thoughts are running through your head? Once you have that information, you have the power to change it.
Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
My new best friend, Valerie, just dropped one of my most popular phrases on you. I say this like all the time! THIS is what strength training did for me. Every time I pushed past the pain of a deadlift, bicep curl, or squat, I was slowly learning that temporary pain didn’t kill me. For many of us though, we really don’t like being uncomfortable and so we medicate.
“I’m bored (aka I feel so lonely), I’m going to eat some ice cream”.
“I’m so freaking stressed! (aka I take on more than I should because I want to be loved and feel worthy), I drink an entire bottle of red wine”.
Self-medication leaves no room for self-reflection. You must learn to lean into the pain and get curious.
Reprogram your brain and become high vibe.
We can reprogram our thoughts through Tapping, otherwise known as EFT. You can learn more about that HERE https://www.healthline.com/health/eft-tapping.
Valerie teaches us that we can remove the emotion related to our negative though through tapping.
Let's say you are feeling stressed and you want to eat the cupcake in the office lunchroom, you tap on your "Karate Chop Point" and say:
"Even though I really want to eat this cupcake, I deeply love and accept myself."
Do this three times.
Then tap sequence 2 which is shown below. Start with #1 and work your way down. While tapping this sequence, say:
"Eat the cupcake."
Repeat sequence 2 about 6 or 7 times.
I don't know about you, but I'm pretty excited to have this actionable step I can take the next time I feel overwhelmed and want to make binge-like choices.
To join Valerie's Forgive Challenge click here: https://valkolick.kartra.com/page/UWy88
To learn more about her visit http://www.valeriekolick.com/