One of the questions I get asked is how a person goes from pain…to forgiveness, then peace. Well, first of all, hopefully before you move ahead in accomplishing this, you have already decided that you have made a decision to heal your wounds…no matter what it takes.
I can say for myself that I spent many years looking back and licking my wounds. I was still in the “victim” way of thinking…asking myself why this happened to me. Why were some people in my life so cruel? What had I done to deserve this kind of treatment? I had to move beyond seeing myself as a victim and seeing it as just an experience. Then evaluating the experience in terms of what lesson(s) it had taught me.
This kind of psychic change will take you out of the victim role and puts you into the observer role. It’s like watching a movie where you begin to identify and get to know each of the characters. One of the things that came to me was; “what happened, happened. What can I do about it now? How can I be at peace with it”? It wasn’t about changing the “other person” but about changing myself. Now some of you may think that in your place in life as “victim”, terrible things were “done to you” and you didn’t ask for it. I understand…like myself, when you are a victim of child abuse, how do you reconcile the behaviors of the supposed “adults” in your life that hurt you? Well, you can’t. There is no reconciliation…and there is no justification for the perpetrator’s behavior towards you. Only compassion. Ok, I think I’m jumping ahead a little bit. Actually, compassion comes a little bit later.
Let’s look at you first. You’ve been hurt…very deeply. What do you do with THOSE emotions? You acknowledge that you have them and you allow yourself to feel it. Cry, get angry, punch a pillow, scream and find someone you trust to talk to. Try and sort out the emotions a little bit. There will be memories that cause you to feel angry…or sad. That’s good. In allowing yourself to feel those emotions, you are giving value to yourself and everything that you feel…no matter how bad the emotion. What I mean by this is that, so many people who have been abused have guilt about feeling angry. The whole experience of having been abused in the first place is because your perpetrators caused you to feel guilty by making you feel that you had deserved their “punishment”. Recognize first that you may begin to let go of any guilt by knowing that you have done nothing wrong…you DIDN’T deserve any of it. Tell yourself this: “I have done nothing wrong and I am no longer going to feel guilty about it”. Sometimes this is easier said than done…but remember that healing is a process and as you move forward, an understanding will begin to come over you.
Sometimes it takes a while just to talk it out and talk it through. Writing letters to the people that hurt you, expressing exactly how each event has made you feel. It’s ok to not hold back your emotions. Remember, this is not about preserving the perpetrators feelings, nor is it about lashing out at them out of anger. It’s not about them…it’s about you. Initially when I started writing my healing letters to people, it had a very angry tone and I did send some of those letters out. It felt good to express it on paper, whether I sent it to them or not.
For a long time, I wanted to understand WHY it happened. Why did they do it? I would eventually come to understand the reasons but not in the beginning and in the beginning, it is ok to not understand why. Understanding “them” only comes after you’ve processed some of your own emotions.
The healing process is also not linear. You will go from one emotion to the next…sometimes feeling as if you’ve made tremendous headway only to realize the next day, you’re really having a tough time with things. Hopefully you have found someone to talk to by now, or you have a really good therapist. I had all those things, but not all at once.
I believe that some people who chose a spiritual way of living/thinking often came as a result of their past pains…trying to understand on a deeper level… a spiritual level rather than a human one. Sometimes, there just aren’t any good reasons as to WHY something happened. I’m not saying the the only way to heal is to become…”spiritual”, but I know that it really helps. With understanding things on the deeper level, it allows you to see things from a different perspective.
So, you’ve decided to “heal thyself”. That’s wonderful! It will be a fantastic journey. The emotions that come out in the beginning are basically the same emotions you’ve carried all along anyway…pain, anger…sadness…only now, instead of just feeling these emotions, tucking them back deep inside you and beating yourself up for it, you will be “walking through them”.
…until next time…