“Healing begins with forgiveness”.
For someone like myself who can hold onto a grudge like life depends on it, forgiving is not easy, which is why I laughed when I pulled the “Forgiveness” card. Through this journey of healing, I hadn’t anticipated this process to be as difficult as it has been. In my mind, I figured it’d be as simple as, “okay, stuff happened. It’s in the past and brought me here to my present day. I forgive it, now I can move on and be done with it”.
All the memories, including ones I’d forgotten (buried), came flooding to the forefront of my thoughts on an endless loop. The more my thoughts continued racing, the angrier I was becoming. It felt like I had a dirty bomb lodged in my chest with the crashing waves of emotions coursing through me. I wasn’t sure when I’d go off. Eventually, I allowed my rage to take control and began acting discourteously toward my boyfriend when all he wanted was to figure out what was wrong to help me. By the time I was semi-ready to discuss things, he had gotten in a mood, too.
“Negativity is contagious”.
For the first time that night, we went to bed without giving one another a kiss. We almost didn’t say goodnight, until I forced myself to say it, then he responded impassively with his back facing me. We went to bed angry, which was something I never wanted for us to do.
As I slept, I had a dream. Within the midst of the chaos, certain things were abundantly clear. I could continue pushing him, and others, away or I can set aside my fears, uncertainties, and pride to allow help into my life. When morning came, I kept to myself as I attempted to garner the courage to explain what was going on. After I made myself a cup of tea to help me relax I asked him if we could have a talk in our room. The moment we sat down and I began to express what was happening, all the feelings and the repetitive thoughts that overwhelmed me, the tears began to flow.
Over an hour of divulging decade long secrets, life-long emotional pain, voicing the difficulties of how hard it is to forgive, not only others but myself as well, I felt broken yet whole at the same time. Getting everything off my chest did help, but it also helped to have him share some of his darker memories and secrets, too. There was no need to be afraid to open up because he understood me more than I realized, he even offered some great advice that I hadn’t received before. “It’s like you’re in a movie theater, but there’s only one seat. It’s just you. And next to you is a projector with all those painful memories, on repeat, and you just keep watching, which makes you upset and takes you to this darker place. It’s called Rumination.” (Down at the bottom I will add a link for tips on how you can stop ruminating).
After his explanation of rumination and how to combat it, it helped me realize that despite what I encountered in my past, what was done to me or what I had done to others, I needed to use those moments as learning opportunities and accept that I cannot change the past. I can address it, learn from it, and let go of what isn’t in my control.
What is in my control is the ability to forgive. It isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially when you have to sit with those unaddressed emotions to work through them, but holding onto animosity over the past is much harder to manage. I would rather let go of that pain and negativity to truly heal than allow myself to remain a prisoner to things that are out of my control.
*Click here for “8 Tips to Help Stop Ruminating”, if you need it.*