There are many things that get in the way of us forgiving others, and most of the time when we think we’ve forgiven someone, we’ve actually stuffed down our feelings and tried to numb ourselves to the pain of how we’ve been hurt in an attempt to get past it. This doesn’t work. Listen to this episode to learn a 4-step process for actually moving past the pain and getting to true forgiveness.
Are you having trouble forgiving someone? I can help you work through the hurt you’re experiencing and get to the place or healing and wholeness again.
This episode goes hand in hand with episode #54 “Apologizing Will Help Repair and Strengthen a Relationship”
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Welcome to The Coaching Your Family Relationships Podcast. I’m so glad you’re here, you’re listening to Episode 55 Forgiveness as a Path to your Personal Healing.
Every family encounters detours along the road of life, you don’t always have a say in what you get handed, that you do have a say in what you do with it. I’m Tina Gosney, a family relationship coach. And I’m here to help you navigate those detours. So they don’t seem so overwhelming. Each week, I’ll talk to you about how to find your way. And I’ll give you two takeaways and one challenge. Knowledge, action and coaching. Working together will make all the difference. You don’t have to let your detours define you or your family. Join me on this podcast and let’s tackle this together.
Welcome back to The Coaching Your Family Relationships Podcast.
I’m so glad you’re here. This episode on forgiving really goes hand in hand with last episode number 54. On apologizing, they work beautifully together. They’re complimentary episodes. So if you haven’t listened to 54, I suggest you go listen to that. And if you have, you probably need a refresher. So go listen again.
Either way, it’s just really helpful to listen to these just right next to each other one after the other, to help you get unstuck in a place that you might be in a family relationship. So these are here for you to listen to back to back working together. That’s beautiful way to do this work.
I have a lot of clients lately who have been experiencing a lot of hurt from different family members, maybe a betrayal from my sister in law, judgment and criticism from a parent disclosure, a very sensitive and heartbreaking information for my child about things that have been going on in their life.
And my clients are having a lot of trouble getting past the things that have come at them and being able to move on. This is just one of the many reasons why they’d become my clients. So they can move forward when they have felt so stuck.
But what we’ve been working on with several of them is to get to a place of forgiveness, a place to be able to apologize, a place to be able to forgive, so that they can move on. And really part of them wants to move past it. And another part of them doesn’t. And as with anything, they get to choose whether they move past it or not.
Just as you get to choose if you move past something that’s happened in your relationship, does it always feel like it’s a choice to move past it, sometimes it feels like we’re just stuck there. But it always is a choice. And when I say move past it, I don’t mean, forget about it and pretend like nothing happened. That’s actually not a healthy way to deal with things. That’s actually a way of stuffing things down and assuring that it’s going to pop up again in the future, probably even bigger than it is right now.
So I’m going to clarify a little later in the podcast what I mean when I say to get past it, because it probably doesn’t mean what you’re thinking that it means right now.
But what happens if they choose to hold on to the hurt what happens if you choose to hold on to the hurt that you’ve experienced?
Well, one of the things that happens is it occupies a really big part of our brain. It takes up a lot of mental and emotional energy. And our brains want to relive the situation, relive the things that were said over and over and over again. And it just takes up so much of our brain power, our brains fixate on that. And that doesn’t let it go. And our brains don’t really have the ability when it when this is happening. It doesn’t have the ability to create new things in our life, things that are positive, things that are good, maybe create new things, be able to have fun, it doesn’t allow us to fully move into that because it’s so busy taking up all that space with the hurt and playing the hurt over and over and over again.
And it kind of taints the rest of our lives and the rest of the things that we want to do with our lives. Another thing it does is it leads us sometimes and quite often into a retaliation cycle where we perpetuate hurt against the other person because we’ve been hurt. So we want the other person to hurt like you hurt me so you deserve to hurt too.
It’s this cycle. And when we do that we are just adding more Hurt into the world do we really want to be adding more hurt into the world? Then another thing that it does it just, you know, this allows us to take a victim role, when we choose to hold on to the hurt, we get to take a victim role in our own life, that’s not a good place for us to put ourselves because victims are acted upon, they don’t have the ability to act for themselves.
And once we become a victim in one aspect of our lives, it’s very easy to become a victim in other places as well. This is when we give up the power of directing our own lives of deciding what we want to have happen in our own lives of being a person who can make decisions and move forward without having somebody else change for us to do that.
And when we choose to hold on to the hurt, it can affect our future relationships, our health, our mental and emotional well being and health, it affects our overall life experience. And it’s probably not going to be what we wanted it to be. So let’s just take a look at forgiveness for a minute, I want you to remember that it’s not a luxury, it’s not. It’s not something that only some people can do. Forgiveness is something that everybody can do.
And forgiveness is not pretending that nothing happened. Because it’s really important to actually acknowledge that there’s something that happened, it’s important to face the hurt. So you can choose to retaliate, or you can choose to heal.
Those two paths look very different. If you retaliate, you get caught up in the hurt people hurt people pattern, and you put more hurt out into the world. If you choose to take the healing path, it’s actually a path less followed. And it’s initially a much harder path to walk because it really requires you going against what you naturally want to do.
But this is the place that allows you to participate in the healing of yourself. And in the healing of others. This is the place that allows you to seek healing in the world rather than pain. The truth is, we all experience being hurt by another person.
And we all experience hurting another person, we get to be on both sides. That’s our humanity. That’s the shared humanity that we all have, as human beings on this earth, we are all wounded by others, and we wound others. And in families, there’s probably not a bigger place.
And this happens then in families. We get to repeat this process over and over again. Sometimes we’re the wounded. Sometimes the wounds were the wound or but think there’s not a more perfect proving ground for us to work on the apology and forgiveness cycle. And there will be times when we do this really well. And there will be times that we don’t do it very well at all.
And it’s all okay because it’s all a learning experience. It’s all a learning and moving into a newer version of ourselves.
So let’s go through the there’s really four steps here that I want you to be aware of in the forgiveness cycle in this healing cycle.
The first one is it’s really important to tell your story, it’s important to be able to speak the words, the hurt that you’ve experienced, to put them into words, to put them into phrases to get them out of your head and out into the world.
That is really important. When we are able to get the hurt out of our heads, where it doesn’t just exist in our heads, but we say it out loud. We write it down, we say it out loud, we give it words, it actually helps our minds, our brains to start making meaning out of what has happened to us.
And when we do this, we become more resilient. We’re better able to handle stress and we begin to heal. So think of if you have small children, allowing them to speak the hurt that they’ve experienced, to not squash it down and tell them to forget about it and to move on.
Because there really is a cost in stuffing things down and not telling your story. And that cost comes out in it. It’s going to remain painful inside of you. It’s going to come out in one way or another. That pain doesn’t go away just because you chose to step it down. It just became something that’s more deeply rooted.
And if you don’t have small children if your children are older, and maybe you told them when they were younger to stuff their pain down. To just get over it, don’t worry about it, just move on, forget about it and move on. Think about how now you can change how now you can acknowledge your own pain, acknowledge your own hurt, tell your own story.
But you can also do that for your children. No matter if they’re five, or they’re 15. Or they’re 50, you can allow them to tell their experience to get their hurt out. And to let it be okay. Doesn’t mean that they’re going to live in that space forever, or that you’re going to live in that space forever, it’s actually part of the process of letting it go.
And if you choose to share this story with someone, make sure you find a safe person to share your story with. And that might not be the person who hurt you. Who do you feel safe with. Sometimes it might be that you don’t have a safe person to talk to.
And if that’s the case, then you write your story. Instead, you put it down on a piece of paper and you let it live somewhere besides just in your head is spinning and spinning around in it.
The next part is that you need to name the hurt, you need to name the emotion that you’re feeling. Because you can’t let go of feelings that you don’t own. And when you don’t own the pain, when you stuff it down, when you try to act like nothing happened, when you just forget about it and move on, it becomes bigger and bigger. And eventually, that pain is going to rupture.
Much better to address it in the beginning than it is to just stuff it down and not not paying any attention to it. So when we can give our pain and name whether that is sadness, or rejection, or shame or some other feeling some other emotion, it creates within us a more emotionally literate person. When we become more emotionally literate, we are better able to make meaning out of our life experiences, we become better able to handle the hard emotions that come to us.
It’s when we don’t address them. And we pretend like we don’t have them or we just shove them away. That’s when they come spilling out in unhealthy ways. That’s when they affect our health or our our relationships. Or we find ourselves acting in very destructive ways to ourselves and other people. So naming our emotions, being able to process them is a super important skill that all humans should try to develop a physical wound is so easy to see most of the time, right?
It’s easy to see we have lots of ways of knowing how to help and heal physical wounds. But emotional wounds are often very hidden. They’re not easy to see and they’re not easy to name. And they’re not always easy to know how to heal.
Did you ever hear when you were a kid that that phrase, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”? Well, that is so untrue. I’m sure that someone decades ago thought that they were helping people to just move past it when they made that thing up. But it actually doesn’t work. In fact, words do hurt. And they often hurt us much deeper than a physical wound. Because they because they challenged the very piece of who we are and our board very identity. And they get stuffed down and they get internalized and they don’t heal when that happens.
So named the hurt, allow the feelings without telling yourself that you shouldn’t be feeling that way. And allow yourself the time that it takes to heal that emotional wound. Has a very emotional wounds have a very different timetable for healing than physical wounds do. So allow yourself the time to allow it to heal.
The next step is to forgive. And this is where we find freedom from that endless loop of thoughts and feelings going on inside of our heads inside of our bodies. And they just want to replay over and over again how we’ve been hurt. This is where we no longer are a victim.
We can become the hero in our own story. You know victims don’t have any power in their own lives. They’re just they are acted upon. They’re told what to do. They have no responsibility and they have no voice. But heroes are strong. They’re generous, they forgive, they have the power to make choices on purpose and take ownership of their own story.
When you begin to tell your story differently, that’s when you’re healing. That’s when you can release the hurt. And you can start to prepare and become whole. That’s when we tell that story differently we can, we can become the hero in our own story, isn’t that cool? We can tell our stories, however we want to, we have the power to tell whatever story about whatever happened to us in any way that we want to.
That is powerful. Another thing that happens here is we realize that when we forgive someone, that we too, have hurt other people, maybe in the same way that we’ve been hurt, we see that shared humanity. Here, we see that we are sometimes the wounded. And sometimes we’re the wound or we all have those within each of us, we see how we share this with the very person that has hurt us.
Now, the fourth step is to renew or release the relationship. And this is where you get to wipe the slate clean and let it go. No more debts, no more resentment, you just let everything go. Now, to renew a relationship does not mean that it goes back to the way that it was, it’s not possible for that to happen. It means you move forward into a new relationship that’s built on the forgiveness, you have to make a new relationship going forward, it’s not possible to go back to the way things were to release a relationship is how you free yourself from victimhood and trauma.
You don’t have to choose to have someone in your life anymore. And sometimes, it’s actually better to not have that person in your life anymore. And when you release a relationship, that means you do that without ill will. You do that without wishing that person harm.
Releasing it means you refuse to let an experience or a person occupy that space in your head or your heart any longer. It’s not just releasing the relationship, but it’s releasing your old story around the relationship. So important to release the old story.
Now, this four step process is what I meant by getting past the hurt. So we don’t try to go around it to pretend like it didn’t happen.
We don’t try to react to it and, and to retaliate. We don’t try to stuff it down. We face it, and we work through it. And that’s what I mean by getting past it, the only way to actually heal is to work through it, not to try to go around it or to beat it with a stick. Sometimes you might have to go through this process over and over again, before you can truly tell a new story and forgive. And healing internal wounds. Healing those emotional wounds is a process that takes time and you can’t rush it.
And you can’t put a timeline or a deadline on it. You just need to allow it to work its way through the healing process. Sometimes you have to go through that four step process over and over again until you can release it. But it’s worth the work. So there are going to be things that I’m sure you’re thinking right now like Will this person that hurt me doesn’t deserve to be forgiven, they’re not sorry for what they did. They don’t deserve it.
Maybe you’re going to tell yourself, like, I want to be able to tell that person how they’ve hurt me. I want them to feel terrible. I want them to say you’re so right. And I’m so wrong. And I want them to apologize. You know, rarely that happens. That just does not happen hardly ever. So if you’re waiting for that, you’re gonna be waiting a really long time.
Lots of people think that if you forgive the person, it lets them off the hook. And they don’t deserve to be let off the hook. It’s not actually forget part of forgiveness at all. Forgiveness does not require the other person to not have any consequences for the things that they’ve done. You’re also going to want to hold on to that pain because you don’t know how to release it and let it go. It feels too big.
Maybe the whole course of your life has changed through this thing that has happened. And the pain of that just feels too big to release and let go. And you know, you’re also going to want to let go of that pain quickly by going through the forgiveness cycle and it’s just so it’s just going to be overweight. If, and I can just let it go. But that might not happen. You might have to go through that cycle over and over and over again, while you heal.
You’re also going to probably say, well, there are people that don’t deserve to be forgiven. And that’s actually not true. It’s actually something that our brains tell us, that is not true.
So here’s your takeaways for today, your two takeaways.
Take away #1:
When you forgive another person, you are giving yourself a gift. That gift comes physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally, you become a healthier person, when you don’t hold on to the hurt, you free yourself, by letting the pain go. It’s a personal choice to heal and be free. But as long as you hold on to the hurt, you are tethered to that person that hurts you. So giving forgiveness is actually a gift to yourself much, much more than it is to the other person.
Take away #2:
A relationship that you work to repair becomes a relationship that is much stronger than one never needed repair. We need strong family relationships. Now more than ever, we need to know that we can go through hard things and that we can get through them.
And then we can renew our bonds together as families, we need to be able to rely on each other to show up as our true authentic selves, to know that our families are a safe place for us to be ourselves. And that is going to require a lot of apologizing, and a lot of forgiving to get to that point. And so when we can learn to do this together, we become a stronger family. And we become a stronger family than if we never needed to do it in the first place.
Who in your life has hurt you in a way that you haven’t been able to let go? I want you to think of that person. And then I want you to ask yourself, what would my life be like? If I could let go of this hurt? How would it how would my life be different.
And then take a paper and a pencil and write out all the things in your life that would be different. This includes thoughts that you would have feelings that you would have things that you could do that you don’t do now, things that you might let go of that you’re holding on to now, what would be different in your life, right for at least 10 minutes and then put that paper away. Let at least 24 hours pass before you come back to it and read what you wrote. Now you are the one who gets to decide whether you want the life that you’ve written down on that piece of paper. You are always the one that gets to decide.
If you’re struggling to know how apologizing, how forgiving how to use these things in your life, if you feel like you’re stuck, reliving the same hurt over and over again. I want you to set up a free appointment with me. I offer just a handful of free 30 minute help appointments each week.
You can bring your hardest thing that you’re stuck with and I will help you see how this apologizing and forgiving can apply to your situation. So that you can begin to move forward and yield can begin so you can begin to repair their relationships and your family. So to apply for one of these appointments, go to https://tinagosney.com/apply Now remember, I only offer a few of these appointments each week, so make sure you grab your spot while you can.
I want to thank you for being here with me today. I know you have many options and listening to podcasts and I’m so glad that you are showing up here week after week.
I also want you to remember that your family detours are hard that you can do hard things. You’re stronger than you think you are and you can handle this. Have a great day and I’ll see you next week.