I thought I had forgiven you, but I was fooling myself. So you kept coming back into my life, until I finally learned what forgiveness is really all about. And it’s not what we’ve been taught.
You’ve had many different faces over the years, and they’ve all been ugly and twisted, contorted in anger, rage and hatred. You’ve worn many bodies, old and young, male and female. You came into my life under countless different guises, but I’ve recognized you each time. You’re the bully, abuser, manipulator, narcissist.
You’re the one who was supposed to love and protect me… the one who was supposed to guide and teach me… the one I trusted with my heart. You’ve played many different roles… but always the same… the one I had to forgive.
When I was younger, your sharp words triggered an avalanche of pain inside me, deafening my wisdom and suffocating me with hurt, fear and resentment. Whenever you attacked me, I ran away and quietly fell apart, all the time feeling like a victim.
My sweet, gentle and submissive nature was magnetically attractive to you, and life kept throwing you across my path, over and over again, as if to send me a message, showing me a lesson that I needed to learn.
I knew forgiveness would benefit me – because holding onto pain was making me suffer. But this knowledge didn’t take me anywhere. And it didn’t stop you from coming back into my life.
I guess I needed a stronger message, a bigger punch in the heart, to wake me up to myself. Because you appeared once again, in the most painful way imaginable, in the guise of my soul mate – the one who could hurt me the most.
And you played your role so well, coldly and mercilessly shredding my soul apart, ripping me into smaller and smaller pieces, until there was nothing left of me at all.
But I’m grateful. Because I see now, that this brutal act of aggression was needed, in order for me to learn how to truly forgive.
Because I’ve come to learn that true forgiveness is something above, beyond and outside anything I had ever imagined.
When you kicked, punched and tore apart my entire sense of self… when my pain and suffering was so immense that being ‘me’ was unbearable… I had no choice but to abandon my pitiful victim story, and look deeper inside myself.
I scrutinized every inch of my bruised soul, and saw my ego, fears, and core beliefs about how I was unworthy and unlovable. And I finally saw that it wasn’t you who had made me suffer at all.
It had never been you. It had always and only been me.
My ego had told me so many fictional stories about myself – how I was unworthy, not good enough… how I needed more love from outside, because there was no love inside… how I was only valuable if somebody loved me. These toxic stories were all created by my mind, and they were the true source of my pain.
And in realizing this, I came to see that there’s a difference between ‘ego forgiveness’ and ‘true forgiveness’.
I had forgiven you many times, but it was just an illusion. In reality, my ego had simply changed its judgement about you – re-labelling you from ‘unworthy of my forgiveness’ to ‘worthy of my forgiveness’. I had chosen to judge, forgive and accept you, but only conditionally, only so long as you treated me better.
And I gave away my power with ego forgiveness – because my feelings about myself depended on how you treated me – the next time you abused me, I was thrown right back into my pain and suffering.
I was playing a game with myself, and that meant I was playing along with your game too. When I saw through the game, it lost its appeal.
So it was time for me to stop forgiving you… with my ego.
When you destroyed my life, and shattered the light inside me, I had no choice but to face myself. And in facing myself, I also had to face you, and in doing that, I realised that true forgiveness comes from a place of total acceptance.
I accept all of you, unconditionally.
I no longer judge you as good or bad. I no longer label you in any way at all. I accept the wholeness of you, even the parts which my ego doesn’t approve of. I don’t need you to change in order to win my ego’s approval and acceptance.
And in accepting you fully, I no longer feel the need to try and control how you treat me. I no longer need to win your love or approval. My sense of self is no longer dependent on you. And this brings me a peaceful surrender and freedom.
Just to be clear, I haven’t become a passive doormat for your abuse. No, I can set boundaries, express my needs and walk the path which nurtures my soul. But this only works if I fully accept myself too.
So true forgiveness also comes from a place of total self-acceptance, which can only come through honest self-enquiry – by looking past my ego, connecting with the stillness inside, and accepting those unhealed parts in me that you so frequently triggered.
Now I understand, now I see, now I am aware… I can look into my soul, digging deeper and deeper, until I touch upon the root of my pain – I see that when you abused me, it always triggered the same reaction. Whether you were my parent, lover, friend or colleague… whether the hurt was big or small… it didn’t matter. My reaction was always the same – I felt very upset. Underneath this upset, I felt a lack of control. Underneath this lack of control, I felt very afraid. Underneath this fear, I felt very unworthy. Underneath this unworthiness, I felt ultimately unlovable.
I thought that I needed to forgive you, but actually I needed to forgive the parts of myself that felt unworthy.
Now, I have taken ownership of my feelings. So I no longer project onto you as a victim. And I’ve noticed that I’m no longer so magnetically attractive to you. It seems that you are finally leaving my life.
But before we say ‘goodbye’, I want to thank you, with all my heart, for coming into my life so many times, in so many different ways, expressed as all those names and faces.
Thank you, for teaching me that unconditional acceptance brings true forgiveness and freedom.
Published on Rebelle Society: LEARN MORE