Why is it so hard?
When I was a kid (just to tell you how ancient I am) we had a record player that also had an 8-track player attached to it. Because, you know, we were middle-class comfortable.😉 And, when I was younger, I had a lot of these records that I played over and over again until they got warped and scratched.
That’s how I feel about my mind sometimes. My mind is like a record player. Playing old stories over and over again. Leaving my memories all warped and scratched. These records were my thoughts about myself, other people, and life in general.
You only have two choices in this world. You can either play those old records over and over again, or you can put them away for good. So why do we do it? Why do we spend so much time playing out old scenes that don’t matter anymore? Why do we look into the future and predict the worst possible outcome? And why can’t I just forgive myself and everyone I need to forgive so that I can move on.
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During Covid, when things were really, really stressful, I, like so many other people, went through a fallout with people close to me. To say it was painful is an understatement. I’m still broken into a thousand pieces from it today. Things came up for me and popped me straight in the gut. Every wound life ever had to give me. Just everything. Anger came rushing to the forefront and ripped the goddamn steering wheel right out of my hands.
Anger has been a force in my life. My rage can be destructive. It can burn villages down to the ground. But it also has a purpose. It has been my defender in this life. It has stuck up for me when no one else has. When I have been completely alone. When I have been in danger. I have to say, in a lot of scenarios my anger has been my savior. It is fueled by the need to stop anyone from hurting me. Including myself.
And for that, I am truly grateful. But I am also exhausted. I would love to put down my weapons. I would love to walk through this world not constantly looking over my shoulder. To be relaxed and at peace. To just be vulnerable and not to be afraid of that. These are a few of my favorite dreams..
But I can’t get there if I keep playing those old records. And the reason I’m saying that is because that’s the reason you can’t get there either. Half of the people that hurt you you still know to this day. You still love them. No one said this was simple. It’s real messy actually.
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“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” - Mark Twain
Forgiveness is an act of self-love. When we forgive someone, we choose to let go of the negative energy that was holding us back from being happy.
There’s this famous buddhist parable about 2 monks who are walking one day and they come upon this river where this rude lady is waiting. She convinces the one monk to carry her across the water while she verbally pistol whips him. Once they cross to the other side, the monk lets the lady down and she leaves with a rude comment and without even saying thank you.
The two monks continue to walk for hours. Finally, the other monk turns to the monk that was accosted by that Karen and says “I can’t believe how rude Karen was to you! Aren’t you even a little upset that she treated you like a pile of dirt.”
The other monk turns around and is all like “Brah, I dropped that woman off several hours ago. Why are you still carrying her?”
🤯I know. Goosebumps, right?
My anger is always there flipping through the rolodex of life, looking for someone or something that did me wrong. Sometimes waking me up at night with the tick, tick, ticking of the rolodex spinning. And when the right card comes up (and it always does) my anger will punish me for hours if not days for those that have hurt me. What can I say? Old defense mechanisms die hard.
It makes me play out scenarios that have happened and ones that will probably never come to pass. My heart rate starts racing. My blood pressure shoots up. And my perpetrators walk peacefully around the globe, none the wiser to the damage I”m causing myself in the name of self-preservation.
We all have our reasons for playing the blame game. And when we get caught up in the they said/we said routine - in that moment, we lose the game. Forgiveness is hard, but you know what’s harder? Constantly beating yourself over the head with a mental 2x4, that’s what. Ouch.
Because the reality is that when we blame others (in most cases) we’re really blaming ourselves.
We’re mad at our guardians for the emotional scars they inadvertently (or not so inadvertently) left us. But really, we’re mad at ourselves for not being able to heal from the trauma and being stuck in the past.
We’re mad at that person we’re dating for being a fuck boy. But the truth is, we KNEW they were a fuck boy. We saw all the signs. And yet we stayed with the scorpion and disrespected ourselves. And what does a scorpion do? That’s right, he stings.
We’re mad at Joe in HR because he didn’t get our insurance paperwork in on time. Well, that one is Joe’s fault, actually. Your hands were tied.🤷🏻♀️
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All we need is love.
But you know what I’m getting at here, right? We’re mad at others because deep down we’re angry with ourselves and we just want to keep punishing ourselves. We can’t forgive anyone until we forgive ourselves.
Now, I’m not saying don’t have boundaries. I’m not saying let this person come back into your life and pull the same bullshit all over again like it’s just another Tuesday.
What I’m saying is don’t let it rule you.
Forgiving others can be especially challenging because they are usually the cause of our hurt. We may have had many years of resentment toward them, but now we need to let it go. When you hold onto anger, resentment and hatred for another person, it can be very difficult to move on with your life. You may feel like you’re stuck in the past, unable to move forward with your life because you haven't let go of what happened.
Don’t let your hatred bury you. Focus on the light. Come back to life. Feel the sun on your skin again. Put those bags down and rest your arms. Be vulnerable and feel safe. Feel good.
Forgiveness is an act of self love. It has to be done intentionally first until it starts going and works on auto pilot. I’m still working on it. But as long as we keep working with ourselves, then we are doing what needs to be done.
We all have our own personal reasons why it is so difficult for us to forgive others and even ourselves. Something as simple as saying "I forgive you" can be very hard for some people when they have been hurt by someone close to them. They may feel like they are condoning what that person did or thinks that forgiving them will make them feel better about what happened between them and the other person who hurt them. It takes time for many people to forgive others who have wronged them and even more time for them to forgive themselves if they feel that they were at fault in any way.
Forgiving someone is about putting yourself at peace, it's about taking the focus off of the offending person and putting your attention on yourself. As you recall all the times that you have been forgiven, perhaps you'll feel better and even a sense of pride in knowing that you've done something significant for yourself. There are many steps to forgiveness, but remember if we understand what we are doing and if we do so deliberately and with a positive motivation then we can forgive others more easily.
I say these things to you so that I may hear them as well. 🙏
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