Have you been through alot in 2018? Do you feel like you are suffering inside and not sure how to not just push it all down?
Are you looking for a way to heal from it all? Maybe the tools of Self-Forgiveness or Mindful Self-Compassion could be helpful to you. Here’s why……..
What is Self- Forgiveness and how it can grow us to become Whole again?
There’s a lot of confusion about what forgiveness is or does to help us heal. I’ve never come close to examining forgiveness in my life up to now because this word holds such heaviness for me. Maybe it’s my Judeo-Christian upbringing that makes it feel so heavy. How many of us were told by well-wishing pastors or teachers to “forgive so and so so that they will feel better,” as if forgiveness is about helping the other person or easing things in a relationship but not about our own healing. I want to focus on how forgiveness can be a tool that we use in our lives to ease our own suffering.
Tara Brach, psychotherapist and meditation teacher & author of Radical Acceptance, defines forgiveness as “offering kind presence to our woundedness, or bringing compassion to our pain”. Forgiveness is a way of allowing mindful presence in through our heart that we have opened by releasing resentment, judging or blaming of others and of ourselves. When we remove this “armoring” (Tara’s word) we can actually heal the pain inside of us. This blaming of others or armoring of our heart actually blocks our ability to heal our own pain. Isn’t that what we all get stopped by? We can’t get to forgiving ourselves or others because our hearts are blocked.
So you might be feeling a tightening happening in your body (heart?) as you even think about the concept of forgiveness. I usually do unless I work with it. My tightening right now is a resistance to forgiveness, to actually having to go deeper into my heart to feel the pain and see what is there. I’ve struggled for years trying to figure out how to let go of all my armoring. I’ve tried to forgive my ex-husband in hopes that I can let go of that part of me that is still holding onto the love I didn’t want to let go of and the pain of being abandoned. This deep wound has held me hostage for years until I found self-forgiveness through Mindful Self-Compassion practices. This year I think I have released my “little ones” who are now trusting me to take good care of them as I move forward in my life. This can happen to you with a little coaching and guidance, and/or a regular yoga or mindfulness practice or both. I offer these tools in my Midlife Voyage to Transformation coaching sessions or groups. Here’s a link to read about individual coaching: : Learn more about my coaching programs here.
Try this: Just give yourself a little self-compassion by placing your hand over your heart and see if you can bring kindness there right now. You will find as you do this practice, that you will begin to feel the underlying needs behind your armoring or the things you do that you maybe don’t like about yourself (Judging, Guilting, Anger & Resentment, Blaming). In the past these ways of coping with your pain might have been needed for protection from more pain. But now what do you need? How are you different now and better able to meet this protection and release it?
In my groups for Women in Transition, we meet this armoring with kindness and learn to be curious about it.
We bring self-compassion to both our armoring behaviors that block our heart from healing, and our fear to go deeper with it. Only by facing and letting go of these blocks, resistance, holding onto behaviors and thoughts, anger, guilt, resentment, despair—Can we rebirth ourselves into a sense of ourselves we never could have dreamed before. This is an opportunity to grow ourselves out of a painful place in our lives. Our hearts are awakened to a deeper love that we can feel for ourselves and can give to others more freely. Lovingkindness and compassion practices can bring us back to opening our hearts.
Sharon Salzberg, an Insight meditation teacher who has written 3 books on Lovingkindness as the “Art of Happiness” says we are the ones who are actually suffering when we are full of anger and hatred towards someone else. We are stuck in bondage to this event that has caused these feelings. If we are able to forgive or let go, “a type of dying” she calls it, the parts of our Identity that are tied up in this event may need to die also. But as we let it go in forgiveness, we can “reclaim that energy that is bound up in the past.” (page 93, Loving-Kindness, The Revolutionary Art of Happiness.
If you’d like to learn more about how to release your suffering through forgiveness, and other tools that unblock your heart, please come to my next PREVIEW GROUP WORKSHOP on Self-Compassion. These tools are on the way to helping you release your suffering and learn how to be more resilient in midlife.