Fair warning… Going a little deep this week.
Last week I talked about the crippling feeling of being stuck, whether in a job, a relationship, or life in general.
I mentioned how, most of the time when we find ourselves in that “stuck” place, we aren’t actually stuck, we’re simply in a mental battle between who we KNOW we are deep down, and the person we think we’re expected to be-
Paralyzed between the possibility of fulfillment, and the fear of rejection or failure or of letting people down.
So we feel empty and rudderless and lacking motivation. Stuck.
Typically, this huge realization brings out some strong pent up emotions. Yes, relief in knowing it’s ok for us to honor ourselves... but also a lot of resentment.
We resent ourselves for “wasting so much time,” for not standing up for ourselves sooner, and we resent the people we feel shaped these thoughts that held us back for so long.
Here’s where a lot of women (myself included) become “re-stuck:”
We're finally standing there holding the key to the future we want, but thick chains of resentment bind us to the very place we’re trying to “un-stuck” ourselves from.
I made a simple bracelet that I wear everyday. I switch out the beads on it depending on the lesson I’m facing at any given time (Because life is a never-ending stream of lessons.) Right now the beads on my bracelet read “FORGIVE.”
The reason is simple- Forgiveness is the key to our freedom from the chains of resentment that keeps us stuck.
Is it easy to forgive ourselves? Usually no.
Is it easy to forgive the voices that have shaped our false beliefs of our limitations? Not even a little.
But resentment creates a bond to the very thing we’re trying to free ourselves from.
By holding on to anger or blame, we keep the hurt and the limitations in the forefront of our mind, taking up valuable energy that we could otherwise focus on creating the existence that fulfills us. You see,
Every moment spent re-living a hurt, is one moment NOT spent building our dreams.
When we forgive, we release the hurt, allowing ourselves to focus all our energy where our true power lies- in this present moment, rather than re-creating our past over and over.
If you’ve read my book And Then She Flew, you might remember that one of the themes of that book is that by continuing to re-live past hurts, we make them “real” again in the present.
Our brains and our bodies don’t know the difference between what's actually happening in our present reality, and what's happening in our minds. The physiological response is similar in both cases.
This is one reason visualization is such a powerful tool in preparing for a big race or life event. But it also means that by replaying our “wrongs” in our minds, our body is suffering… over and over again.
One reason we tend to replay the past in our minds is that, on some level, we believe we can somehow change what happened. But our rational mind knows this is not true.
Other times, we replay things we regret in a subconscious (or conscious) attempt to “punish” ourselves. I do this. And even though I know it’s not productive, the triggers go so deep for so many of us.
Last year I wrote an article called The Fine Art of Forgiveness. In it I lay out the basic steps I use in forgiveness. I welcome you to read that article if you would like. While it focuses primarily on forgiving others, I find the steps also incredibly helpful in forgiving myself.
In that article I mention this quote-
“Forgive others. Not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace.”
Being at peace sets the cornerstone for the foundation of the life we want for ourselves. Forgiveness is the first step.
Unshackling ourselves from the resentments and the expectations that we’ve allowed to limit us. Seeing that we’re all doing the best we can, and then releasing ourselves and others from the prison of blame we’ve built in our minds.
Step by step, we release the bondage of resentment, and with each small step of release we feel lighter, more empowered to make our happiness our number one priority. No more paralyzing battles between what we want and what we think others expect.
No, now we’ve seen through those expectations and we’ve released them, freeing us to live right here, right now. In the beauty of the present moment. In the awareness of our true, limitless power.
Freeing us to express the magnificence of who we truly are… and to help others do the same.