How to Find Forgiveness From a Messy Childhood.
To find healing from a painful childhood is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.
When the world shows you its shadow side as a young child, it’s not like you can effortlessly let that go.
In fact, for many people, it becomes integrated with their very identity, and that victimhood shows up in the strangest of places, like your intimate relationships or relationships with your own children.
To truly take your destiny into your own hands, and release the responsibility placed on your past for your present difficulties, takes deep understanding.
Understanding that your own self-worth is separate from the childhood pain.
Understanding that your childhood pain doesn’t define you.
Understanding that it is possible to break free from the shackles associated with childhood dysfunction.
You know that old saying forgive and forget? It’s only half-true, because you and I both know you’ll never forget. But you can forgive, and along with that forgiveness a transformation occurs which creates neutrality towards the past, and a true release of the pain it once caused you.
Acceptance Is Good Medicine, Even When It’s Hard to Swallow
It’s never easy to accept what happened that caused your innocence to fade prematurely and your vulnerability to be taken advantage of.
But is there any way that you can go back and change the past?
Of course not, so there are two options left, resistance or acceptance. If you’ve ever been in a situation that was less than ideal yet you knew you couldn’t change it, then you know that the approach you take can either worsen or neutralize the situation.
Acceptance does not mean that you condone what happened. All that acceptance does is change the energy around the circumstance, for you. And that’s what matters.
You know that saying the truth shall set you free?
You don’t need to tell anyone directly involved in the abuse that you accept what happened, what matters is the truth of your heart. Tell the truth to yourself about what happened, and allow yourself to feel the grief, hurt, shame and any strong emotions related to the pain.
Real Strength Is Found in Forgiveness
Forgiveness is a word that’s overused and under-meant, meaning most people say they forgive something or someone without truly feeling that forgiveness in every cell.
Forgiveness is so much more than just saying the words I forgive you. Yes, you have to start somewhere, but the truth of forgiveness is that it’s not for the sake of anyone else but yourself.
Resentment, hate and regret only hurt one person, and it isn’t the person who caused you pain to begin with. When you cling to the wrongs people have done to you, especially those things that happened during childhood, you do yourself a disservice. You amplify that initial pain and trauma each moment that you choose to hold others hostage within yourself over what happened.
The painstaking reality is that whoever hurt you as a child has some major self-loathing going on. They didn’t hurt you because there was anything wrong with you, but because they hated themselves and had no other way to express it.
The brutal reality is that you wouldn’t be who you are today if it weren’t for those experiences. Somehow, you needed those things to happen for your own personal evolution.
When you look at it that way, when you can access even a small amount of compassion for yourself, to stop the internal torment and move into forgiveness for your own gorgeous sake, then the rest will fall into place.
“If you are willing to look at another person’s behavior toward you as a reflection of the state of their relationship with themselves rather than a statement about your value as a person, then you will, over a period of time cease to react at all.” ~ Yogi Bhajan
Be Empowered in Knowing You Are Now in the Driver’s Seat
The worst part about what you and so many went through as children is that you had no power or control over the situation. It’s not like a child can decide to leave a bad situation if it’s their primary caregivers causing them suffering. You learn to be stuck. You teach yourself that resistance is futile. You enter a frozen state of fear, and those patterns become ingrained and can follow you far into adulthood.
It takes a conscious effort to know that you are in control. That you can choose to pursue the things, relationships and situations that serve and nourish your soul completely. You can choose to be free and to release yourself from relationships or situations that are holding you back or making you feel like you’re less than what you are.
But because of what you went through, you must be extra vigilant in reminding yourself of the reality of the situation — that you are free to be around those who help you grow instead of hindering your expansion.
Let Go of Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda and Comparison Charades
So you’ve had this devastating childhood, and it creeps up every now and again and rears its head as a sort of jealousy when you have to listen to other people talk about their amazing childhood.
This is totally normal, because like anyone, we all want to be loved and cared for, and when you didn’t get that and someone else did, it’s normal to feel some resistance come up.
But know that just because that happened to you doesn’t mean that you aren’t complete, that you aren’t amazing, that you’re somehow flawed and the people who had amazing childhoods are better off than you.
That’s not necessarily the case anyhow, because throughout all that pain, you learned some valuable lessons, you went through a transformation that everyone will go through at the darkest point of their lives. For some it’s childhood, for others it’s well into their senior years.
When you’ve already conquered the most difficult of feats as a child, you’ll be able to face anything in adulthood, and that, my darling, is a strength only gained through facing the storm.
“Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.” ~Anonymous
Tahira Mitchell is a natural-born empathetic healer and family life coach who holds a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. She works with countless women to heal their childhood wounds and their dysfunctional patterns inflicted by emotionally unavailable parents so they can finally break free from the dysfunction and live life for themselves. Tahira’s areas of expertise are self-esteem-building, inner child work, and educating women on their family system and its effects on their emotional and mental health. When she is not wearing her healing hat, you will find her spending precious time with her kids, husband, and dog Bailey. Tahira loves farmers’ markets, antique shops and interior designing. Her friends describe her as a compassionate, loving and community-driven person who is always there to give a helping hand. She just makes people feel special and loved. You can find her inspirational works featured in Chocolate Voice, Positively Positive, Huffington Post, ME TYME network, Yogi Approved and Living East Column.