This week I became aware that I have been holding onto two things that happened a long time ago. One when I was a young girl and another 13 years ago. Both of these events were very painful for me. I felt abandoned and betrayed and very lost both times. And for many years I have completely blamed myself for both.
If only I had done something differently, perhaps I could have stopped them happening. I took 100% responsibility for both my behaviours and for others.
The first was not my responsibility at all, it should never have happened to a young girl. The second was the end of my marriage and as a grown woman I unquestionably needed to take responsibility for my own behaviours, there was much to learn about myself, but I was not 100% responsible for the loss of that dream.
What I have learnt is that I have a pattern of blaming myself. I imagine I feel more in control that way. If I can work out what I did wrong and ‘fix’ myself, then maybe I can stop myself from being hurt again. And in my obsession to ‘fix’ myself I don’t have to feel all the grief – the anger, sadness, disappointment and hurt.
Sadly, I am the one that hurts myself the most when I do this. I greatly respect my desire to learn from my mistakes, to grow AND what I became aware of this week is I am still unconsciously punishing myself for these two events. I turned the anger and hurt that I did not know how to get in touch with at the time inward, I turned it into self-hatred, into a lack of self-worth, into a lack of self-trust.
I say this with deep compassion for myself, I didn’t know what else to do, how else to face the pain and shame. I didn’t know how to deal with the fact that sometimes life just happens. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try things don’t work out the way you want. Sometimes nothing you could have done would have made any difference. It just is as it is. I have done a lot of therapy and healing around these two events and then this week I realised there is one thing I haven’t done. I haven’t forgiven myself.
A very wise woman once said to me ‘forgiveness arrives in its own time, you can’t force it’, and while I have learnt she is right, I sense I can support it’s arrival by practicing more self–compassion. By practicing forgiving myself. By practicing loving and caring for myself. I can feel it gently arriving now. I can feel a very deep sadness as it does. And I don’t need to hide from it or ignore it or disappear into it. I can just ride the wave and through self-forgiveness and self-compassion I can set myself free to start a new chapter in my life.
Is there anything you need to forgive by supporting its arrival through self-compassion?
With great warmth