On Forgiveness And Letting Go: My Challenges With The Process

I recently opened up about my journey with anger in a post here on FIGGI Life. It was a strange notion for me to make peace with because anger is the one emotion I have tried to avoid my entire life. If you want to know more about the why make sure to read my post on anger.
I promised to update you on my journey and any discoveries I have made. I am happy to report that I have progressed on this journey, and my path has led me to surprising and clarifying realizations. Ever since I started on the journey toward embracing anger, it has always felt somewhat misplaced and awkward. Being a willing student of the soul, I wrote this off as stumbling blocks and stepping stones that come with growth. It may feel strange and out of place because I had denied it for so long. It may be because I did not know what to do with this emotion or understand what it wanted from me.

Dr. Jeanne Retief of FIGGI Life and Beauty on forgiveness and letting go
I opened the doors to my spiritual mentor to help guide me down this path of discovery. During this journey, I realized that although there is a place for every human emotion in my life, it does not necessarily mean that I have to become roommates with each one. Anger is not an emotion that comes easily to me, it’s not something I am comfortable with, but most importantly – it is not me. Trying to force me to feel and be something I am not only led to more frustration.
So, if this was true, why was I feeling this unexplainable need to release anger from within me? The answer turned out to be one that had been nibbling at my mind for years, but that was always forcefully pushed back and ignored: Forgiveness. Not just any forgiveness, though, the type of forgiveness that feels impossible.

I listened to a fantastic podcast with holocaust survivor Dr. Edith Eva Eger. She said something that resonated with me so profoundly my world shifted on its axis: “There can be no forgiveness without rage.”

Forgiveness is necessary to move forward, whether for ourselves or others. But have you ever had that one situation, person, or event you cannot forgive? No matter how hard you try, how hard you actively work at it, and how many others you can forgive. The pain, the shame, and yes, the anger at a particular situation seem to eat you alive. Whenever you think you have moved on and forgiven, you are confronted with the person or situation again, and everything flashes back like yesterday. Every emotion so keenly felt, every tear so deeply remembered, every word so scathingly clear in your mind.

I needed to forgive, and I was feeling this rage and anger because I was harboring these emotions and feelings. I was holding onto it so tightly that there was no option but to nurture the most negative emotions. That weekend, I listened to a fantastic podcast with holocaust survivor Dr. Edith Eva Eger. She said something that resonated with me so profoundly my world shifted on its axis: “There can be no forgiveness without rage.” Everything suddenly made sense. In my dreams, I know I am standing alone in a forest, screaming in rage. I know I want to let go of this anger and be free of it, and I now understand why it is showing up in my life. Five years ago, I would have ignored these dreams, ignored the feelings, and chalked it up to a stressful period in my life. Since then, I have made it my life’s mission to do all I can to be in tune with my mind, my body, and the messages they are trying to send me. And this was a big, important message!

Although I have made progress in understanding the hidden “why’s” beneath these emotions, I have in no way solved the problem. Do you have a situation or person like this that is too difficult to forgive? I often look at other similar or worse conditions in my life that I am at peace with and have forgiven. Some of these are centered on things I needed to forgive myself for. How is it that if I can forgive worse, I cannot forgive this? What is causing this block to forgiveness?

There is so much guilt, doubt, anger, sadness, and deep-set emotion attaches to these people and situations…

Self-care and self-help are so methodically approached in literature and by mentors that it loses the depth of the genuine emotions we need to trudge through to get to the other end. Advising me to forgive is great; telling me that it’s for my own good because I am carrying the burden of this negativity is probably true, but: How do I do it? Where do I even start? Some situations are so complex, with so many interconnecting webs, it feels like an impossible box to unpack and reorganize. There is so much guilt, doubt, anger, sadness, and deep-set emotion attached to these people and situations we just cannot seem to forgive. Reminding me that I am only making myself unhappy and ill by denying myself the opportunity to forgive worsens it. I have committed to reading anything and everything I could find on forgiveness these past couple of months, and they all come down to the same mantra: You are the one suffering by not forgiving; forgiveness is necessary to move forward; follow these journaling steps to a better life.

This approach has just turned the murky waters even murkier, has trudged up a storm without the tools to dismantle it, and provided a surface-level band-aid to a deep wound. I am committed to this process and finding a path to forgiveness that not only works for me but speaks to me, moves me, and sticks. This is easier said than done.

One helpful thing for me has been to break up the situation into various smaller events and points and to work through each one, forgiving as I go. It makes it seem like less of a mountain to climb, but this is emotionally taxing and mentally draining. This is definitely only for the strong with a sound support system.

I am still very much in the thick of this journey and realize that it has come to a point where I no longer have an option. I now must find a way toward true forgiveness and move on for my happiness and well-being. But knowing the end goal I need to work on and why does not provide the road map to achieving it.

Any advice, guidance, and personal stories you can share with me on your forgiveness journeys would be appreciated and welcomed as I move through this stage of my life. I also send you all my love, support, and understanding if you are going through the same. More on this journey as I learn, heal, and grow.

Love and Light


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