I can't remember who I heard say it, but this has always stuck with me. It was spoken to an adult survivor of child abuse, and I'll paraphrase here - "Your abuser stopped beating you years ago, but every day you're choosing to pick up the stick and continuing to beat yourself."
Are you continuing to beat yourself with a stick that someone else put down long ago? I'll say it again. Forgiveness sets you free.
Forgiveness doesn't mean you have to allow a destructive person back in your life, but it does mean you release them from the destructive ties that are binding you. You can step away with love. Here are some tools to help in the process:
- Close your eyes and imagine cutting the ties that bind you. As you do, say, "I release you." Then, surround them with Light. Do this as often as you need for as long as you need until you have reached a state of peace.
- Picture the person you are struggling to forgive as a young child before all the pain began and send them unconditional love. Surround that young child with light and love.
- Hold your hands over your heart center as you imagine the person you wish to forgive. Now look at their heart center and see the Light inside of them that is the spark of the Divine. Imagine the light from your heart center meeting the Light from theirs.
- Focus on the heart chakra, which is where forgiveness begins. Meditate on the heart chakra, surrounding yourself in pink or green light of unconditional love. Then, bring the people you need to forgive into that light.
- Use crystals that support unconditional love, such as rose quartz and rhodonite.
- Ask yourself "who would I be without this thought?" about your anger or resentment. Then imagine what you would feel. Put yourself in the place of who you could be and how you could be empowered if you let go. For more, try Byron Katie's The Work (thework.com)
- Ask yourself what good things the relationship with that person has brought to you. What opportunities or experiences has it provided you? There's always a nugget of something there, even if that nugget is you are now stronger or more resilient. This is a gift that person gave you, no matter how destructively you felt it was given.
- Remember people almost always do the best they can with the tools they have right now. Sometimes, that doesn't feel like they are doing very well, and I get that. That is their path to walk. Don't let their path destroy you.
- Let go of ego. How does holding anger, hate, or a grudge help you? If it doesn't, then choose to let go. It's always a choice.
- Don't forget to forgive yourself.