The worst enemies of anyone who suffers with mental illness are Guilt… Shame and Regret.
All of these emotions are blood sucking enemies because they waste so much of our precious energy and they never let up… These three emotions have followed me all of my life… up until NOW… I finally gave them all the BOOT in this last year… Since I am 56 years old… that is a very long time to have hosted these evil things that have held me hostage and abused me endlessly.
For me… it took coming to the end of my rope… I simply could not hang on anymore… I was tired… exhausted actually… frustrated… angry… and completely defeated… One morning I woke up and said… ENOUGH… I can’t take anymore… It has been a LONG process but one that I am so GRATEFUL I was actually able to complete.
There is nothing wrong with feeling sadness about events and situations that have occurred in our lives… and it is silly to say that we should never feel badly or regret something we have done… but most people get over it… pick themselves up and continue on… with a brand new slate… that is simply how we grow and learn.
We all make mistakes… we all do wrong things sometimes… but hanging onto the feelings of anger or disgust with ourselves is a very BAD place to be… It robs us from STARTING over… and keeps us prisoner to a world with NO HOPE.
Forgiving ourselves and being gentle with ourselves is a very difficult process… at least it has been for me… and I have been a very slow learner… but it is the KEY to mental health wellness.
I have a friend who has experienced the same problem of carrying guilt… shame and regret… and in the middle of a terrible dark place that we were both in… I decided to make an imaginary solution… I told my friend that I baked her extremely poisonous muffins… and ex-lax coated chocolates to keep in her fridge to OFFER her evil visitors the next time they came calling… we have often joked about this and little by little… we found a way to get rid of our guilt… shame and regret… by supporting and encouraging each other… It is not easy… but adding humour to our situation… gave us HOPE.
The next time guilt or shame come calling on YOU… bring out the muffins and chocolates… and tell them to have a nice day!
There are two sides of forgiveness… Those we NEED to forgive and those we NEED forgiveness from.
We are only in control of those we NEED to forgive… I can testify very painfully that there is nothing I can say or do to convince my son to forgive me… This blog is something that comes from my daughter and I learning to understand each other and to FORGIVE each other… For as much as our story has a happy ending… the story of my son and I does NOT… and that is a reality that I have had to work very hard at accepting. Sometimes I think I have arrived and other times I know that I still have a long way to go. Anyways… I have placed this pain I have in a box… and I try NOT to look at it… I have however dealt with it BECAUSE I had to… in order to move on with my life… I had to FORGIVE myself.
Forgiveness is sometimes misunderstood… It does NOT mean we have to forget… or pretend that nothing happened… and it does NOT mean we even have to allow the person who hurt us back in our lives… It simply means we AGREE to BEGIN the process of letting go of all the pain… It is not an immediate action… or I should say… it does not have immediate results… Forgiveness is a process… very similar to grief… time does heal the MEMORY… but we have to be WILLING to let it go.
The reason that forgiveness is so important to mental health is that it FREES up much needed energy… For anyone who suffers with the pain of NOT being able to forgive someone… they will tell you… IT consumes a lot of time… we spend a lot of time dwelling on the fact that we have been hurt… Not because we want to be victims but because it quite simply HURTS… and we often cannot understand. Let me tell you… I have been there… many times… and I still have trouble with forgiveness… I think it is because I am so sensitive… and when I get my feelings hurt… they seem to stay hurt for a very long time… Another thing that happens is that I totally shut down and completely remove myself away from the person who has hurt me… That is fine when the person lives in another town or city… but when the person is close… it makes for a difficult existence. I have also been there.
In this last year… I have come to truly RESPECT the act of FORGIVENESS… I now see it as a VITAL part of my emotional well being… I no longer feel the need to hang onto and cling onto things that other people do to me… or say to me.
I’m not saying it is easy… but it is getting EASIER.
The hardest person to forgive in all honesty has been MYSELF… Oh my goodness… that has been a very long and difficult journey indeed… and I STILL have a very long way to go in that department… however… I am on the right path… and I know this because I am beginning to live without guilt and shame.
Forgiving someone sets us FREE… so that we can move on and continue growing.
Lady D here… Forgiveness is indeed the key to being free, it most definitely is not easy at times, but it is imperative for us to learn to forgive in order for us to grow and thrive. As Momma Bear said, forgiveness does not mean you need to allow the person back in your life, though sometimes forgiveness allows you to, depending on the circumstance. I truly feel blessed that Momma Bear and i have been able learn to love and accept one another, it wasn’t easy at times, but we did it, and I am so incredibly blessed to have Momma Bear in my life, and I am so glad we are able to do this Blog Journey together.