Hey Gardeners! I hope you guys have been doing well. I’ve been BUSY. Between work and life, it has indeed been a fantastic ride thus far. When I go for a ride, I always have to bring you a little something back. So! Here it goes. 😉
“Forgiveness is not for you–it’s for the other person.”
How many times have we heard that saying? Forgiving someone releases the power or the hold that the situation has on you. I believe that. When you choose to forgive someone, you exhibit the strongest trait any person can possess: vulnerability.
As always, I’ve been reading one of Dr. Brene Brown’s fabulous books, “I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t): Making the Journey from “What Will People Think?” to “I Am Enough.” And I have been exploring shame and how it can keep us from living authentically.
Vulnerability and acceptance are big-ticket items if you ask me. You must be vulnerable and accept yourself once you discover an area that needs your attention. I recently decided to stop calling things I want to improve upon weaknesses. Opportunities for change, lets me know that I can fix it. I can work, and I can decide that I am enough, and it does not matter what anyone else thinks. I have to be comfortable being me.
So how does shame hinder forgiveness? Forgiveness requires a lot of honesty. You have to be willing to be objective and active in the process if you truly want to release trauma. The shame is hot and huge. “…shame diminishes our capacity to practice empathy.” (Brown, p. 59) When tension is high, it is often difficult to see where someone is coming from. We can get so wound up in being vindicated that we forget to take a step back and assess why that situation caused us harm.
I write from experience, and I can say that I had an area of unforgiveness that I was carrying in my heart. That’s the funny thing about trauma and grief–those two will always find a way to be front and center. You cannot outrun grief. You cannot grow around, up, or under it. You have to go through it and sit with it and, honestly, tend to it. Like working in the garden, your life’s emotional aspect deserves the same respect. Spend some time treating the wounds, trauma, and shame.
I was face to face with this area of unforgiveness, and I had to decide—continue to let this define me and how I navigate my life, or take a chance and truly forgive.
Forgiveness is a beautiful gift. It teaches you to walk in the light. Shame cannot thrive in darkness. When you speak it–you heal. When you acknowledge it–you grow. When you accept it–you elevate, which is where you want to be. Shame is debilitating, and it will cause you to shy away from connections and opportunities for growth and change. You have to be kind to yourself. Guys, I’m unsure if I ever told you this, but life does not come with an instruction manual on living and dealing with what life throws at you. It is up to all of us to create a safe space within ourselves to accept who we are. Once you have tapped into self-acceptance, it is time to build a community that will allow you the space necessary to evolve. None of us are meant to stay the same. Think about how boring life would be if we never took the opportunity to grow. Shame would win, and we would be living life hearing everything through our wounds.
“…there is nothing positive about shame. In any form, in any context, and through any delivery system, shame is destructive.” (Brown, p.62) I want you to know that I am yet a work in progress, and it is up to me to continue to strive to be the woman that God wants me to be. I started a “21-Day Bible Plan: Forgiveness,” which has taught me to forgive how God forgives us. The way the Lord loves us–forgiving and forgetting our transgressions with no strings attached–is a love that surpasses all understanding, and I am so glad to experience that. It’s my job now to embody that. Shame cannot thrive, take root, or have a place in my life. I can admit that I make mistakes, but I am yet learning and accepting myself every step of the way. I want to challenge you to try forgiveness. Start with yourself and work from there. I believe you’ll find out just how wonderful you are.
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