Survivors' Haven

Learning the Art of Forgiveness

By Cynthia Greb

I have been blessed in my life because I have seldom been badly mistreated, and I know this is a gift of great Grace.  However last year I found myself in a situation that greatly taxed my spiritual muscles. I had (rather prematurely) entered into a relationship with a man I didn’t really know as well as I should have.  And although we did share some beautiful times together, increasingly his erratic and irrational behavior started triggering me; and I, this normally very peaceful and calm person, found myself enraged. He would sometimes give me the ice cold silent treatment without bothering to inform me what was going on.  And then when I’d ask him to tell me what was going on, he would often accuse me of something so ridiculous I couldn’t believe what I was hearing come out of his mouth. Nothing I said could mollify him when he got in one of these (totally unfounded) silent rages. I would literally scream in frustration.

This cycle began to escalate.

There is a longer story here, but let me just say that three months into the relationship, I found him naked in bed with another woman.  Suffice it to say, that was sufficient grounds for me to finally, once and for all, end what had become a truly dysfunctional relationship.

I was furious, of course.  The infidelity didn’t bother me as much as the realization that he’d been repeatedly lying to me throughout the course of our relationship (including right to my face not two days before.)  I found myself reviewing every single action, every conversation, trying to determine if anything at all was authentic or if every bit of it was a house of cards with one lie propping up another and another and another.

At first, I was so angry, forgiveness was the farthest thing from my mind.  I sat in this self-righteous fury for weeks, obsessing about the betrayal and disrespect he had shown me.  But at the same time, I knew that it wasn’t good for me–or the world–to stew in this fury. Anger holds a very low vibration, and as someone who tries to walk a spiritual path, I knew I had to find a way to let go of the anger and heal.

As you can imagine, I couldn’t just will myself to not feel anger.  I could distract myself for very short periods, but I couldn’t just wave a magic wand; I had to really do some work.  And so I decided to take one week off “from the world” to go into retreat. I took a fast from social media and did a lot of reading, journaling, and praying.  Also, after feeling too ashamed for a while to tell anyone what had happened, I finally reached out to a few friends. Almost immediately I could feel the heaviness start to lift.   I also sought or accepted help from several women who were gifted healers or intuitives. I had very little money at the time (having been without steady work for quite a while), but what little I had I was willing to use to help with this healing.  I didn’t want to be a victim. I wanted to learn what this experience had to teach me, and I wanted to return to a healthy state of balance and peace.

The healers and intuitives had some important information and tools for me.  By making it my intention to heal, and really taking to heart some of the things the four women shared with me, I began slowly to make my way through the morass of emotions. (In addition to the anger, beneath it I realized there was also grief and sadness because I had really felt invested in this relationship.  I had fantasized about a happy future.) After much work and prayer I was amazed to discover that–coincidentally one month to the day of my unfortunate glimpse into my partner’s infidelity–I was willing to make the conscious choice to forgive.

It should be noted that  I didn’t say, “Cindy, you must forgive him.”  It hadn’t been my conscious intention. But eventually, I realized that forgiveness was part of my healing.  It also helped when I realized he was psychologically messed up.  He certainly had his own healing path to walk. But me wishing him to be different, or trying to “help” him or “heal” him was certainly not working for either of us!!!  When I realized I really couldn’t change him, I came to accept him. (I hasten to add that this does not mean I trusted him or that I was in any way entertaining thoughts of reuniting.)

Another BIG piece of the puzzle was when I did some shadow work.  Eventually the light bulb went off when I remembered times in my life when I had lied.  I like to think of myself as a good person, but the truth is, I certainly have my flaws.  I never cheated on my husband or my partner, but (this is my first time publicly confessing this) I once had a relationship with a married man.  Clearly I had absolutely no room to judge.

In addition to coming to the decision to forgive, I also used spiritual tools to remove his energy from my life, including “cutting the cord” between us.  The “cord” is an energetic connection that exists when something happens between two people. There are times when it can be very unhealthy, as when a relationship ends.  You can learn more about this phenomenon and practice here.

After this first month was over and I had done some of the work that was needed, it was truly astonishing how much lighter I felt.  It was such a relief to not be thinking of him obsessively or mentally playing the self-righteous loop of how “bad” he was and how “wounded” I was.  I began to finally realize that he was the way he was, and it wasn’t in my power to change him.

After the forgiveness, the healing continued at a deeper level.  I began, finally, to see my part in the equation.  I realized I had moved in too fast.  I realized I had not trusted my gut, my intuition, or my inner wise woman who saw every single red flag.  I realized I had given away my power and my independence. I also began to be willing to consider that there were parts of him that had been authentic and sweet.  I simply began to see everything from a broader and wider perspective.

More than three months have passed since the end of the relationship.  I am happy to report that I can now talk to him occasionally on the phone with no ill will whatsoever.  In fact, I can have a light heart. It feels like we are friends, though at a distance. It is truly miraculous the transformation I feel.

I share this story to prove that forgiveness is possible!  There are many, many, many misguided people on the planet.  I believe that Love and Forgiveness are what our planet most needs in order to come back into balance.  I also believe that whatever healing we do on a personal level absolutely and always benefits the whole.

So, my friends, may you be blessed in your own healing journey.

And may this dear world be at peace.

_______________________________

P.S.  If you feel inclined, consider also viewing this video to see another extremely powerful example of radical forgiveness.

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