In Part 5, How do I forgive when I’m still hurt and angry, we ended with:
FORGIVENESS IS FOR YOU, THE FORGIVER, NOT FOR THE PERPETRATOR.
If that is true, then why is forgiveness so difficult?
Consider: When you don’t forgive, who is the one hurt?
It is sadly shocking to realize that when you are harboring bitterness and negative thoughts, you are hurting yourself and probably not affecting the perpetrator at all. All of that hatred, indignation, negativity, unfriendly thoughts and even revenge and vindictiveness are roiling inside of you—forms of unforgiveness taking up valuable space and energy for the positives in your life, like love. When you imprison all of that negative energy inside of you, you are the one negatively affected.
“Forgiveness reminds you that nothing outside of you or happens to you is your truth. They are experiences only, not who you are.” ~ Jesus. Divine Messages from Jesus for a magnificent life. p. 339. Cathey, Carolyne 2015
Consider: When you don’t forgive the situation or other person or persons, who else shares the byproduct-results of your hurt and anger?
Might there be innocent ones who suffer the results of your refusal to let go and forgive, such as children, siblings, family, co-workers and friends? All are connected, which means that your hurt and anger cause less than desirable choices which, in turn, affects others who share no blame and yet suffer the consequences.
Think carefully about your unforgiveness. Who else is negatively impacted who is an innocent in the situation?
* Don’t approach this consideration with guilt, but with reality and assessment. Make a list of who else is suffering because you are suffering, and include their connection with you and their ages.
Consider: If what you feel you cannot forgive is due to the actions of another, how does your unforgiveness affect them? Are they contrite? Shamed? Or unaffected and couldn’t care less?
In my personal experience of when I was attacked at fifteen years old by someone I trusted (no blood relation), the attacker felt no compassion or any need for forgiveness from me or for himself. He went on with his millionaire’s life of luxury and world jet-setting as if I didn’t matter.
I’m sad to say I allowed his act of violence to affect me to the point of a shaking fear, even to questioning myself if somehow I had unwittingly invited it. I didn’t tell anyone because I felt ashamed and didn’t want to upset the ones I loved, or have to live with the stigma of violation. I assumed that since he was a powerful person then most likely everyone would believe his version rather than the truth. As a result, I withdrew from dealing with the aftermath of reporting it and kept silent, which meant that because of my lack of courage, I allowed him to continue his violent behavior with other unsuspecting innocents. I felt weak, powerless, unprotected, and ashamed.
Much later I realized that by not letting the incident go, I shackled myself to the very violation I hated.
I don’t mean that I finally condoned his actions, because what he did was wrong. Condoning and forgiving are two separate issues. However, my refusal to forgive bound me to the incident, allowing the attack and the attacker to control me through the repeated memories affecting my life. My reliving it and worrying it like a loose tooth was only impacting me, not him. He could have cared less. My unforgiveness didn’t affect him at all. I was only hurting myself.
I decided “That’s stupid!” I knew in my heart I didn’t unwittingly invite the violation, but I realized I did unwittingly chain myself like a prisoner to what happened. My unforgiveness made it worse for me.
Jesus says to us::
“That person never hurt the real you, the eternal you, but only the temporary physical shell. I assure you that there is nothing outside of you that can harm the actual you. The eternal you is forever within the love of God. You are forever strong from within the Source.
“There is nothing anyone can do to you, any circumstance that happens to you, that changes who you are—a God-creation. Any thought otherwise is a lie, an illusion you’ve allowed to cloud your truth.”
Jesus. Divine Messages from Jesus for a magnificent life. p. 341. Cathey, Carolyne 2015
Consider: If you are the one you feel you can’t forgive because you believe you were the one at fault, how are you affected?
You hurt, for certain. Letting go of guilt over something you feel you did in error is sometimes more challenging than forgiving someone else.
Either way, you often feel guilt. Even if you were the one attacked or betrayed, the ‘what ifs’ still haunt. What if I had yelled louder, hadn’t gone down that street, told my parents/ his wife/the police, what if, what if, what if ?
How has the event affected you and your life? Your joy? Your choices and decisions? Has that incident affected the choices you made that resulted in where you are right now? These self-analysis questions might take some time to think through but are worth the time and effort. Journal them. In writing them down you’ll open more and more to the truth that is buried inside you, that no longer serves you and longs for release.
If your unforgiveness negatively affected your past choices, and maybe even your current choices, ask yourself if you are tired of the shackles and are ready to move toward freedom and power.
Jesus says to us:
“Forgiveness expands you, deepens you, allows the inner light to shine more brightly from within you because you’ve removed limitations hindering you from expressing and living the fullness of your being. Forgiveness opens you more fully into who you are—Oneness within Spirit. One within God.”
Jesus. Divine Messages from Jesus for a magnificent life. p. 342. Cathey, Carolyne 2015
Consider: Whether the unforgiveness is against someone else, or you, how long have you been holding on to it? Hours? Days? Months? Years?
Probably years. How many more years do you want to allow the incident to affect you and your life? At what point do you decide you’ve had enough and want to break the enslaving connection? That you want out. That you choose freedom. Maybe, now?
Jesus says to us:
“Forgiveness reveals you are stronger than anything that happens to you from an outside source. You are of God within God. That is what is of import and nothing else. You are of God, in God, one with God. You are magnificent!”
Jesus. Divine Messages from Jesus for a magnificent life. p. 343. Cathey, Carolyne 2015
The statements sounds easier than it is to actually believe them and act on them. Especially, when the one abusing you is a charming sociopath. If so, and even if not, be sure to read…
Next: Healing Guilt, Shame and Regret, Part 7: Consider: When you don’t forgive, who or what controls you?
Excerpts from Divine Messages from Jesus for a magnificent life, p, 339-343. Cathey, Carolyne. 2015
(To be continued)
Previous Posts: Healing Guilt, Shame and Regret
Forgiveness is probably the most difficult challenge of all to address, analyze and put into action…There might be raw pain and anger and regret buried so deeply within you that only Divine Power can help you sort through and release it. You might not feel as if you want to release it – ever!
You might feel you want to hang on to the righteous indignation and the burning inside – the addictive anger that lets you know you’re alive.
If the anger and regret is against yourself, you might feel you don’t deserve to release it, that for your punishment you should suffer the agony for the rest of your life.
You might experience fear when you think of forgiving. But fear of what? Fear of being hurt again? Fear of losing the imaginary protective shell you’ve built around yourself to make yourself invisible, vainly hoping the shell hides from others your fear or shame or weakness or guilt, or…
You might feel you lose your identity when you forgive, that somehow your righteous indignation or regret is who you are, that people feel sorry for you – the victim – making you noticed and cared about, less invisible, and that if you don’t hold on to that identity, you won’t know who you are anymore, you will have lost an importance or something unnamable you won’t know how to get back and will feel adrift.
You might be angry with God or have turned your back on God, because if there was a God, then why didn’t God help you in your time of need? Why did God help others and not you? How could you love a God that didn’t love you enough to stop what happened?
Might any of that sound familiar and fit in with the angst inside you?
Why forgiveness? Why does it matter?…There might be instances or injustices in your life where forgiveness seems impossible – anything from a lost child, or a murder, or a rape, or sexual or physical abuse, or a debilitating illness, or unfairness in your career, or betrayal, or a cheating spouse, or bullying at school, or bullying at home…and the list continues. There are many past or current issues where you might feel you cannot ever, ever forgive that person, or circumstance, or yourself – or God. If so, please remember…
FORGIVENESS IS FOR YOU, THE FORGIVER, not for the perpetrator.
Excerpt from Divine Messages from Jesus for a magnificent life, p, 337. Cathey, Carolyne. 2015
(To be continued)
Next: Healing Guilt, Shame and Regret, Part 6: When you don’t forgive, who is hurt?
Previous Posts: Healing Guilt, Shame and Regret
The following truth is significant. It’s okay to feel guilt, shame and regret. You have my permission. In fact, you can’t live life in the physical without experiencing them. But what is imperative to a healed life is not to get mired in your feelings. Don’t be ashamed of your emotions. Feel them! But even when the pain wrenches so deeply within you that you doubt you’ll ever be free of it, there is still something for which to be grateful, and that is –
Gratitude you feel emotions, even when painful.
Some people, like charming sociopaths, don’t feel emotions. Can you imagine not feeling love, or even remorse and guilt? I’m not a psychological expert, but my belief is that these people have hardened their hearts like concrete, encasing them in an invisible protective barrier to keep from feeling long-ago early childhood hurts from people they trusted, and in self-protection have vowed to never allow anyone to hurt them again. These are people who seem incapable of feeling love, joy and compassion. I’ve worked with a few of them who contacted me through this site, and they ask really tough questions, like…
- What does love feel like?
- What does regret feel like?
- What is sadness?
- How can I feel something when I don’t know what it’s supposed to feel like?
I promise you, you don’t want that emotionless wasteland for you. If that happens to be one of your personality challenges, you are invited to contact me and I’ll try to help connect you with a better, more meaningful life-path – a feeling path. Addressing your personality issue takes courage. No matter on which side of this challenge you are, turning your life around takes courage. But you can do it.
What I’m saying is that if you feel, guilt, shame and regret, you are blessed. Emotions are there for you to experience. They are part of who you are. As someone told me one time, our sensitivities are part of our poetry.
If you don’t experience any sensitivities, you can’t relate to others who do feel them. But as I stated before, the trick is not to get stuck there and allow them to negatively impact your life. However the first challenge is that you can’t move forward if you don’t acknowledge them. Choose to work on this issue until the next post where we’ll discuss how to forgive – ourselves and others.
(To be continued)
Next: Healing Guilt, Shame and Regret, Part 5: How do I forgive when I’m still hurt and angry?
Previous Posts: Healing Guilt, Shame and Regret
Believing yourself unworthy means you mistakenly feel separate and alone, which leads to poor choices and even poorer results.
Here is the truth.
You are never alone. I promise! I know this for a fact. I, too, questioned and doubted that continual connection with the Divine which made me feel separate and alone; in the process, I made a mess of my life. I made choices I regretted. Once I truly understood the truth of our Divinity – a Loving Force that with our permission will guide us to the best life possible – my life shifted from doubts and wrong turns to one of joy, purpose, and emboldened with God-confidence.
Do you practice a negative habit of putting yourself down, being humble, thinking you don’t count? Do you let others treat you with disrespect? Out of fear or feeling you have no where else to go, do you allow a spouse, boss, parent or peer, to abuse you either physically or emotionally? If the last sentence is true, find help at Stop the Abuse.
When you delude yourself into believing you are less incredible than you are, you cheat God, you cheat yourself, and you cheat the world. If you love God, then you must also love yourself because God created you. Whether or not you love God, or believe in God, the truth is that God created you. God loves you. God empowers you.
When you feel beaten down by life, only God can lift you from the negativity trap that holds you down like an anchor, a trap that seems impossible to escape. You don’t have to settle for such a life. There is help. There is a better way.
Can you agree we aren’t born with feelings of unworthiness? If so, then how did we end up thinking so little of ourselves? What happened that we allowed others to decide our worth?
The truth is that we are created from love and goodness. Then life takes over and starts grinding down our self-esteem. Perhaps parents or teachers or peers who, usually from some form of fear reaction, start putting us down, chipping away at our feelings of worth. For some, often unexplainable reason, we think they surely know better about us than we do, and accept their criticism as true.
Most often our lack of confidence is because we make mistakes. We all make mistakes! Granted, some are more painful than others, but we all make them. One of our biggest mistakes is letting others decide our worth! Making mistakes is part of our eternal spirit experiencing this temporary life. By the way, did you know that the word ‘sin’ in the original Aramaic of Jesus’ language really means ‘mistake’?
To quote from the book by author Carolyne Cathey that I recommend for improving feelings of self-worth, Divine Messages from Jesus for a magnificent life,
“In your schooling, did you always get a perfect score for every homework assignment and test? No? Life is the same kind of schooling. If you never made mistakes that would be the greatest mistake of all because, for one, that isn’t possible when in the physical, and for two, you wouldn’t have been taking the risks necessary for growth and development—you would have learned judgment and arrogance instead of understanding and compassion.” ~ Jesus (p. 352)
Mistakes are part of life. But, what happens when we err? We, along with society, sit in judgment about our imperfections, which, oddly, means others are also sitting in judgment of themselves because they also make mistakes. That is why no one is to judge another (which is a form of hypocrisy), because they are judging others for what they themselves have done or are doing.
Part of the problem is that mistakes can vary from simple to horrendous, at least in our eyes. People can get hurt. Sometimes we can’t ‘fix’ the mistake. In future submissions, we’ll discuss how to release even those horrid errors, so keep reading as the posts are published.
Here is the good news! If you want to turn your life around, all you have to do is ask. One of the strongest prayers is “Help me!” Jesus meets you where you are, without judgment. If you let him, he’ll be your BFF (Best Friend Forever).
Honor the God within you. I encourage you to decide, this moment, that you will never again put yourself down. You will never again allow anyone else to put you down. I’m not talking about constructive criticism, I’m talking about hurtful attempts to make you feel less than you are. Heed the statement, “God don’t make no junk.” And, “Don’t say anything about yourself you wouldn’t say about God.”
Dare you disparage your Creator by criticizing the creation? If you have a challenge with self-confidence, aren’t you tired of living the falsehood that you are not good enough? Are you beginning to sense that you’ve allowed others to decide your worth for you? And believed them? And that in your acceptance of their incorrect beliefs of who you are, you allowed others to control you—to control your destiny? If so, you accept and live a lie that is the opposite of the truth, that—
“You are worthy. You are of God. You are one with your Source, your only Source. You are magnificent.” ~ Jesus.
Quote from (Cathey, Carolyne. Divine Messages from Jesus for a magnificent life. P. 289.)
(To be continued)
Next: Healing Guilt, Shame and Regret, Part 4: Permission to Feel.
Previous Healing Guilt and Shame Posts
PART 2: IMPORTANT DIFFERENCES
It’s important for your healing to understand the difference between guilt, shame and regret.
Because unless you understand the cause of these emotions and actually ‘feel’ them rather than trying to ‘forget’ them (which never works), the aftereffects can be wounding, negatively impacting everything in your life from your relationships to your career. They certainly affect your happiness, or lack of, and trigger you to continue making unhealthy choices – ensnaring you in a trap of your own making as mentioned in Part 1.
Guilt arises from doing something you knew wasn’t right at the time, but hoped you could get away with and not get caught. The incident could be legal, moral or ethical in nature. Some people are sorry they were caught but not remorseful. Some people can be affected so negatively by their guilt that they go into depression, even contemplate suicide. They wrongly believe they can’t ever forgive themselves over their mistakes, that they are unworthy of love, of respect, of goodness, of life. Unworthiness results in a repetitive cycle of self-punishing choices – an “I don’t deserve anything good’ attitude. Don’t believe it! There is hope for you. There is help. Stay with me on this. What do you lose by giving yourself a chance? Nothing. But you have everything to gain.
Regret is generated from within, a negative self-recrimination from committing some type of wrong, either intentional or accidental. Regret can stem from action or inaction, like when we could have made a better choice than the one we made. Or we could have done something or said something that would have helped, but we didn’t, and is now too late. Regret aches painfully inside us because we can’t go back and fix the damage. It hurts. And keeps hurting, for years if we let it. Regret can also result in feelings of unworthiness. The good news is that regret can also inspire a determination to do better next time, turning a negative into a positive. How do you accomplish that turnaround? Keep reading, and don’t give up.
Shame is usually the emotion that causes the most severe negative self-esteem. Shame is generated from outside influences like society, family and peers who tell us we should feel badly about ‘something’. They try to debase us through humiliation, rejection or criticism because they believe we failed them and aren’t good enough, won’t ever be good enough. Bullying falls under this category. A ‘charming sociopath’ uses this technique to manipulate and control, doing their best to destroy our self-esteem and self-worth. The good news in this category is that they succeed in mistreating us only if we let them. Don’t allow anyone to disrespect you. Yes, such a stance requires courage and faith. But you can do it. During this series we’ll work on strengthening your confidence and belief in yourself. Choose empowerment.
In the next several posts we’ll address healing solutions. Solutions that can turn your life from negative into positive, from sadness into joy, from feeling impotent to powerful, from false unworthiness into a true, amazing worthiness beyond anything you’ve ever imagined. Stay with this series. You can do it!
(To be continued)
Healing Guilt, Shame and Regret, Part 3.
Have you, at least once in your life, felt guilt, shame and regret? Does it make you feel unworthy? Do your false beliefs of unworthiness lead you to repeatedly choose unhealthy relationships and situations?
You are not alone. Everyone makes poor choices. Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone feels guilt, shame and regret.
For some people, though, the feeling of unworthiness and false beliefs that they don’t deserve the best in life is a trap they’ve sadly built and set for themselves. A trap they keep stepping into. And, when they get caught in it, escape seems almost impossible. Not true! That self-accepted belief is a damaging lie they declare to themselves, with great harm to themselves and those around them.
Are you one of those people? Don’t you hate it? Do you want a way out?
Escape is possible. Would you like to know how to flip the negatives into positives? Would you like to turn around your damaging beliefs about yourself and move toward healing?
Let’s work together on your healing. Over the next several posts we’ll discuss how to escape the trap you’ve set for yourself, and how to choose a better way – a healing way. (To be continued)