So what happens when there is an offense and the other doesn’t say, “I’m sorry?” Strong emotions of resentment, anger, sadness, and frustration take over with no resolution in sight. Worse, we unknowingly carry these emotions around like a heavy suitcase in our daily lives!
Now imagine years of offenses taking place during childhood, the time we are our most vulnerable selves? Our interpretation of the messages from the offense leads us to create negative beliefs about ourselves. These beliefs may sound like, “I’m not enough. I’m not wanted. I’m too much for people to handle. I’m not loveable.” Sound familiar?
For years I blamed others for my circumstances in life. I was the victim. I was angry with my parents for not loving me the way I needed to be loved. I silently and sometimes outwardly persecuted them and promised to never be like them. Unconsciously, I didn’t like playing a victim and my empathetic, caring nature didn’t like persecuting people. In an effort to not lose the relationships, I became a helper, a rescuer, and an extreme giver – magnified ten times! If only I could help someone with whatever he/she needed at the time, he/she would finally love me for who I was. I poured endless energy into relationships, hoping for change, but which truly were so unhealthy. Despite my heroic efforts, I felt empty, exhausted, and more unloved. This way of operating, this mode of rescuing became the predominant way of me operating in life and in every relationship.
What I didn’t understand was this behavior I was exhibiting is the classic VPR triangle – Victim, Persecutor, Rescuer – and it develops from our experiences in childhood. When trapped in this triangle, all areas of our life are manifested through these lenses. I had no idea.
So how do we change? How do we help ourselves heal?
We forgive ourselves! We grant our own forgiveness! We make forgiveness a practice each time we encounter an old, negative belief that quite frankly, isn’t true and isn’t serving us!
Here are 3 amazing steps towards granting you forgiveness:
- Hawaiian Tradition of Forgiveness – Ho’Oponopono
This lovely meditation is life transforming. There are many guided versions that can be found on www.Youtube.com. The simple phrase, “I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.” is all that you need to be able to release those emotions and free your heart. Place your hand on your heart, take deep breaths into your heart, and start the meditation. Think of those beliefs that have been hanging around and speak them to your heart. For example, “I’m sorry you have felt not wanted. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.” “I’m sorry you weren’t loved growing up. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.” You will find as you repeat this saying you will be speaking to your inner child, the one that is wounded. This is the version of you that has been ignored and is longing to be heard. Upon that connection, identify at what age you feel inside. Give your inner child the love and attention that she deserves through Ho’Oponopono. Perform this tradition 2 times a week for several weeks or anytime you notice an old belief surfacing. Grant yourself the loving forgiveness you have waited to receive from others and watch yourself transform!
Are you feeling “Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired”? When we are experiencing any of these emotions, we are susceptible to reinforcing our old beliefs. If you operate in the VPR Triangle, try to see where you are at? Are you the victim – feeling like you have no control over a situation and it’s someone else’s fault? Are you persecuting someone else thinking they are the “bad guy”? Are you rescuing someone else instead of focusing on you? If so then “HALT”. Stop what you are doing and take a moment to check in. What is it you need? What emotion is happening? Do you need to feed yourself because it’s been 8 hours since a meal? Are you angry and need to forgive and release those emotions? Are you lonely – who can you reach out to for support? Are you tired – have you been getting enough sleep? Ask yourself – What is the one thing I can do now to support myself? When you take care of you, you STOP operating in the VPR triangle!
Extend compassion to yourself! If your child or best friend were struggling with negative emotions, what would you do or say to them? Now apply that to you! Self-talk is healing, healthy, and necessary. It also goes hand in hand with forgiveness! Once you have released those negative emotions, nurture you. What do you need? Is it a friend? Is it a hug? Is it self-care?
Practicing forgiveness is exactly that – a practice! When we grant forgiveness each time we are experiencing negative emotions, we create new space for something wonderful! Negative emotions are a sign that we are experiencing a trigger from the past. By freeing up these emotions, we make way for more happiness and joyfulness. We realize and become aware that we are responsible for our own lives. WE have choices. We can live our life on our terms! Forgiveness is the pathway to unconditional acceptance of who we are and that, by definition, is Self-love!