The big benefit to those who practice forgiveness is that they can feel accurately and shift from hurt and betrayal to freedom and this is always a surprise to those that are forgiven. Recently, this was illustrated to me so poignantly by my wife, Marla. I was triggered (fairly rare when you practice forgiveness regularly, but sometimes things slip past and hit us at our core) and hurt her deeply, For many relationships this would have been the end.
First, she received the hurt I gave her and then through tears she replied, “How could you??? This hurts so deeply and I feel betrayed. This hits me in my old wound of not being enough.”
So powerfully communicated; not an attack but a statement of her feelings. I was remorseful and realized my error in a new light. I was blinded by my own issues and it hurt us both. After some short dialog, we were at a bit of an impasse. And then she chose to do the forgiveness work that we have been teaching for twenty-three years and I felt her heart shift in a big way. It does not take this long to master this skill, and yes, it does take practice.
She shared with me the specifics of her forgiveness and gave me her clear boundary. I agreed and wholeheartedly committed to keep it, as it was fair and easy for us both to know when it was kept or broken, and because there was no longer hurt surrounding her request.
In the space of a few hours she shifted from the pain of heartbreak, defeat, and hopelessness to a new level of empathy for what I was going though. I was clearly moved from the penalty box to the winners circle of her heart. I cannot express in words the power of this “SHIFT.” It inspired me to dig deeper and to do my own painful yet freeing work.
Forgiveness allows the hurt to be real and for a new boundary to form clearly in the heart of the forgiver. This allows the pain to be shared in a way that is empathetic and inspiring. It heals the relationship to the level of safety needed. Not all relationships are emotionally safe, and forgiveness helps you know the truth about the safety.
Today is Valentines Day. Hurt is often swept under the rug on occasions like this. If you want more love choose to feel the pain, let it be real and be specific (use the Feeling Wheel 4.0), and choose to forgive (remembering that it is always a choice before it is a feeling). Then be very clear about what you need and what you want to see. Boundaries are not the words you say but the will in your heart to keep yourself safe.
As a result of all this pain and transformation our love, intimacy, and honesty has grown by leaps and bounds! And I can't even tell you how phenomenal our lovemaking has become just in the past week (Sex: The Other "S" Word book coming soon so keep posted)!!! It's all worth it!
Forgiveness Loves and heals relationships, and we all need this healing. It is not easy nor is it for the faint of heart, and it is always worth it! Here are a few things you can do to begin the process:
- Track your feelings a couple times a day for a week, stop, breathe and be honest!
- Find your top three most felt feelings from the Northside feelings from the Feeling Wheel 4.0.
- Think of when you first felt those three feelings. Ask yourself, “Are these new feelings or hanging onto the old?" (Look for the next blog for further steps...)