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Struggle with forgiveness

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by lauraseago, Aug 16, 2017.

  1. lauraseago

    lauraseago Peer Supporter

    Hi TMS universe! I've been a TMS Wiki lurker/reader for a long time, but it's my first post on here, so go easy on me. ;) I'm Laura, and I am a recovered/ recovering TMS sufferer who apparently didn't know what "forgiveness" meant up until the past year.

    Growing up, I always thought that someone had to "earn" your forgiveness and be grateful for it when it came. Obviously, that belief led me to hold onto several long-term grudges and victim stories. As it turns out, my crazy ex didn't care to earn my forgiveness... so I spent years holding onto it, letting it simmer inside myself instead.

    Whoops. :inpain:

    One of the biggest transformation moments for me was reading Dr. Fred Luskin's book "Forgive For Good: A Proven Prescription for Health and Happiness." He's actually done some work with chronic pain sufferers and research on the physical impact of 'unforgiveness' in your body. If you haven't checked it out, I highly recommend it. His work has been extremely helpful for me in my healing journey.

    Anyway... I had a fangirl moment last week and actually got to interview Dr. Luskin for the podcast that I host, "Like Mind Like Body." If you have 30 minutes, check out the interview!

    Before (or after) you listen, though... I'm curious to hear how you guys define forgiveness? Dr. Luskin's view is so different from how I was raised that it makes me wonder how many different viewpoints are out there (and which ones have been most helpful/ unhelpful in actually releasing pain)?
    Lunarlass66 likes this.
  2. Gigalos

    Gigalos Beloved Grand Eagle

    I believe it helps to first attend to your anger before you can start to forgive. For example I beat somebody up in my mind, physical and/or mental, which helps me to see the person for what he/she really is. People always have reasons for their behaviour, that's where forgiveness can enter the stage since you removed the curtain of anger (and fear to get angry). I believe this is a controversial method, but it helped me a couple of times to forgive somebody. And forgiving doesn't mean you let that person get away with things that have a negative influence on you or others... because you got rid of most of the fear of getting angry and the anger itself, you are much more able to react in a non-aggressive, confident and effective manner when it is needed.

    Curious to hear other takes on forgiveness...
    lauraseago likes this.
  3. lauraseago

    lauraseago Peer Supporter

    I agree with you that it's important to hold space for your feelings. Emotions, by nature, are energy that exists in our body.... they are meant to flow through, and can become harmful when they are "stuck." The state of unforgiveness is basically holding onto that anger and resentment, allowing it to stay, giving it a place in your body. So whether that means anger or another emotion, it seems wise to honor that energy and allow it some space to flow through (and hopefully OUT).

    I like what you said above (the quoted part)... it's been very helpful for me to separate the concepts of forgiveness and justice. Just because you forgive someone doesn't mean you "let them off the hook." In the interview, Fred said something along the lines of "You can forgive an ex spouse for what they did, and you can still go to the judge asking for the child support they owe you. Those are different things."
    Gigalos likes this.
  4. stradivarius

    stradivarius Peer Supporter

    Interesting thread. For some reason I find it easy to forgive other people, I know they have just done their best at the time. However I find it harder to forgive myself. I know I have hurt people unintentionally through lack of self-awareness of my behaviour,and I find it painful to think of how I might have affected other people's lives, although rationally it makes sense to forgive myself too. One of my TMS traits is feeling huge amounts of guilt over things I have done wrong, even unintentionally.

    I'd be interested to know how other people manage to forgive themselves.
  5. lauraseago

    lauraseago Peer Supporter

    You are definitely not alone in this... I don't think I've struggled with it to the same extent that you're saying, but I have certainly found myself in that place.

    Everyone has a different "aha" moment, so what helped me might not resonate with you.... but here are a couple of things that helped me snap out of it:

    1. I read a book called "The Mastery of Love" by Don Miguel Ruiz which includes this passage. It gets a little confusing when you think about the concepts of "justice" and "forgiveness" as separate, but the heart of what he is saying makes sense really stuck with me.

    “In the track of love, there is justice. If you make a mistake, you pay only once for that mistake, and of you truly love yourself, you learn from that mistake. In the track of fear, there is no justice. You make yourself pay a thousand times for the same mistake. You make you partner or your friend pay a thousand times for the same mistake. This creates a sense of injustice and opens many emotional wounds. Then of course, you set yourself up to fail.”

    2. I started to think about the negative impact my "self guilt" had on those around me. When I am punishing myself, I am not showing up fully in my relationships. I am not contributing to society as much as I could be, because so much of my energy is directed toward making myself feel awful for no reason. I am not extending kindness towards others as much, because I am not extending kindness toward myself. Forgiving my own mistakes has absolutely made me a better friend, girlfriend, and family member. And just a more pleasant person to be around in general:)

    Hope this helps! Interested to hear any other advice on this
  6. Eugene

    Eugene Well known member

    I read Fred's book over the last month or so and made more notes than I have ever made on a book.

    It contains lots of excellent advice and the process it uses to properly forgive is superb.

    Now I need to add it to my ever expanding list of things I need to do to sort out this darned TMS. That's my problem. There's so much I feel I need to do that I feel overwhelmed and don't know what to do first :-(
    lauraseago likes this.
  7. Eugene

    Eugene Well known member

    Is there a way to download it Laura as I don't use iTunes and like to copy things to listen to onto my MP3 player so I can listen whilst I walk, without having to take my ultra intrusive phone with me. It might sound old-school but it works for me ☺️
    lauraseago likes this.
  8. stradivarius

    stradivarius Peer Supporter

    Thanks lauraseago, you're right about being an easier person to be around when you forgive yourself. That helps to clarify things, thank you. I think it is tough on my husband if I go on about either anxiety or guilt in his presence. Plus your quote puts an emphasis on not to make the same mistake again. That can get lost if you are bogged down in your own emotions. That is an "aha" moment for me too.
    lauraseago likes this.
  9. lauraseago

    lauraseago Peer Supporter

    No judgment :) If you follow this link, you should be able to download the file onto your desktop and transfer to your mp3 player. For anyone who DOES have iTunes or wants to listen on desktop, I'd recommend streaming it as a 30 minute file is pretty big!

    Glad to hear you've found Fred's book helpful, too... it's nice to know he also had his own personal struggles with this stuff before he started researching it!
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2017
  10. lauraseago

    lauraseago Peer Supporter

    I felt EXACTLY that way when I started my TMS journey. Dr. Stracks gave a stack of books, some worksheets, and some advice. I felt really confused as the where to begin and pretty overwhelmed.

    Have you tried using the Curable app yet? Full disclosure: I'm biased here, because I'm one of the co-founders of Curable. If you listen to the audio lessons, it's my voice you'll hear :) But this "where do I start" problem is EXACTLY why we made the program in the first place... to give people a guided experience, one step at a time, without feeling overwhelmed. Would love to hear what you think. You can find more info here.
  11. lauraseago

    lauraseago Peer Supporter

    Good! I'm glad you found it helpful :)

    One other thing that comes to mind when I hear your story is the difference between guilt ("I did something bad") and shame ("I am bad"). When we get stuck in punishing ourselves over and over, it's often shame at play rather than guilt (or so I have been told by the millions of self help books I've devoured, haha). Brene Brown is my HERO on this subject. Her books have helped me realize so much, and be far kinder to myself. If you haven't checked those out, I'd start with "The Gifts of Imperfection"... or even just watching her Ted Talk! She's incredible.
  12. Eugene

    Eugene Well known member

    Thanks Laura. Please do consider allowing people just to subscribe to the podcast via RSS or just download each episode as not everyone is owned by Apple and Google I listen to lots of podcasts but don't use either Apple or Google Play to subscribe and never have done. Just a thought ☺️
  13. lauraseago

    lauraseago Peer Supporter

    You can absolutely subscribe via RSS! Here is the RSS link. Great that you will be able to keep up with future episodes... hope you enjoy!
    Eugene likes this.

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