(photo by Jacob Rebco)
DAY 16. FORGIVE.
I don't know why I felt called to talk about this today. Forgiveness is something that will set you free. It's such a vast and deep topic I may need to even come back to it at a different angle but we'll see.
I asked my Dad one day, when going through an extremely painful break-up, how do you feel about forgiveness? And he replied, you are able to forgive so much easier, Laina, when you can forgive yourself first. I had no idea what he was talking about I didn't think I had anything to forgive myself for! I just wanted to move on from being heartbroken. I was the victim here! What I didn't realize was I was living out a situation I thought I had deserved. Somewhere along the way in my childhood, after my Dad left, I felt I must have done something to deserve this life. To deserve boyfriends who I could never fully trust, to deserve the feeling of constant stress and worry. To deserve the feeling of never being safe or comfortable for long because it would all be taken away from me anyway.
It was what I knew and the hand I felt I was dealt. Because at 5 years old when my family fell apart, I didn't understand why, all I felt was stress and that I couldn't do anything to make it better. As the oldest child of 4 (now 8) I felt it was my job. I even remember my parents getting into a HUGE blowout fight and my Dad putting his foot through the glass coffee table before church. Both of my parents were crying on either side of their bed and little 5 year old Laina was running back and forth to each side to see if I could make it better. I couldn't. So I blamed myself. Of course I didn't realize this for yearssss. I didn't realize this until I was maybe 30 years old and I decided to take the first big step towards healing my life.
Which was calling my Dad after that extremely painful break-up to tell him how much he had hurt me. How he made me feel unlovable and broken and that I feared I could never have a real relationship because of him. He was addicted to crack cocaine as many of our parents were in the 80's and 90's and he broke my heart. I'm SO lucky to have him here today. He did a complete 180 and has been an incredible support in helping heal the damage he did. He said, "Laina, we've talked a lot about your website in the past 6 months (I was *just* starting my business in LA at the time) but these are the words I've waited 22 years to hear." Since then we've worked a lot out together and I've done a LOT of work alone. You have to do most of it alone. I mean, therapy (of all kinds), books, friends and family this is all necessary but you are the only one who is going to keep pushing through to the other side.
I remember during this EXTREMELY painful time, (healing is very painful and hard and sooo worth it and my babies, I am so proud of you if you have decided to take the steps to start) my Dad sent me an email titled France. I will share it now:
I like talking in analogies.. applying the emotional content of an easy to understand example gives me a way to explain something you’ve never experienced before. Like this: the challenge you’ve taken to change your life is just like having jumped into the water to swim the English channel. You’ve gone so far now that turning back now would be almost as difficult as continuing on and would have no reward at the end compared to reaching your goal. Its going to be tough swimming for a while but you’ll soon get the hang of it and before you know it you’ll have reached France. So for now, this is your life.
Forgiveness has played a MAJOR, I'm talking top 2 and it's not 2 role in my healing. As an adult, I've had to have very real and consistent dialogue with 5 year old me. At one point, I changed my screen saver on my phone to lil 5 year old me so that I could look at her and talk to her whenever she needed. In bed, I hold her and tell her I love her. Sometimes I sit in front of the mirror and tell her how much I love her. That she did nothing wrong and she is perfect. Because adult me can explain to her now the things that she couldn't understand as a child and we can heal together. You will have to do this many many many times over. Keep doing it. Until you no longer have this ACHING desire to fix things. To people please. You did nothing wrong, my love. Trust what you feel. <3
The next step I took in this was another Louise Hay gem. And that was to picture my parents as 5 year old children. Because however and whoever they grew up to be, with all of their pain and soul work to do, is a result of their childhood. I pictured them as scared, open, loving little children on their own path and I took them in my arms and into my heart and I kept them safe there. I was able to look at them on a soul level and truly understand this journey we are on together. I was able to forgive them for not being everything I needed. And to appreciate them for being everything I did need because I LOVE who I am today. I use this technique with anyone I feel anger or pain towards. Ex boyfriends, ex best friends. I see their 5 year old baby selves just trying to work out their pain and I just want to wrap my arms around them. When an old memory or even a present one comes up that just PISSES me off (pain/disappointment) I say "I love you ____" and their name out loud. And I say a prayer to bless the energy between us with love and I thank their soul for playing such a major role in MY soul's journey. And then I say "I love you Laina. You did nothing wrong."
I love you sweetheart. Forgive yourself. You've done nothing wrong but be a human, working out your soul's lessons here on earth.
See you tomorrow.