The healing power of forgiveness begins with forgiving yourself.
I held onto unforgiveness for years and developed a severe case of Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) problems. At 24 years old the x-ray showed the left TMJ joint had arthritis comparable to someone who was in their 70’s!
In Louise Hay’s book, “You Can Heal Your Life” she has a list that includes the Problem, Probably Cause and the New Thought Pattern.
Anger, resentment, desire for revenge
New Thought Pattern
I am willing to change the patterns in me that created this condition. I love and approve of myself. I am safe.
The dis-ease of TMJ started when I was very young. What started to create the dis-ease is the anger I held toward my mom. I desired a relationship with my mom, to have conversations and become best friends. I resented my mom for many years. My mom criticized my body, my friends and my intelligence. It felt like I was not heard or validated. So I sought revenge and treated my mom with disrespect and disdain. I was always on the defensive in attempt to ensure that I wouldn’t be hurt anymore.
I came to realize that mom was not able to connect with others or me on a level that would create closeness or openness. My mom was afraid people would hurt her. So she put up barriers on all her relationships and held them at an arm’s length. I didn’t realize it at the time that my moms’ criticism of me was a direct reflection of herself.
My mom has since passed. For the last six months of her life I was her advocate, I ensured that all her physical needs were met. My mom was diagnosed with dementia. She had been having mini strokes for over 10 years and her brain had begun to shrink. She also had water between her left and right brain. As a result, her communication at times was incomprehensible. At this time I was taking my third communication course and one of the modules was to learn how to communicate differently with someone. I choose my mom.
Changing my communication method with my mom taught me compassion for the person my mom once was. I learned to appreciate her and understand her more than I ever had in my lifetime. I was beside her until she took her last breath. It was an honour to experience. I feel so blessed to finally receive the validation from my mom. She passed away on my birthday at 7:00pm and who also had given birth to me at 7:00am on that same day 58 years earlier.
I had missed it and now realize that my mom was my best friend. We would shop together, bake and cook together. Play cards and laugh together and so many other things together. I miss her each and every day. I miss her phones calls, there were many.
My mom was lucid at times before she passed. I did tell her that she was an amazing mom and thanked her for everything she did for me and how I appreciated her. This opened a door for her to apologize to dad for all the things she regretted in their relationship.
I now understand what it feels like to hold onto unforgiveness. It affects the whole body, mind and spirit. It takes over your entire being and you become self-absorbed with the issue. This is where the blame game begins. You blame everyone and everything else for the problem(s) in your life.
I use several methods of forgiving. I have at times written letters. I didn’t send them, instead I tore them up and said; “I forgive me, I forgive you and set us free.” Other times I just let it go from within myself. I don’t forget the experience, I see each experience as a lesson. Forgiveness has taught me how gain a more in-depth understanding of myself and taught me to set healthy boundaries. When I forgive myself and others, I discovered the experience of releasing a 1000 lbs of weight off my shoulders.
I experience freedom.
I become unstuck.
My eyes are open.
I create space for growth.
I have come to learn that each person is a reflection of me – loving, compassionate, passionate, goodness, etc. and in other areas where work still needs to be done. I have become open to seeing what triggers I feel in others. This gives me the opportunity to change and continue to heal my life. I now celebrate and have appreciation for the beauty I see in others.
One of the most valuable lessons I have learned is to forgive, love and approve of myself. This gives me the opportunity to do the same for others.
Connect to the emotions that cause dis-ease and to your personal truth.
Maureen Gaetz-Faubert is a Heal Your Life Coach and Teacher based in Southern Alberta. You can connect with her here.