If it happened, it was necessary.
The first time I heard these words I felt myself get defensive. I was sitting in a group of women and a teacher of mine was leading a seminar. She saw the discomfort on everyone’s faces as the memories of upsetting and traumatic experiences came to mind in response to her statement. So she said it again, “if it happened, it was necessary.”
As someone who had worked with victims of some of the worst crimes humanity can endure, the teacher confessed how difficult it is to say those words to someone. Nonetheless, they’re true.
Whatever happens to us shapes us, it refines us, it brings us closer to the version of ourselves that we need to be in order to do the things, be in the places, meet the people, or say the words we’re meant to.
It may be hard to accept that in the thick of things, but most of us who have been through difficult times can look back on how those things have changed our lives, and we can see the silver linings. 'God bless the broken road.'
As such, there is an important (albeit uncomfortable) part of the healing process required for us to truly grow from any experience we’ve had: Forgiveness.
It's important to me that you understand something: forgiveness is not about letting someone ‘off the hook,’ its about freeing yourself.
If the people or situations that hurt us are essentially part of our refinement, part of the classroom of life, then holding on to hatred, regret, and anger has no purpose in the long run. To quote Will Smith’s wise words, “hate in your heart will consume you too.”
After all, everything you’ve been through has made you who you are today. And here you are – this glorious, victorious, warrior, who is courageous enough to keep getting back up, and refusing to let something (or someone) break you. Can I get an amen?! :)
What I’m finding is that forgiveness is crucial to closure. For me, this process helps a lot...
I start by taking a look at a situation that was painful, the people involved (often, including myself), and say ‘thank you.’ Thank you for teaching me and guiding me as you did.
Then, I offer forgiveness – we’re all only human, we’re all flawed, we’re all trying to figure things out, and this experience was crucial for my refining process.
Finally, I offer my love. Sending my love to the people and the situation that hurt me is like wrapping it all up with impenetrable wrapping, and tying it up in a crimson bow.
Our experiences will always be a part of our story, but they don’t have to retain our emotional power. This process allows us to take our power back, find strength in ourselves and our story, and move on whole and healthy.
You deserve nothing less.
With love and gratitude,
PS - I have a worksheet for this process in the FREEBIES section of my website. If you're not already a member, you'll be prompted to create a log-in, and then you'll have instant access. Make 20 copies of this worksheet if you need to, and work it out. You've got this!