There are many aspects of forgiveness and living with past hurts. Some of which are often rooted deep in our subconscious or have become situations and events we do not want to deal with or look back on. Forgiving others & inflicted past hurts, but also forgiving yourself. When it comes to health and our emotional and physical well being any blame, hurt, and perceived wrong-doings that we are holding onto can cause all sorts of problems & show up in a number of ways. Could your bad habits or health symptoms be related to a past hurt you’re holding onto? Here’s why Forgiveness can be the biggest step you take in your healing and why Forgiveness can help you heal.
My forgiveness journey
While I am well aware of the concept of holding onto emotion & hurt, dwelling in the past, and the damage these can both do when it comes to health and well being. Helping clients identify and work through these kinds of issues, understand why Forgiveness can help you heal, it is easier than recognising it in myself. But isn’t that always the case?
I feel telling you a little of my own journey might be helpful for you to understand. And to show that we are ALL always learning. Healing and growth is a lifelong journey.
At the beginning of my health condition I had some resentment towards a a certain ex- and a relationship I had stayed in far too long. While I had worked through this over time I recently realised there was still some underlying hurt I was holding onto: One of my biggest ‘Ahh haa’ moments happened when I became aware the I was still in some ways blaming myself and my body for my health condition. A mindset that was holding me back….
Blaming my body for letting me down & not keeping going. A logical part of me know’s this is rubbish. When we push too hard and our bodies can only withstand what we throw at them for so long without having to show us how bad things are. My body was just shouting for help.
I was still blaming my young self for letting things get so bad. Why didn’t I do this or that? left that bad relationship earlier? etc. These thought are easy with hind-sight! We can only make decisions based on the knowledge our past self had at that time. My past self was clueless and doing a lot of things to try numb out instead of facing how I really felt. I cannot really blame her, and holding onto that blame is a waste of energy too.
These are the things I had to work through. Do they sound familiar to you?
So you see how feelings like these towards yourself and others can be holding you back and preventing your healing and health. Why Forgiveness can help you heal.
Needing to forgive yourself or forgive others. Holding on to these kinds of feelings can be harmful, corruptive, and when we aren’t focusing on the present moment, a waste of precious energy & resources. These kinds of feelings and emotions can fester away inside us and all that negative energy and trauma can show up in all kinds of unwanted ways. This is why Forgiveness can help you heal.
The reality is often no one is to ‘blame’ in this kind of situation. It just is. Even when you can cast blame on a person or event for your hurt or some that happened to you. Does it really help anyone? Focusing on the past and things you did in the past is truly a waste of energy and time as they are things you cannot change.
Forgiveness & Self-Love
There are many connections between how you feel about yourself and the kind of regrets and past hurts you hold onto. Forgiveness of any kind can be hard. Forgiving another without closure or when they do not believe they’ve hurt you. Forgiving yourself. Letting go of past disappointments and hurts. Times when you’ve felt let down or betrayed. Traumas you’re body and subconscious mind have held onto. Your ability to let these things go is often rooted in your self worth and self-love.
What you think you are worth and worthy of. What you think you deserve. Do you believe you deserve to be happy? Do you treat yourself with kindness, compassion and love?
How you treat yourself is how you treat others. If you tend towards kindness you are more likely to forgive others. Therefore if you are being kind to yourself that kindness will spread to everyone around you. However if you are mean to yourself you are harder on others.
Forgiveness does not mean you forget though. Always remember the lessons from your conflicts and hurts. But while Forgiveness can be the biggest step you take in your healing it is worth doing.
How do these show up
The body can hold so much of what you experience. And everything is interconnected. No matter how big or small your experience if it’s there and you are holding onto it, it can prevent your present health. We often forget the emotional and spiritual aspects of illness.
Signs for these things can show up in a number of ways. Often in avoidance behaviour….
1. Sometimes we overeat to distract ourselves from our pain
Have you ever eaten an entire pack of biscuits or multiple chocolate bars, sweets, crisps. You just keep binging and it’s like you can’t stop? Or you have kept eating when you know you are already full or not even hungry?
Sometimes we overeat to distract ourselves from the emotions we are feeling. Or because we don’t want to feel those emotions, we want to bury them entirely.
2. Digestive Issues
Our stomachs are super sensitive. In fact they are full of nerve receptors and are often called our second brain. If you are holding onto something that is causing you to feel anger, frustration, pain, betrayal, sadness. Or any other emotion. These can show up as symptoms of digestive discomfort.
Think of how you feel when you a nervous before an exam/interview/first date, and how that makes your stomach feel. Do you get ‘butterflies’, feel nauseous, are unable to eat or feel awful when you do eat? These are all reactions to emotional responses in your body.
3. Anxiety and/or panic attacks
It is not surprising that a build up of emotions in your body can lead to you feeling anxious or overwhelmed. When you bottle things up and just keep adding and adding stuff to that vessel eventually something has to give. Panic attacks are a way of your body expressing and releasing all that pent up emotion that’s stuck inside you.
Crying is also another of your body’s ways to release emotions. When your body feels something so overwhelming that it cannot be contained it will cry those emotions out instead. You releases hormones etc. in your tears. That’s why crying can feel so cathartic and cleansing.
4.Muscle pain and tension
When we are stressed or trying to contain and hold onto something we will often clench and tense up our bodies. This over a long period of time can lead to knotted muscles, stiffness and pain in our muscles.
5. Emotional outbursts – Depression, anger, sadness, frustration
As well as anxiety and panic attacks your body will often resort to releasing all that bottled up emotion and hurt in other ways. Spells of depression, or anger and lashing out for no reason, feeling aggressive or sad for no particular reason. These are all signs and symptoms of something more. Some underling cause that is bringing out an emotional response in your body.
These are just a few of the more common responses your body can have. But holding onto past hurts can show up in any number of ways. Or it may not show up at all. You might just be aware, as you start to unpack things and grow as a person, that there are some niggling doubts or the way you respond to certain things. Ways you respond to your present life that show you something is off… fixing these is why Forgiveness can help you heal. It means you can process your ‘now’, your present situations. Instead of reverting back to your past patterns. Which can cause more damage than good….
The more in tune you become with your body the more you will start to sense these things and begin to address them.
How to Heal Your Hurts
There is no ‘5 step formula’ or easy fix when it comes to trauma and past emotions. Often these are things that can take you years or months to come to terms with and start to release. Acknowledgement is the first big step.
Here are a few things that you can use as tools to help you on your path to forgiveness:
Talk to Someone
Whether a professional or an understanding and supportive friend/family member. Often just voicing how you are feeling and speaking things into existence clears them from your mind. Reduces their weight and significance and helps you put things into perspective or understand a little bit more.
Talking to a therapist for something a little more serious or deeply rooted is one of the best ways you can deal with significant trauma and get the support & guidance you need, and useful tools, to help you navigate through it all. There is no shame in needing to ask for help. Just bravery.
When we are distressed, shocked, scared. We forget to breathe properly. We can even hold our breathe. It has been said that ‘fear is just excitement without the breath’. Take deep breathes using your diaphragm and breathe into your stomach. Try a practice like yoga that helps merge your body with your breath.
Or try a breathe work class, meditation, or yoga breath work exercise.
Sit With the Emotions
Just sitting with your emotions next time they come up without the need to judge is another. Learn to do this instead of immediately reaching for your usual coping mechanism or numbing with food, alcohol, etc.
Accepting your emotions and how you are feeling without needing to give them a story or justify and judge them is also a big step. Let them wash over you, accept them, but you do not have to become them. Learn to let them wash over you like a wave.
Sometimes they will consume you. But always they will pass.
Journal or Write a Letter
Journalling is a good way of working through your Feelings. Things can often come out in journalling that you didn’t even know were there. Try free writing. Or if you are struggling with a place to start have a set of questions you ask yourself. ‘How am I feeling today?’ is a simple and easy question to begin.
You can also write a letter to your past self or the person that hurt you. Not to send of course. You can burn or rip up the letter once you have written it. But often getting to say your piece, what you wish you had said before, can help cleanse your system and reset your body.
Meditation is a beautiful practice to strengthen and quiet your mind. Not only is meditation calming and centering, allowing you to start and end the day with a quiet mind. But it has also been shown to improve memory, cognitive function, emotional stability and more.
Whilst in meditation it can be easier for you to ‘step outside’ of an emotion and see where it is coming from and look at it from a distance, and perhaps analyse and dissect it more rationally.
Letting go of your blame. Accepting change. Accepting what was and what happened and letting it go. Knowing that we all have faults, we are all only human and we can all make mistakes. Use kindness and compassion towards yourself and others.
There is no rush, take your time. One step at a time, you can peel away layers like an onion.
Gratitude’s & Living in the Present
Focusing on a gratitude practice can help you to find the beauty and happiness in each day. Thanking your body for protecting you. Being thankful to the Universe for setting you on the right path. Be thankful for the lessons then let the rest go.
A gratitude practice also helps you to stay focused in the present and what is going on around you instead of letting your mind wander and over-thinking on the past or worrying about the future. A mindfulness practice can also help you with this. If you would like to read more on creating a gratitude or mindful practice look at Everyday Mindfulness
As I have spoken about before essential oils can be healing for both your mind, body, and soul. There are a number of gentle essential oils that can help you with emotional trauma and the emotional aspects of dealing with and releasing.
The scent of oils can be processed by your brain and absorbed through your skin into your bloodstream. You can make a forgiveness oil blend to use when you fell you need some support: Mix Lavender, Vertiver, melissa, Rosewood, Sage, Frankincense and Sandalwood together with a carrier oil such as almond oil.
Use this to help release hurt and help the process of forgiveness.
Why Forgiveness Can Help You Heal
Why Forgiveness can help you heal? Working through Your Feelings. Releasing them. Giving your nervous system a conclusion to something it has been holding onto unfinished.
I hope as you’ve read through this post you have seen how negative emotions and feelings can be damaging to your health and found some simple steps to help you work through your own traumas and carried hurts. To process them and start to work through them.
Until next time,