This were words I lived by on my early twenties and time and experience have taught me not to take them literally. Though this words allowed me to have many stories, experiences and opportunities to learn and grow from, there are also things I wish I could go back and change. Many choices that were poor in judgement and from which I didn't learn but grew in pain.
I'm sure you have them too. Well, we're going to get a ride on the not-so-pleasant memory lane today because we'll use them to grow from them. Finally some good use to those bad memories!
**NOTE: As you may have noticed before in various posts here, there's a lot of spirituality in understanding one's self. I personally am Christian and so my examples come from my spiritual practices but I invite you to adjust it to YOUR spiritual practices.
We often hear about forgiveness as the start of a spiritual path. The first thing that comes to mind is forgiving those who hurt us; that's actually easier than you think: when you forgive yourself FIRST. But forgiving oneself is easier said than done because when we begin our spiritual journey, we start in a state of spiritual ignorance, so there are many things we don't understand as deep as we need to. Growth comes from building the path of our journey with teeth and nails but with the conviction of coming out of it as better people, equipping ourselves on the go. One of the heaviest rocks we need to remove is guilt.
In Christianity it is common knowledge that when you accept Jesus in your heart, all your sins are forgiven thanks to His sacrifice on the cross and the power of God's Grace. Yet, though we expect this to happen as a magical spell in which the weight of our sins is lifted off our shoulders, we find that the guilt is still there. Why? Is it that He didn't forgive me? He absolutely did, but we are the ones holding tight to that weight.
The reason why our guilt of the sins we committed is still there is because we haven't forgiven ourselves.
Just as we are our worst critics when we see our bodies in front of the mirror, we are also are strongest condemners when it comes to things we have done in the past that we regret. If we don't let go of those anchors, we won't be able to move forward and we're going to have a lot of difficulties forgiving those who hurt us as well. But how do we do that?
Life has taught me that everything happens for a reason. Everything, absolutely EVERYTHING is a piece of the puzzle that gives meaning to each of our lives. We can never understand why things happen when they happen but when we overcome the different seasons of hardship we endure through it, or better said, when we get out of the hole/tunnel, those things make absolute sense. They make us stronger, wiser, humble, but more importantly, they connect us, through understanding, to other people who have gone through similar challenges as well. When this happens, we understand others better, and the reasons why they did what they did. We judge less and understand more.
When we understand, we love. When we love, we forgive. When we forgive, we grow spiritually- We become better humans.
So, I invite you to look back at all those things that hurt in the past and present. Make a list if you need to have them in writing. I challenge you to make a "Life Map". Connect the dots. Find the connection of these experiences with who you are now. How did they shape you? Think of choice situations; what would have happened if I made a different choice? Where would I be?
For example: My experience with my first job in Canada as a Live-in Caregiver was bad; I was humiliated constantly and living in fear. When I was close to meeting the time criteria to apply for my permanent residence, I was laid off (6 months short!). Being in a constant negative environment for 18 months without my family here to aid me brought me to depression. I had to go to counselling and deal with all the changes at the same time. With the help of friends I was able to find a job very quickly as a live-in caregiver to finish the time I needed. This second job was the best thing that happened to me; not only was the family kind but their trust in me and the love they gave me help to heal me. At this point, I saw my first experience as a blessing in disguise. Why? Because if I hadn't gone through such an awful experience, I wouldn't have appreciate the new family the way I did. It put me in the shoes of many immigrants trying to make their dreams come true and believing in a better life when going back is not an option. It made me understand people who live with depression every day; I know how it feels. I learned to put my pride aside and ask for help and many other things that would make this a very long post. I was angry with myself for a long time because I felt I allowed all that to happen but I understood it wasn't something I chose, it was something I needed to go through to humble me and connect more with not only myself but many others in many different levels. The experience was used to make me a better version of myself and every little thing and every person involved played a huge part on it.
What would have happened if I had chosen to give up and just go back to my country? I wouldn't have met my husband, my amazing son wouldn't exist, I would be struggling with finding a job in a third world country so my family could survive each month, I wouldn't be able to be a photographer or help my family in the way I wanted and I would definitely not be here right now sending light your way to help you and guide you to overcome your own challenges and grow the amazing beauty that resides inside you and it's waiting to shine out.
Yes. Absolutely everything happens for a reason but this understanding and healing begins with forgiving yourself first. The weight WILL be lift off if you let go of it. Do you receive that?