When I was in high school the latest fad was optical illusion posters. You know, the ones that would induce projectile vomiting if you stared too long after drinking too much water (ahem) at the weekend bonfire. I would get in competition with myself, staring at that thing for far too long, probably projecting my ass into some other astral plane, and wouldn't look away until I could indeed, see the illusion. I didn't realize it at the time (because who would), but that poster was pretty foretelling of how I would spend my adult married life.
When we met, it was intense and borderline addictive. I liken it to getting the latest version of whatever appliance you've been patiently waiting for. Your current appliance is boring, or you don't have the appliance at all, and then the angels sing and heaven parts, dropping in your lap this shiny new bundle of happiness. I was wined, I was dined, I was charmed. He was interesting, educated, secure in his career, made me smile, supported my aspirations, and it was uncanny how many things we had in common. Most importantly, my parents liked him.
It was a formulated illusion.
The tides started turning shortly after our engagement and the entire mask came off after we said our vows. Looking back now that I'm out of the fog, I can see the manipulations, the silence as punishment, and the covert mind control. I was the quintessential perfect victim; intelligent, witty, and not a mean bone in my body. It is for these reasons I had the hardest time in my healing in getting over the last hurdle to freedom: forgiving myself.
For a long time after I decided to save my soul instead of letting it be killed off by someone with no regards to the value of a person, I grappled with forgiving my husband and what was done to me. Eventually I was able to forgive him and thus moved on to the final stage of my healing, forgiving me.
Most of my self-forgiveness struggle was based upon my stubbornness and ego. Why should you forgive yourself, Cake? You didn't do anything wrong. You didn't ask for this. I'll be damned if I have anything to forgive myself about. See that awesome ego not letting me forget I am perfect? Heh.
I was caught in this spiral, not wanting to or believing that I needed to forgive myself, while also not understanding why I felt so stuck. It was in one of my glorious nighttime sob sessions on my floor that my favorite inner therapist set me straight. I had to forgive myself even if I didn't quite understand what I was forgiving or I would remain half submerged in this quicksand called pain. To reach a place of serenity I had to acknowledge and face the resentment, pain, self-loathing, and ego head on; all of those super awesome shadows that live inside of us. I won't lie and say it's a party, in fact, it will make you question everything you've ever believed, but it is the only way to obtaining true peace and put you at the top of that neverending mountain you're still climbing to heal.
We all possess energy, positive and negative, and it is this negative energy that will suck the life out of you and fester like a beast if one continues to believe they are deserving of pain, that they are unlovable, or that they aren't worthy of being forgiven. What happens when you continue to falsely believe all of these things is that you perpetually remain off-balance and in a victim mind-frame. You start projecting those beliefs not only onto yourself but onto those that enter your world. I think this is where that saying "if you believe something enough, it comes true" fits in nicely. As long as you are carrying around this negative energy you are linked to your past and like a snowball rolling down a mountain, the pain, the resentment, and the bitterness grows and grows over the years until it becomes so overwhelming it knocks you off of your feet and into a lifetime of being rancorous. You'll be the cat lady all of those red pillers warn you about, wondering why no one calls you anymore and what you're going to do now that you've watched every show on Netflix at least a dozen times each and have run out of Cheetos to eat; forever cursing all of the happy people that weren't victims like you.
You don't want that kind of a life, right? Although, Cheetos don't sound half-bad right now.....
What does it look like when you start forgiving yourself other than an exact replica of what an absolute shit show looks like? It looks like a healing shit show full of acknowledging your feelings and I mean really feeling those feels (no men, this doesn't automatically take-away your man card) and learning how to deal with these emotions in healthy ways.
I started journaling to get those feelings out in a way that I could return to them if needed as reflections and to make sense of the millions of thoughts scattered throughout my mind. This along with meditation seemed to have worked for me but others have turned to fitness, art, new hobbies, etc. that will then catapult the mind, body, and soul into transforming negative into positive. My journals, along with the meditation, have been pivotal in my healing and in being able to get over that last hurdle of self-forgiveness because they have shifted my mindset back into being centered after I've let myself embrace the emotions surging through me and they have allowed me to keep in perspective that I am human, first and foremost. I am human and I am allowed to make mistakes, not recognize red flags, fall in love with the wrong person, etc. All of these things do not define who I was or who I am. When you make peace with the understanding that you are the only person in control of your thoughts, actions, and reactions to whatever pain someone else has caused you, you can finally halt the division in your mind that keeps you a prisoner of the past, hindering growth and the potential to live a very meaningful life.
Forgiving yourself takes the control you've given to false beliefs and puts it back into your hands. You can stop inflicting yourself with punishment by reliving the hurt, the shame, the merry-go-round of what-if's, and the abuse you put your own mind through by holding onto a skewed logic that you are unforgivable.
Step away from the illusion and pull yourself out of the quicksand of unworthiness. Align yourself with the universe and reap the benefits of the positive energy from understanding you're human and need to forgive yourself. You're worth it. We all are.