Forgiving is not forgetting, it’s letting go of the hurt.
Mary McLeod Bethune
What is forgiveness?
Forgiveness is choosing to no longer be burdened by emotions that weigh you down.
Forgiveness opens the heart and allows possibilities to be born.
Forgiveness is seeing yourself differently, seeing the other person differently, and seeing the world differently.
Forgiveness is voluntary. No one can make you forgive. Only you can search inside of yourself and find that part of you which holds compassion and love.
Forgiveness is not easy for some people. For others, it is virtually impossible. Forgiveness can feel like a dirty word. Why the hell should you forgive someone that hurt you?
I wasn’t so sure that forgiving a person who caused me pain would make me feel better. I decided to try it, and I forgave someone from my childhood who had bullied me. I basically said to myself, “I forgive her.”
I didn’t feel any better.
The fact was, I said, ‘I forgive her’, but it didn’t come from my heart. Also, I was not ready to forgive her, and I wasn’t sure forgiveness needed to be part of my healing journey. The more I thought about it, the more I was confused.
Is forgiving essential if I want to have a happy life?
Is forgiveness really that important?
So, off I went to explore forgiveness through research and literature (because I am a total nerd), and I finally came to a powerful conclusion.
Forgiving myself was the first, and the most important, thing to do.
The most important person you need to forgive is yourself. You will never be at peace if you do not forgive yourself.
What do I mean by that?
Let us look at childhood as an example of forgiveness…
As children, we put our parents on pedestals. They had god-like qualities, and their influence on us was dramatic. If you were ill-treated, you had to adapt. If you were abused, it was part of your life. You had to choose to survive, which meant changing who you were, taking on roles and following rules. Perhaps you didn’t like who you became, but there wasn’t much choice.
When you explore your primal emotions around your parents, shame can come up. Shame about not being good enough. Yet you were born pure. You were innocent. You had to respond in whatever way you needed to survive. So, why the self-hatred? Why call yourself names inside your head? Perhaps because, on some level, you blame yourself.
Forgiving yourself for the way you chose to survive is the first step in forgiveness. You cannot forgive anybody else until you have learned to love and respect yourself. If that takes years, then forgiveness will take years. Forgiving others is not the priority, loving yourself is. I would not even consider forgiving anybody who hurt you until you feel safe, strong and secure inside. Do not even try and heal before you have healthy boundaries, self-love and, most importantly, self-respect.
So lets look at Tarot and how it can help us heal and forgive ourselves…
So lets look at Tarot and how it can help us heal ourselves…
FORGIVING YOURSELF RITUAL
What you will need:
Two Tarot Decks
Pen / Colored Pencils
Write down a list of things that you do not like about yourself.
It can be physical, mental, emotional. Keep writing until everything is out on paper. The list may be fairly short or it could be incredibly long. It all depends on how much shame we hold inside of ourselves. You might not like your body shape, your face, your hair, your reaction to your neighbor, your hormones, your anger, your bank account etc.
Now look through the list and find the top 5 things that you do not like about yourself.
Write them as a list on a separate piece of paper. Throw your original list away. (There are only so many things you can deal with at a time!).
Now I want you to get a colored piece of paper or card and write on each one something you do not like about yourself from your short list.
Use whatever Tarot deck speak to you and go through the cards until you find the 5 cards that represent the closest the 5 things that you do not like about yourself.
For example if you do not like the currant financial situation you are in then you might pick the 5 of Pentacles. Another example is feeling lonely and you might pick the 8 of Cups.
There is no right and wrong cards in this exercise.
Now lay those 5 cards out in front of you. Take a hard look at them. They may be Major or Minor Arcana cards but each one represents something you do not like about yourself.
Get your other Tarot deck and shuffle them well. (if you do not have another Tarot deck then write what the 5 cards were and return them to the deck and shuffle well). Now ask yourself the following FOUR questions about each of the 5 cards you picked…
1) Why do I not like this aspect of myself (the answer might not be as obvious as you think)?
2) If I can change this aspect, how can I change it?
3) If I cannot change this aspect, how can I deal with it?
4) What is the impact of continuing to hate this thing?
The Tarot most likely will give you the source of your dislike and the impact it has on you energetically to not let it go.
The next step is to heal yourself, your shame and create space for self love.
That is an article for next week….For now, work with the five cards you have and the four questions for each cards. Write your discoveries in your journal. Next week we will look at how to heal the shame that binds you from accepting yourself as you are.