• Kate

Denial: A very long river

Updated: Oct 23, 2019

Not an ideal internal landscape. SnapStock image from Pixabay.

Let's be very clear about something: I do not have all my shit together and I definitely do not have all my ducks in a row. What I do have is complete awareness of this fact. I recently restarted my Holistic Counselling course after deferring for 12 months and I am picking up old assessment tasks, and it turns out they're all the ones that I deemed too confronting and put aside. One that's currently on my desk is about forgiveness and it involves a mirror, a list, tissues, and complete honesty. I just know there will be ugly crying and some painstakingly honest truths coming up and that doesn't scare me. All except one. Have you ever had to forgive someone whom you love with all your heart and soul? The hardest thing about that is admitting there is something there that requires forgiveness. Even those we love the fiercest and know would never hurt us can be a cause of pain and in this instance it involves me admitting that yes, pain is there, unintentionally present. Living in denial is something I excel at and I learned this early in life. I am excellent at playing happy families or the "no I'm fine" game. So much so that I can be torn to shreds inside with my heart ripped in two, shattered and decimated on the floor and those around me will never know. It was a survival technique because if people didn't know then I could pretend I was fine when really that was far from true. The problem with living in denial is that nothing changes and you become numb. People around you continue to treat you as they always have, you attract the same situations, you are emotionally void and disconnected; eventually merely existing rather than living because denial equals pain-free. I've talked about swinging pendulums before, when we live in denial there is no swing at all. We feel nothing, we believe nothing, we live in a dull bed of apathy. We tell ourselves that everything is "fine". In my case, there were consequences to actions taken that resulted in a lot of hurt and I've always said, "it's okay, you did nothing wrong and you have no forgiveness to seek from me"; I really believed this but I've come to realise that this was me denying that those actions caused me pain because there is no way that person with so much love for me would ever, and I mean ever, hurt me. What I need to do is admit that I was hurt, by someone who extremely and unconditionally loves me, and that I have to forgive the actions taken and the pain caused. The person to whom this pertains knows there is no resentment held but I have to admit it happened. Forgiveness is a curious beast. We think forgiveness is about others and their actions. It isn't. Forgiveness is about us. A better way to describe it would be to say forgiveness is admitting. We get taught that things like pain, suffering, hurt, anger, and sadness are bad feelings. They aren't - they are indicators of a deep unsettling in our energy. They create ripples in our field and show us where we need to calm by showing care for our energetic waters (unless you want to go internally white water rafting - you can take my word for it, that's not as much fun as it sounds). When we admit that someone or a situation hurt us we have stepped onto the forgiveness path, what comes now is letting all that tension and pent up emotion have free and unrestricted expression, usually via a damn good cry or an adult tantrum.

Forgiveness is not blame. You cannot forgive and blame a situation or person for the circumstances. A good rule of thumb is asking if we are a victim of our experience, if we are then we are living in blame. Forgiveness is ownership and until we fully and completely own how we are feeling, and our role in it, then we cannot truly forgive.

So here I am, taking ownership and accepting and building up the courage to ugly cry in front of a mirror in the name of forgiveness.

Do you have a case of traveling the waters of Denial? I urge you to write yourself a list of all the people you have hurt and have hurt you and work at accepting, owning, and forgiving each and every one.

We deserve to live freely and happily, forgiveness is one of the ways there.

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