Shortly after I entered the fascinating world of Natural Healing, I got my first lesson in the dynamics of the mind-body-spirit connection. I was working with a client who was intent on eliminating her stubborn back pain. At that point she had been “holding on” to it for close to ten years.

She had been a high school principal in the inner city for 15 years when a couple of rowdy students started horsing around on the staircase as she was approaching. She was roughly pushed, and then tumbled down the stairs. Luckily, she got up with minor bruises, but slowly realized that she had retained a painful souvenir: A chronic back ache.  Acupuncturists and chiropractors had the pain under control – but it never disappeared completely. In fact it flared up randomly, without any medical explanation.

As we dug into the messages that her body was sending her, I asked her, “Melissa, when you say, ‘I forgive those boys’, what number is that?” In Emotional Freedom Technique we assess the intensity of an issue, whether physical or emotional, with numbers. Ten is the most intense and zero means the problem is gone. Melissa replied, “I can’t believe it – it’s still an eight!”

After that breakthrough we were able to engineer forgiveness, and unblock Melissa’s inborn ability to heal. And, yes, her back pain disappeared!

Forgiveness is certainly not a novel concept for us. Yet so many people can’t seem to get to first base with forgiving! They try so hard, but at the end of the day still can’t reach the finish line.  Partially it’s because of all the confusion regarding the deeper meaning of forgiveness.

Let’s start by clarifying what forgiveness isn’t:

  • Forgiveness is not about minimizing any pain or turmoil that you went through. You can honor the pain; just use it as a stepping stone for growth. Like one of my clients said, “I used to think that if I forgave them, I’m just a doormat! But now I realize that it doesn’t take anything away from me.”
  • Forgiveness also does not mean justifying anyone. You can forgive because it’s time for you to heal!
  • Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you must continue a toxic relationship. If your friend is constantly betraying you, you can forgive and move on.
  • Forgiveness doesn’t equal amnesia. It’s ok to keep the memory – but, amazingly, it will be minus the pain!

Here are two examples of situations that seem to require super-human effort to forgive: Mother Abandonment and Betrayal.

Can “Mother Abandonment” be forgiven?

I’ve worked with many women who were the victims of “Mother Abandonment.” Their mothers may have been physically present, but were emotionally cold, distant or excruciatingly critical. The souls of these wonderful, sensitive women were crushed under the weight of being, in essence, motherless. As they matured, they not only faced the world with a shattered self-esteem, but held onto heavy slabs of bitterness, shame and resentment.

Can something as horrific as mother abandonment be forgiven? Well, before we decide, let’s look at the flipside. Let’s focus on all the ailments, physical and emotional, that erupt in women who hold on to this level of pain: Migraines, fibromyalgia, backaches, IBS, and panic attacks are unfortunately par for the course. And the list can boast of quite a few life-threatening conditions, as well.

While it’s never easy to justify an abusive mother, here’s a partial cleansing process that I take my clients through:

  1. Can you visualize the possibility of forgiving her?
  2. Did she seem to be in pain or turmoil while you were growing up?
  3. Do you know anything about her background?

Many times a client will tell me that her mother definitely was a victim of her circumstances and of her clueless or impaired parents. It suddenly dawns on her that her mother had mighty few resources to deal with her growing family. Suddenly little bursts of compassion and rays of forgiveness begin to blossom.

Can betrayal be forgiven?

A client is fleeced by a business partner. Somebody’s “best friend” for the past 20 years suddenly treats her like a stranger. A fiancé jumps ship a week before the wedding. A relative reveals secrets that sabotage a career. The list goes on and on….

Here are some questions that lead to a partial cleansing process:

  1. In what way did you grow emotionally and spiritually as a result of this painful episode?
  2. What has improved in your life as a direct result of the betrayal? (Some truly fascinating answers point to new ventures, relationships and paths that would never have evolved, if not for the betrayal!)
  3. What crucial knowledge did you learn through this painful experience that you never knew before?

Again, we’re not in the “justification business”, we’re simply doing whatever it takes to facilitate healing through forgiveness!

How can we empower ourselves to forgive? Here’s an eye-opening quote from the late, great Wayne Dyer, the famous Motivational Speaker & author:

“….Your life is like a play with several acts. Some of the characters who enter have short roles to play, others much larger. Some are villains & others are good guys. But all of them are necessary….Embrace them all, and move on to the next act.” 

Those who internalize this quote, and make it their mantra, will never have a bad day in their lives! It certainly makes perfect sense to study it and implement its message, but how easy is it to actually incorporate its message into your day to day life?

We know that everything that happens to us, down to the minutest detail, is supposed to happen.  This helps us take responsibility for our life: “Everything in my life is there for a reason. I accept it all.”  Absorbing this belief (without blaming yourself) will automatically enable you to forgive!

Forgiveness and Self-Discovery

Forgiveness is also an outstanding opportunity for self-discovery! As you focus on the hurt and pain, take a deeper look inward. Why was it so painful? Why were you so vulnerable? How did you change since then? Looking forward, how can you be more in control of your emotions? Soon you’ll not only be ready to forgive, but eager to thank them for facilitating your spectacular growth!

It’s extremely helpful to realize that people were often doing the best they could, with the limited resources that they had. This thought alone can clear away the emotional clutter that was collecting layers of resentment for years.

By the way, the absolutely most effective way to break through forgiveness barriers is by tapping them away! Yes, EFT – Emotional Freedom Technique – creates those subtle mindset shifts that make forgiveness a natural part of your healing process. No more agonizing uphill battles. No more searing pain. Just pure, simple cleansing through forgiveness.

Let it all evaporate through forgiveness!

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