A couple of  readers asked about forgiveness and how to continue on when you’ve been really hurt and put yourself out there again. How do you just forgive when you really don’t fucking feel like it and what do you do when people are telling you “you just need forgive”…yeah right, easier said than done.

This topic really hits close to home for me. From parents, to friends, to lovers, to myself and every other face in-between that has “hurt” me, I have had multiple occasions to fuse myself to the alleged “wrongdoing” and have a sleepover with self-pity which turned to anger, that sometimes upgraded to rage, which led for wanting to seek revenge, which then turned to guilt. Then the cycle would repeat itself all over again, sometimes, maybe not for a few months or even years. But then a piece of the story would surface, I’d start feeling really sorry for myself and bam…I’d be curled up in my robe, in the corner of my couch with snot everywhere.

I will never forget the last phone call I had with my ex…I was angry and I was not holding back on anything I said to him. I told him exactly how I felt, what I thought about him as a person and how deeply I wished that I could have him alone for 5 minutes because I needed him to physically feel the pain he put me through. His response, “Mercedes, don’t go there. That’s not you.  Don’t let my mistakes steal the goodness inside of you.” It angered me even more. I know the words I said cut deep, and that his response was just another carefully calculated group of words to manipulate my emotions because he couldn’t deal with the reality. I spouted off a very colorful “fuck you, don’t you dare tell me what to do” and I hung up. Though I felt as if his words were just another lie, there was cold, hard truth to them.

In that moment, it felt damn good to verbally hurl my anger, sorrow, disappointment and all the other terrible things I felt inside. Did that “good” feeling last? Nope. I knew I had betrayed myself. Instead of “being the bigger person” as they say, I got down on his level, looked him in the eye and pretty much took my tit for his tat. I ended up feeling worse about myself, thus starting the cycle all over again. I wasn’t really “Standing up for myself and making it known I’m not one to be fucked with” or “Loving myself enough to take recourse against someone who has wronged me” or “Shifting the energy so he’d really feel how bad he hurt me and how horrible of a person he is.” (All things I told myself to justify) It wasn’t any of those things. Because, I shifted the energy and stood up for myself and loved myself enough when I chose to no longer be in the relationship.

It didn’t stop there…Forgiveness, I’ve found, is a moment-by-moment, conscious decision to choose to love yourself first. You don’t make a sweeping hand motion and breathily pray to God “I forgive this person” and then your filled with an abundance of forgiveness practically bursting out of your little heart for all eternity.

Hell to the no. Why?

1. It’s really fucking hard to do –  No shit, it’s really hard to forgive someone who cheated on you, or abandoned you or abused you physically, emotionally, mentally or sexually or spread a rumor about you or betrayed your friendship or didn’t stick up for you when they should have or disrespected you. Or countless other things that cause us pain, sorrow and anger. But with time and more self-awareness and more willingness to just admit “Yeah, I’m fucking angry and THIS is why”, we start to own our emotions and decide whether we want to continue commiserating with them or if we want to say “Hey anger, you are making me feel extremely unattractive and depleted…I need to do something about it” and not buy ad space on I-55 and announce to the city that so and so has x and x STDs. But rather, recognize the anger and let it transcend into understanding of why YOU are so freaking angry and then move forward from there.

2. That’s why you gotta practice it – You don’t refrain from playing your favorite sport just because there’s a chance you’ll lose. It’s like the mentality that’s ideal for love to blossom and deepen: Just because there’s a chance that it won’t turn out favorably or last forever, doesn’t mean we don’t do it anyways. That’s how you get better at anything…you have to practice. You’re gonna strike out a lot. Trust me. When you’ve held onto hurt and all that dark crap that covers your heart, it can be really tough to let go of it. But until we start, that pain will still resonate deeply and control us.

3.Remember, no one is walking the same path as you – They haven’t been exactly where you’ve been and you’re only doing the best with what you have. Someone forgiving the person who raped them can feel the exact same as someone forgiving their parent for making them feel inadequate when they were a child. You cannot tell someone your pain is more intense or justified than theirs. And the amount of time it takes you to forgive and for someone else to forgive will be different. We are all  on different courses, working with different energies. You also cannot tell yourself you don’t have a right to feel your pain when so many people have it worse than you. That’s nonsense.  Pain is pain. If someone is telling you that you just need to forgive already, they are most likely projecting their own inability to forgive onto you or if they are the person that needs to be forgiven, they are just trying to emotionally bully you.

4. How you react or move forward, no matter the circumstances, is all on you – One of my favorite quotes reads, “You  are responsible for how you act, no matter how you feel.” How wonderfully powerful. We can choose to not be victims of our circumstances. You do NOT have to be casualties to the things that knock you down in life.You do not have to keep re-telling your stories of “woe is me” and “all men are lying, cheating assholes” and “I was abandoned, therefore I am un-loveable and will always be abandoned” or “why bother, I just keep on getting hurt” or “I don’t trust easily, so you’re gonna have to hop through every fucking hoop in the book before I don’t look at you like all those other people who betrayed me”.

Okay Mercedes, this all well and good but what do you do in the moments that you just can’t. Don’t you have a little trick that you do because we know you’re not perfect and you’re only teaching us the things that you yourself are learning?

Duuuuuuh. When I’m stuck and can’t quite forgive I un-tense my shoulders, take a deep breath and say, “I send you light and love.” It may take me 5 minutes to talk myself into even uttering those words to someone/something that is making my life, for the moment, so seemingly incredibly miserable, but when I say it…I feel better. And if I don’t feel better as soon as I say it, I say it again. About 13 chants into it, the energy has changed and I feel better.