If you have been writing about the pain of your story, hopefully you have been feeling better just by getting the story out of you. Speaking the words of your story will lessen the grip it has on you. Now you are ready to repair the narrative that has kept you in bondage.
Repairing your damaged past is the next step in the process of writing your story. If a person stopped now, their story would only repeat the woundedness and create more pain---over and over again. When a person is hurt they often try to overcome it by trying to change the people who hurt them.
Many will attempt to:
1. Find new relationships that give them the things they didn’t get from their family of origin.
2. Attach themselves to people who remind them of those who had hurt them and then fix them as a way of vicariously repairing their damaged past.
3. Change people so they will finally receive what they need.
You will never receive the healing you need with the above methods.
The only way to rid oneself of a painful past is by forgiveness. Confronting the totality of our painful experience is the only way to gain mastery over the past. We repeat what we don’t repair. This repair process involves breaking the vicious cycle of repeating the thoughts of hurt, anger, resentment and bitterness.
Breaking this cycle involves 2 important steps:
1) Forgive your past. The pain of unforgiveness is much different than the pain of a wrongdoing. When someone does a hurtful thing, a person receives pain. But the ultimate pain of their heart will not be the wrong event, it will be a result of unforgiveness. Unforgiveness is a pain in and of itself produced by ineffective ways of dealing with a wrong. There is nothing a person can do about the wrong. It is what it is. It cannot be corrected, taken back, or returned; nothing can erase the wrong. The person will live an “out of control” life when trying to deal with the wrong with bitterness. The only way they can effectively deal with the wrong is to forgive it.
If you write about the forgiveness you need to grant, it can help you establish the momentum of living forward. Instead of writing about the painful events, the hurt feelings and the angry emotions, now begin writing about how forgiveness will give freedom, empathy and compassion. Write about the difference forgiveness would make in your life. Use examples of how forgiveness changed you in the past. People who hurt you in the past may very likely hurt you again, but when you forgive that person, you take control of the effect of that person’s poor behavior toward you. You are now choosing to live above resentment, bitterness and hatred. You are choosing empathy, peace and freedom. Now all of a sudden, your story has the power to liberate you from your past and free you to live in the present.
- Write about how forgiveness gives freedom
- Write about the difference forgiveness makes
- Write about being empathic, peaceful and compassionate
- Reference a forgiveness hero: a family member; Martin Luther King Jr. Corrie Ten Boom; Nelson Mandela; Louis Zamperini; Jesus Christ
- Write about how forgiveness has changed you
“Forgiveness has nothing to do with absolving a criminal of his crime. It has everything to do with relieving oneself of the burden of being a victim–letting go of the pain and transforming oneself from victim to survivor.” C.R. Strachan