Recently, I had a client who told me she forgave her mother but she still had some residual feelings that were gnawing at her every time she thought about their relationship. My client asked, “Does that mean I haven’t really forgiven her?” After thinking about the many years I’ve sat in my therapist chair listening to countless stories of pain and enlightenment, as well as my up-close and personal experiences with forgiveness, I’ve come to this conclusion. Forgiveness is a process. It begins in your mind and has a need to settle there for a while in order to give your brain a chance to accept and embrace what is to come. We know that forgiveness is mainly about healing yourself, especially your heart. When we release from another’s hold on us it really is freeing, and extremely empowering. When the mind ultimately believes in the truth of its forgiveness it begins to travel to the heart. I explained to my client that she is preparing to travel further into her forgiveness, but first we must work through some of those residual issues and release. Once released, we then do the inner work to fill those gaps that never got filled in childhood. It is never too late to learn to nurture yourself, but first you must truly let go of the resentments seething inside and realize your healing is solely (and soul-y) up to you now. Whether your parents did the best they could, or they didn’t, it’s time to let that go and give yourself a fresh start.
Once your mind assimilates into forgiveness and journeys to the heart, you will feel a peacefulness you haven’t felt before. Your soul smiles knowing that you have received the message of love that stands before you. All feels right in the world because all resentments have been lifted. You’ve let go and blown the heaviness of your burdens into the universe, reaching the completion of full forgiveness.
So when my client asks me if she hasn’t really forgiven because she still has some residual resentments, I simply look at her and say, “Your mind just hasn’t caught up with your heart yet.” And her soul smiles.