Forgiveness -of others and ourselves- can be a deeply meaningful journey, and I'm here to share a compelling story that also has to do with mindfulness. While forgiveness may not be the trendiest topic, as it carries the weight of shame and guilt, what if we could approach the new year (or any time of the year, actually) with a clean slate? Let's go back in time ⏳ so I can tell you a bit of my own 'victim' story.
I was not living, just surviving
I was a woman in my 30s, working in the banking industry plus studying a part-time Masters in Finance in Peru. As you can imagine, it was A LOT! But I didn't see that at the time. I was used to 'doing' and not 'being', and I didn't know anything about mindfulness at the time. Therefore I was physically exhausted. In parallel, my personal life was a bit of a mess. I have to confess that my heart was broken, and felt emotionally drained. In a nutshell: 'I was not living, just surviving.'
Talking about forgiveness can be really uncomfortable; forgiveness, after all, exposes our vulnerability, a side we're hesitant to reveal to others, especially in the workplace or even on LinkedIn, so I'm taking a big risk here. There's a certain stigma attached, we don't want to appear weak, especially while navigating work-related challenges. Yet, our personal and professional lives are intricately linked. I dedicated myself to work, excelling in my career, but the relentless pursuit of professional success came at the cost of neglecting my well-being.
Behind the professional mask
Work became my refuge, a place where I thrived and succeeded to some extent. Yet, buried beneath the achievements was a lack of work/life balance. I coped by sweeping pain and suffering under the rug, convinced that therapy sessions with a psychologist were enough. The truth was that they were not working at all.
In the pursuit of maintaining an image of strength and self-confidence, I inadvertently overlooked the need of facing my problems and healing from within. The journey towards a calmer and more meaningful life required a great transformation and commitment from my part. The first one was attending regularly to Mindfulness classes to create the habit of becoming aware of what actually was going with my mind, heart and body. The second one, Radical Forgiveness to free myself from some old grudges that weren't letting me move forward in my personal life.
Can we truly forgive?
Of course we can! But not in the traditional way. Radical Forgiveness proposes transcending the victim archetype, often assumed when we are faced with challenging situations. By fully immersing ourselves in our story from the 'victim's point of view,' we initiate a powerful shift in perspective, analysing our limiting beliefs, enabling us to transform our understanding of our lives going forward.
And the best part is that this involves personal work, connecting with feelings of love, gratitude and compassion. So you don't have to involve anyone else but yourself. You don't even need to 'grant' forgiveness to anyone. But know two things: Radical Forgiveness is not condoning or minimising what happened to you, and every action has a consequence, especially in the material world. Radical Forgiveness proposes that nothing 'wrong' happened to you, that there's actually a lesson to be learnt from a spiritual standpoint, and it contributed to your inner growth.
I have a confession to make. Back then, any word related to spirituality made my eye twitch. I was a fairly sceptical person, and as my heart had been broken countless times, I had lost faith. But honestly I had nothing to lose, and the 'Radical Forgiveness' book told us sceptics that we could 'fake it until we made it.' I followed all the steps, and worked with all the tools. So I faked at the beginning, and when I least expected it... it worked!
Mindfulness is key to Radical Forgiveness
What would you think if I told you that there's a methodology that proposes letting go of the guilt, shame, blame, sadness, anger, and all those uncomfortable feelings related to our 'victim' stories? Well, that's Radical Forgiveness! A five-stage process that allows us to see our life experiences from a different perspective. But first, there's some work that needs to be done, and that's where practising Mindfulness really comes in handy!
Mindfulness is the awareness that arises by paying attention to whatever is going on in the present moment -both inside and outside of us- with non-judgement, kindness and compassion.
So, for Radical Forgiveness purposes, mindfulness allows to be in the present moment while we are telling our 'victim's story', even if it occurred many years ago or five minutes ago, and feeling the feelings without pushing them away. It also helps us become aware of our core limiting beliefs, which is the previous step before the actual transformation begins.
As I explored Mindfulness and Radical Forgiveness, my 'victim' story underwent a profound transformation: It started losing its strength and left room for a new story, a more positive and loving one. The synergy of these two approaches offers a powerful methodology to release the burdens of guilt, shame, and blame.
Now, I invite you to join me on this transformative journey. Trust me, it's worth the effort. And if forgiveness feels challenging to you, I'm here to guide you through the tools of Radical Forgiveness.
Embrace the opportunity to start the new year with a clean slate, free from the constraints of your past. Ready to unlock the doors to a life with more freedom, and calm? If you have any doubts or questions about this process, you can leave them in the comments section below, or you can click here.
Want to know a bit more about Radical Forgiveness? Visit my page here. Or if you want to book a 30-minute Discovery coaching session, you can do it below.