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3 Key Benefits to Forgiving and Why I Thanked My Imperfect Parents

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Trigger Warning: This post mentions physical abuse and may trigger in some people.

“Forgiveness is not always easy. Forgiving someone who has hurt you can be more painful than the hurt. Still, there is no peace without forgiveness.” ~ Marianne Williamson

The topic of forgiveness comes up a lot in conversation, but when it comes to the details of what it really requires, what that process feels like isn’t really addressed.

Over the years, when the topic of forgiving someone came up in discussion, I’ve most often heard people say things like:

1. “What they did was wrong! I can never forgive them.”

2. “They have not gotten my forgiveness. There is no reason for me to forgive them.”

3. “Oh, I’ve already forgiven them and let them go. We haven’t spoken, so I didn’t tell them. Why should I reach out first?”

In 2006, I attended a long weekend workshop with the late Dr. Lee Gibson. “Forgiveness is the erasure of a debt someone thinks they owe you.

i was blown away.

yes! I was beginning to understand why it was so hard to forgive my parents. I was stuck in the exact same mindset: “Why should I do it?”, “They were clearly wrong!”, “They didn’t get it!”

At the age of 19, I was attacked late one night by my furious and out of control father. Because I felt like he was trying to kill me. My little brother eventually pulled him away from me and kept him away until we all calmed down.

I was so scared that I couldn’t sleep for three nights. I also told myself this was the last time I would allow this to happen. I started packing from that night and moved out in 3 days. For the next ten years, her parents and I had no relationship because her mother sided with her father.

Lee’s workshop, with a group of just six people attending that long weekend, dived into the theme of family dysfunction and forgiveness. It immediately hit my core problem.

I fought him for about 40 minutes (as someone in the same class later told me), but it felt like 10 minutes to me.

I asked him about fairness and justice, and why should I be the bigger person here when they are the parents? How do you feel now?

He then proposed an even more bizarre concept. It was about thanking those who wronged us for everything they did right.

I was a little more excited, but somehow I wanted to hear more. I had to.

I honestly don’t remember all the deep wisdom he shared about why. All I remember is that if we were open and brave enough to try, change would happen within us.

No way, I thought. I never have. It doesn’t happen. Forgiving is one thing, but thanking them was so much more than I ever thought possible.

A week into the workshop, I was still boiled down to all this. But my adventurous spirit wanted me to know how it would feel if my parents put aside everything they did wrong and thanked them for everything they did right.

I started making a list of things I thought they did right. For example, overcoming the challenges of being a first-generation immigrant, working day and night, putting food on the table and a roof over your head.

After careful consideration, I made an unexpected move with my heart pounding and trembling voice. One night, out of the blue, I called her parents to do this “social experiment.” I went through my list and thanked them for everything they did right without mentioning anything they did wrong. I acknowledged that

I tried not to expect anything, but part of me wanted them to apologize for what they did wrong, but they didn’t. Afterwards, I felt surprisingly okay.

I was proud to have done it. I felt big. I feel more grown up. I felt more empowered to become a bigger person. It was my first taste of offering compassion and gratitude from a place of empowerment rather than martyrdom.

I definitely went through a shift.

It probably took me another five years to fully understand and let go of the night of the assault and everything I thought they could have done better. It was the first step in feeling like an adult instead of a helpless child in front of me. Being able to pat my parents on the back put me on the same level.

I no longer expect them to treat me in a certain way, to give me the attention I felt I needed, or to make up for what they did wrong. I felt I was in a position to see it for what it was — other humans are also dealing with their own suffering.

As I get older, I continue to know my parents as human beings, not just as parents.

I gradually removed them from the role of parent and treated them like any other adult. Once I knew their limits, I started establishing boundaries with them and respecting their boundaries as well. increase.

As an adult, I was well aware that it was my choice to have a relationship with my parents or not. And if I choose, I will also be involved in what kind of relationship we have. bottom.

At some point in my life, I realized that forgiving really benefits myself. Here’s why:

good closure

The best endings are always amicable. How many relationships leave you abandoned, confused, heartbroken, and questioning your self-esteem? These types of endings often left you with no choice. But what if you could actively choose a better way to end a relationship with someone? (Or start a new relationship with them, just like my parents did.)

It’s a two-way street, but we control our side. This will allow you to move on to a better future relationship and the next chapter of your life without feeling guilty or attached. Bonds with others formed by anger, guilt, or resentment are energetic constraints on our own hearts and souls.

personal growth and transformation

Whenever we cling to the victim mentality, we keep ourselves small. When we refuse to forgive, we are wronged and cling to the fact that we are victims of that scenario. It is difficult to grow beyond that mindset when we hold onto what hurts us and hold onto what we feel has wronged us.

While we may not feel that way right now (I know it’s been a struggle for a long time), the first step to feeling empowered is recognizing that we are in a position to forgive. Just like giving thanks, giving forgiveness comes from a higher place. A place where we have the knowledge that we are in a leadership position to forgive and break the cages we have built for ourselves.

freedom of the soul

In a way we are helping their hearts and souls move forward. It may sound clichéd, but in the last hours the only thing we think about is how much we have given, loved and lived.

I want to be free from such pain. And if in the process you can free others from such pain, it will truly be a win-win on a soul level.

Forgiveness does more than free us from being permanently bound to those we feel have wronged us. It also frees them from the debt we feel they owe us, a karmic bond that I don’t want to cling to. Only then can we all breathe a deep sigh of relief as we are free to move on to what our souls are waiting for next.

I sent my father a care package last year with a card attached, wishing him happiness and health, telling him that he was loved and forgiven.

**I’m not saying you should thank your abuser. I personally found this helpful and healing, but everyone should make their own choice based on what is best for them.

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