Have you ever been hurt by someone you trusted? Have you ever been lied to, cheated on, or let down? Have you ever had someone you depended on turn their back on you? It hurts doesn’t it? Today I want to share my experiences in hopes to lead you down the path of healing – something I wish someone had helped me do years ago.
I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I learned that someone I had trusted had started a rumor about me. I remember the sinking feeling, and the cloudy mind I had as I tried to make sense of it. Why would they do that to me? What did I do to them? They know what I am going through… They’ve seen what I am up against. The feeling of shock settled into my soul and for days I felt numb… overwhelmed with feelings of confusion and denial. I felt so alone! Who was I supposed to trust now??
After a few days, those feelings turned to anger. How could they do this to me? Who do they think they are? My better sense of judgement restrained me from calling them and spewing my many angry thoughts and feelings through the phone. I am so glad it did. This was the first lesson I learned from all of this. Just because they hurt you doesn’t mean you return the favor.
As the anger began to die down, I began to feel responsible for the situation. I should have been a better friend… I should have called more often. Maybe if I had tried harder they wouldn’t have done it. Maybe if I apologize for upsetting them, they’ll take it back. These feelings were not healthy to my self esteem or my confidence. I began second guessing everything I did. Every interaction I had with someone else. Eventually I came to a place where I knew that no matter what I had done, that rumor could have been started and it wasn’t my fault that it had been started.
It had been a couple months since I had spoken to the offender. I’m on social media… I can see that their life was going on. They were happy, laughing, hanging out with friends and family. They weren’t struggling with feelings of defeat or hurt. They had moved on. So why couldn’t I?
It was then that I realized I needed to move on. I needed to find closure. I needed to let go. I needed to forgive.
I learned some very important things through my journey of forgiveness.
- Forgiving someone doesn’t mean that you are saying what they did was okay.
- Forgiving doesn’t mean you have to put yourself back into that situation. (Bite me once, shame on you, but bite me twice, shame on me!)
- Forgiveness doesn’t mean things will go back to normal, nor does it mean that the relationship doesn’t need some work to function properly again.
- Forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to include them in your life anymore.
- And most importantly…. Forgiveness is not something you do for the other person. It’s something you do for you.
The journey of forgiveness is not easy and it didn’t happen over night. But there were some steps I took that helped me through it.
- Take a step back and look at the situation. What parts made you upset or angry? Acknowledge that it happened, and accept your feelings toward the situation, don’t fight them.
- Think about what you learned. Trials are usually followed with growth – where did you grow? What did you learn about yourself, your needs and your boundaries? Boundaries where such a big thing for me. Although that person will forever be a part of my life in a small way, I know I can set boundaries which ensure I won’t be put into that same situation again.
- Decide if you want the other person to know you have forgiven them. For my situation I knew that the individual did not feel they were wrong. They had said so. So telling them that I forgave them would have started another issue, rather then acting as a sign of closure. But every situation is different, so if you feel it will help the situation, then that is what you should do!
Nichole is the founder of Defying Shadows, a Social Media Marketing Manager, student, daughter and friend. She’s working on her Marketing Diploma and has a Certificate of Christian Theology. She is an avid coffee lover who enjoys a good movie or book. She takes great joy in organizing, scheduling, and volunteering. Her passion for volunteerism extends specifically to those who are hurting, whether it is emotionally, physically, or mentally.
Nichole is certified to provide Mental Health First Aid, which means she can provide immediate support and guidance in a safe environment, comfortably have a conversation about mental health related issues and offer professional and other supports. This does NOT make Nichole a psychologist, or a counselor. It simply gives her the tools to direct people to the help they need.