I’ve got work to do – Part 3

Monday, December 4th, 2017

Before reading this post, it will help to read Part 1 and Part 2 of “I’ve got work to do”.  I’d hate to confuse you anymore than necessary!

As I mentioned in Part 2, I received some feedback from my life coach as I was doing this forgiveness work.  She pointed out two areas that, for all intents and purposes, I missed.

Here are the two critical parts in my big release that I didn’t realize would be helpful to my healing –

Part One – I didn’t spend near the time and effort writing out why I felt hurt in these four five relationships (okay, seriously, I am feeling insecure that I might be coming across as super unhealthy given the number FIVE.  Oh well.  It’s my truth today.  The end).  I was advised to write out every single thing that hurt and to shush the “fairness police” peering over my shoulder telling me I’m too sensitive or too whatever.  Instead, by doing naming the hurts, we are choosing to value ourselves.

Part Two – In releasing others (aka forgiving them), it’s helpful to remember we are forgiving past hurts – not necessarily on-going hurts where there hasn’t been a chance to detach, get safe, and grieve.  As in, oftentimes, we must get some distance and perspective before forgiveness can take place.

Check out this excerpt from Boundaries

“Forgiveness has to do with the past.  Reconciliation and boundaries have to do with the future.  Limits guard my property until someone has repented and can be trusted to visit again.” (page 263)

Going a little further, something we can ask ourselves is this – What will I do differently next time? By asking this question, I’m able to actively figure out what I can do (not anyone else) in the future to help guard my heart in a healthy way.  Empowering.


So a couple of days later, I went back to the drawing board.  I listed out the hurts. I thought through and wrote down what I will do differently next time.  And let me just tell you – this was SO validating and healing for me.

Doing these extra couple of steps also helped me come to this realization – a lot of my “do differents” had more to do with boundaries and self-control than anything else!  (I literally pulled back out my boundaries book and have been flipping through it over the last couple of days.)  Again, empowering to figure out what I can do differently moving forward!

All that said, let me tell you ladies – I am under no such illusion that because I have released these five precious women from my heart – that I will never ever struggle with feeling bitter or resentful toward them.  I know this all too well from my forgiveness journey with Jason.

Jesus take the wheel!

What I DO have is greater peace.  Greater freedom.  My load is lighter because I have let them go.  I’m not spending near the amount of emotional energy thinking about the hurt!

If any of this is hitting home with you – I want you to know, you can do this too!  I’ve never met someone that needs help with forgiveness more than me!  So, whether it be forgiveness work related to betrayal or forgiveness work in a completely different relationship, there is freedom awaiting you!  Chances are, it won’t be glitzy or glamorous.  It will happen only with a LOT of effort on the front end followed by creating a quiet space to meet with Jesus and allow Him to work through you in a mighty and mystical way that we can’t explain.

One last thing, remember as I mentioned above, forgiveness requires a LOT of grieving and naming the hurt.  I used to think I could forgive in order to circumvent the grief process but I know differently today – grieving is a big part OF the forgiveness journey.

xo – Shelley

2 thoughts on “I’ve got work to do – Part 3

  1. Debra

    December 6, 2017  |  06:43 am

    Shelley-thank you so much for these. They have been so helpful. Since starting my recovery process I’ve been realizing how distorted my view of forgiveness has been. One of my favorite readings from Alanon’s Courage to Change (p. 289) says “The most loving form of detachment I have found has been forgiveness. Instead of thinking of it as an eraser to wipe another’s slate clean or a gavel I use to pronounce someone “not guilty” , I think of forgiveness as a scissors. I use it to cut the strings of resentment that bind me to a problem or past hurt. By releasing resentment, I set myself free…I needn’t tolerate what I consider unacceptable, but wallowing in self pity will not alter the situation. If there is action to be taken, I am free to take it…I am willing to love myself enough to admit that resentments hold me back, and then I can let them go.”

    Another misconception I had was that if I forgive, or let go of the hurt, that I can keep that relationship going. Hope for Today (p. 57) taught me that sometimes forgiveness (over one time misunderstandings or mistreatment) brings people closer together. Sometimes, if it is over a “persistent pattern of behavior I’m no longer willing to accept” it can point to an exit sign. But if I forgive before I leave I have no bitterness and am freer.

    I am so grateful you talked about the grief. I think when I am struggling to “forgive” -or really just accept who someone is and how they are likely to show up in my life- it’s partially because I am truly afraid of the grief on the other side of that door. Grieving my dream of how I wanted the relationship to be. For many reasons…not only because it’s a loss, but also because of my doubts about my ability to handle the loss with my family’s history of mental health struggles and my own. I love that you mention having benefitted from the perspective of a third person…your life coach. In the 12 step work we talk about sharing important things with G-d, yourself, and another human being. Because all three are important for guidance, connection, and healing.

    Thank you for another healing set of posts. love, debra

  2. SLM

    December 7, 2017  |  02:48 am

    I have a very difficult relationship with my father. I have forgiven him, but I will not have a relationship with him. Several “Christians” (especially in my Sunday school class) have told me that since I will not re-establish a relationship with him, then I have not really forgiven him. A relationship with him is emotionally unsafe. I love your reminder about forgiveness having to do with the past. Reconciliation and boundaries have to do with the future.

    Thank you for the work that you do. I have read the Boundaries book, but might need to brush up on it. I really have a rough time with boundaries.

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