“Forgiving someone doesn’t mean that their behavior was “OK”. What it does mean is that we’re ready to move on. To release the heavy weight. To shape our own life, on our terms, without any unnecessary burdens. Forgiveness is pure freedom – and forgiveness is a choice.” – Dr. Suzanne Gelb
You come to this world without any expectations. You don’t know what will happen. You are a little bundle of happiness, joy and excitement.
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They say, “The environment you grow up in is everything”. Especially at an early age when your beliefs are created and you are like a sponge that soaks in everything it can.
But sometimes life happens and your foundation can be shaken really badly.
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I don’t remember exactly the first time when I thought to myself that there is something not quite right in my family. I remember how I felt though.
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I was maybe 6 or 7 years old and I felt hopeless. I couldn’t simply understand why my mum and dad behave and act so differently all the sudden some evenings.
It wasn’t every day but it was happening often. Me and my sister would usually run away to our bedroom to hide. I remember music playing loud. I remember myself trying to fall asleep while they were talking really loudly or even better when they were “trying” to be quiet.
Older I was getting more I started to understand the situation and the family I was living in. I started to find ways to escape – like weekends at my aunties. I was crying my eyes out leaving her place on Sundays. All I was praying for was a quiet night. I tried to understand why they do it, but I couldn’t. I had this question in my head for years, “Why me?”.
The hate inside me started to build up. Older I was getting harder it became for me to handle these situations. Bottles, loud music, them talking, them passing out, them falling over and getting hurt, blood. Me and my sister helping them and cleaning up after them. I was so angry inside.
When I was 14 our mum got pregnant with our little brother and I still remember the feeling of “This will be the best year ever”. And it was as she wasn’t drinking. Soon after that my sister left for high school and I stayed at home alone. Me and my little brother. I was hoping that it will get better but then it all started again.
Many times I was lying in my bed crying my eyes out. Looking after my brother at the middle of the night and going to school the next day pretending like nothing happened.
Nobody would ever notice as at school I was this happy bunny making others laugh.
I wanted to be surrounded by happy and smiley people. I wanted to be one of them, to feel normal. School turned into this escape space for me where I felt safe and loved.
Sitting on a bed with a box of pills thinking to take my life away became my new normal. The idea of ending this “game” didn’t feel scary. It actually felt liberating. I didn’t know I was depressed. I had no idea that I felt constantly anxious. I wasn’t aware of any of these terms. I just knew I don’t feel right.
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I was angry and hurt inside. I would never talk about it with anyone as I didn’t want to be judged. I also wanted to protect my parents from people looking at them differently. What was really driving me crazy was knowing that my mum’s mum used to be an alcoholic. I couldn’t understand how she can act this way if she grew up in such a family or even worse.
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My parents were not alcoholics, but they liked to drink. At least that was what I kept telling myself.
I left home and moved abroad when I was 19. It was the first time I set myself free. I did it even though I felt guilty for leaving my brother alone. Since then I had no idea what was happening back at home but this “I hope he is okay” was with me on daily basis.
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If my mum would ring me and I could hear she had a drink I would hang up as quickly as I could. She could have a one drink I would know. I literally couldn’t stand to see her drunk or hear her drunk voice. I hated her for ruining my childhood. I don’t know why I didn’t mind my dad being drunk I always had a great relationship with him.
Obviously, growing up in such an environment messed me up on my own journey.
There was a part in my life when I thought it’s a great idea to solve my problems with alcohol. I did it because I wanted to be seen as a rebel. I wanted to be seen as this cool “nothing can ever hurt me” girl who is strong, because inside I was broken into pieces. I was going from one party to another until I realized “Hold on a second, what are you doing?”
I never talked about what I was going through and my lack of communication has always been a problem even in my relationships. I was craving for people to know and see that I’m not ok, I’m not fine but I was scared to open up, to be judged to be seen as weak. “Come on, people have real problems!” a phrase I had stuck in my head for years.
Even though all I wanted was to shout out loud how I was feeling, let the pain from my past to leave my body to find myself and be happy again.
Years of anxiety and depression brought me into a very dark space a few years back. I completely lost myself. I was getting sick all the time and I literally felt like my body is giving up on me. It was kind of a relief as I thought to myself “Maybe this is it”.
Then there was this one day when I started to watch all kinds of inspirational videos online and I realized that even though I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel right now I might be able to look for it inside me.
It’s been a journey. It took me months to put my life back together and live again. It was like learning to walk all over again.
Finding an inner piece by working on my mindset and understanding why I’m the way I’m was so freeing.
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I’m 27 years old now and only recently I managed to find compassion for my parents.
It’s always harder to forgive other people than ourselves. I personally believe that forgiveness is about being compassionate and understanding that we all take actions and steps based on our own path and none of us walked down the same path.
There is no point to judge or hate someone for what they did as there is no point to keep asking “How she/he could do this?” or “I wish I could understand why”. By doing this you are only giving your energy to the other person or a problem and keeping yourself stuck in the past and living in default mode.
It’s also not about letting go or overcoming the issue either. I’ve tried that and trust me it will eventually chase you down again.
If there is something inside you hurting or you have ever been hurt – you deserve to heal. I’ve found my way by building a loving relationship with myself. I truly believe self-awareness and self-compassion are the keys to forgiveness and living your life fully.
Do you still remember when you were little and you fell over and hurt your knees? Imagine you wouldn’t take care of it – it would get worse and it wouldn’t heal, right?
Look at your knees now. There might be a scar here and there, but it’s not an open wound anymore. The same way you can look at any pain you have been through or you are going through in your life right now.
Does it still hurt in any part of your body – your heart, brain or your gut?
Start building a loving relationship with yourself and allow yourself to heal – you deserve it my gorgeous friend.
Give yourself the time.
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About the Guest Contributor
Klara is a life coach for women entrepreneurs who suffer from anxiety. She’s a part-time vegan, yoga enthusiast and mental health advocate. She herself suffered from depression and anxiety on her own journey and she’s passionate about helping others to kick anxiety in a butt to step into their real and true identity to show up confidently and live their best life. Her motto is “We all are messed up, but that what is beautiful about us”. Her mission is to empower people to open up and stop bottling things up for themselves.