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Why forgiveness is key for transitions

I’ve met a lot of angry and hurt people in my life and many of them have been expats and travelers who chose to walk away from something or someone that was causing them more harm than good at the time. Being a pretty emotional and expressive person myself, my friends and family can assure you that sometimes this loud, angry person used to be me. The problem with being angry, hurt and upset is that these are all consuming emotions that take up a lot of space, time and energy. Leaving you less time to feel good and focus on other things. Or finding a solution to the problem or challenge that frustrates you.

If you know what I’m talking about, read on because this week’s blog post is for you. In my own experience (and what I’ve experienced with my clients) the key to feeling better is not to suppress, blame others and/or run away. It’s to stop spending energy on anger or hurt and to find a way to forgive. It sounds so simple, but yet to forgive something that was hurtful is almost impossible for some people. So let’s dive straight in there.

Forgiveness it not something you do for others, it’s something you do for yourself. It does not mean that what happened was OK or that the person is invited back into your life. But you can still choose forgive and move on.

What I’ve found though is that forgiveness (or the challenge to forgive) revolves around 3 key areas:

  1. Look for the learning/feedback. If you don’t learn, address the issue and evolve from it, it will keep happening again. 100% guaranteed. Don’t expect people to change (even if that would be easier in terms of blame), but choose to learn from the crappy thing that just happened so that YOU can manage it differently in the future.
  2. Forgiving others. As much as we’d like to, we can change other people, make them feel sorry or understand that what they did was hurtful to us. Sometimes not even the most evolved communication can make someone realise what they’ve done. So allow yourself to forgive them. For YOU, not for them. Allow yourself to move on and decide now (or later on) if you want them back in your life at some point in the future. No-one has the right to cross your boundaries, but you can still forgive them so that you are able to move on.
  3. Forgiving yourself. For the hurtful things you might have done to yourself or others. For the things you might have accepted in the past that now seem silly, unreal or stupid. This is sometimes the hardest forgiveness of them all. Because we always do the best we can with what we know in any given situation. You can’t undo it anyway, so learn from it, forgive yourself and move on.

Sometimes my clients struggle with step 2 and 3, and then it can be very helpful to write a forgiveness letter to yourself and/or the person that wronged you. If you write a letter to someone else you can choose yourself if you want to show/send it to them or if you’d rather destroy it or throw it out. The act of writing is a very constructive way of processing what happened, get it out of your head and realise that you can choose what you want to do with it from here.

Life transitions (big moves as well as other changes) can be blurred, delayed or altogether blocked by things from our past that we can’t let go of or forgive. So allow that to happen right now. It does not mean it wasn’t bad, but it means that you have learnt from it, released it and are ready to embrace the next thing instead. Now wouldn’t that be pretty awesome!

If you struggle with forgiveness (whether you’re an expat or not) I’d welcome you to get in touch and we can work through it together in a confidential coaching space. There is no need to stay stuck and to unpack the event with a coach is a faster way to forgiveness and beyond.