Updated: Feb 15
This fall I went on a women’s retreat. It was an incredible chance to get away from the daily responsibilities of work and home and have some time just to work on me. I also got to meet like-minded business women and was inspired by them, learned, grew and healed. As the weekend came and went there was a gift that I was given and I am so excited to share it with you.
I know I have written some deep blogs before so here we go; the deep vulnerability is here for you again.
I share these parts of myself because part of my healing is sharing. Part of my strength comes from knowing that this pain ultimately heals me and that it might help someone else one day.
The Word I Needed to Embody
During the retreat we participated in a few meditations. I was sitting in one deep group meditation, working through some inner turmoils, and this word came and smacked me in the face.
This is a word that confused me at first. It sent me into a bit of a tail spin and once I realized its significance, it broke me down (in the best of ways) in less than a second. I was physically shaking and crying my eyes out. I'm a strong, accomplished, badass woman... and I still get teary-eyed just thinking about it.
When this happened, I could feel the eyes of the women in my group looking at me. They weren't looks of judgement, but it was their beautiful way of holding space for me. They had room in their hearts to hear my pain and for me to share the story that came after the word was spoken.
What was the word?
Had I truly forgiven the people that have really harmed me in my life? I was confused. This isn't the gift for me, is it? Isn't this a gift for someone else? I'm good. I've moved forward... haven't I?
And then, it came like a tsunami in my body and rushed all over me. It wasn't that I needed to forgive others. I hadn't fully forgiven myself.
I needed to forgive myself for the “bad” choices I've made, the ones that lead me down the path of unhealthy relationships, destructive behaviors, and struggle. The word struggle tugs at me. I was still so deeply disappointed in my younger self for not “figuring things out” quicker. I was still experience intense mom guilt from my choices, the feminist guilt of my mistakes... all of it.
The realization that there was a part of me that still beat my old self up. over and over was completely overwhelming and unexpected.
How I Healed
I cried so hard and I let myself feel it. Then, something so beautiful happened. Instead of remembering the “mistakes” I made, I thought about younger Bethany. I thought about the beautiful parts of me. I thought about how loving I was, innocent in a way. I thought about how I was capable of loving so deeply and purely. I was playful and fun, I loved animals and I loved being outside. Instead of the beaten down and broken Bethany, I remembered the the young playful energetic women I was. I love that Bethany.
I had grace for myself, forgiveness for myself, understanding for the choices that were made.
I realized that I could love my younger self and appreciate her. I can keep the parts of her that aline with my true self- the women I am becoming. I realized in that moment that I didn't have to completely forget her, hate her, or have anger towards her anymore.
It was full circle moment for me.
How to Move Forward in Forgiveness and Grace
As I meet people who are extremely successful from the outside looking in, I find that a lot of us need to truly have grace and forgiveness for ourselves. You can grow and change and still have love for your former self and appreciate the innocence or other attributes that you enjoyed about yourself. Not all of it was bad.
To truly let go of the pain and guilt that we have, due to mistakes we feel we've made in the past, it'll deepen our love and value for ourselves. Not only that, it'll deepen our ability to love others again.
What does it tell others if the mistakes we made we continually punish ourselves for? That we expect perfection and that we value it over our own worth.
You deserve to treat yourself better. To love yourself and value yourself at a higher level now, today, and every day in the future.
Have grace, understanding, forgiveness and kindness for the young person you were. That person believed, dreamed and enjoyed life.
Remember, those are all things you still are and still deserve to be.
As I moved through this forgiveness for myself I have now in turn learned to trust myself again. To listen to my internal compass and to live freely. I remember who I am, I trust who I am, I understand myself and have grace, forgiveness and understanding as I move forward.