For those of you who don’t know, I am a parent and a step-parent. My step-daughter is now in her 20s, my son is 10, and my daughter is 8. Being a psychologist, does not mean that my kids don’t fight and yesterday morning was a doozy! My son and daughter were at it like cats and dogs! At one point I heard my daughter say something to my son about an incident in which he had hurt her a year ago.
I stopped everything and turned to my daughter and asked her, “Have you forgiven Landon for that?” The answer was a quick “No!” and then Landon began to list all the things he had not forgiven Raelyn for. This was a total surprise to me because we talk about forgiveness and saying sorry constantly in our house and I have mistakenly thought that meant forgiveness was happening, but in that moment I knew somehow the boat had been missed. We spent the next hour talking about what happens when we choose not to forgive. I asked a lot of questions and they gave all the “right” answers:
When I don’t forgive, I feel angry inside.
If I hold onto anger, I don’t want to be nice to other people.
When I don’t forgive, I don’t want to do nice things for the other person.
If I hold onto anger, I try to get back at the other person and then they get back at me for getting back at them.
Sound familiar? We all get hurt in relationships. I have never met anyone who has not. We make mistakes as humans that hurt others…just a fact of life.
But what happens when we don’t forgive? When we don’t forgive people in our life we carry the hurt and anger with us. It may not always be visible but it is there, like a weight on our shoulders, a heaviness in our hearts, a poison in our bodies and minds.
When we are able to forgive we can release the heaviness and exchange it for feelings of peace and acceptance. We can heal ourselves and our relationships. More than anything forgiving others is a gift we can give ourselves, so when my son asked, “Mom, How do I forgive?” we began a whole other conversation.
Forgiveness can be hard…super hard! There are some hurts that may take years to fully forgive. It is a choice that can be made. You can image the person who hurt you standing in front of you. Feel the hurt and pain that person caused you, and then with no apology from them you can choose to forgive and let go. You can wish this person well.
If you feel yourself holding onto anger and pain and need help to release it, feel free to call our office at 720-583-9332. We would love to support you to healing.
Written By Dr. Steffanie Stecker
Dr. Steffanie Stecker a licensed psychologist and the owner and clinical director of Mountain Vista Psychology, PLLC.
In addition, she is a board certified neurotherapist (BCN E5669) and board certified in QEEG (QEEG-D). Less than 100 people world wide are board certified in QEEG, which indicates competency in reading QEEGs and choosing neurofeedback protocols. Dr. Stecker is passionate about brain based effective therapy and creating a safe relationship for her clients to create change. She loves what she gets to do each day!