The Art of Forgiveness**
Before you start this read, I want you to know that this one is a bit personal. I remind myself that I created this space for it be safe and judgment free.
If we're going to be responsible for our own healing ,we first need to take note of when it's time to let something go. For me, my forgiveness is first to myself for allowing unwarranted verbal and emotional abuse from a man, well a boy, who probably doesn't know what love looks like. Staying in a trauma bond long enough was slowly draining the life out of me, and for that, I owe myself the strongest apology. Imagine being with someone romantically, thinking that they were specially made for you. Then you look up 2 years later and they have beat you down with their words to the point where yourself esteem was on the basement floor. Now imagine having a child with them. Well that was me. I say "was" purposely. I am no longer the Kalei that couldn't look in them mirror because she hated her reflection. I am no longer the girl that was holding on to a boy for dear life because I didn't want to take the chance to live without him. No longer binding my lively hood to a person who's words were lethal and detrimental for my mental health. I learned that as a mother, I didn't want my child to feel those things while sitting in my womb. And while these days alone may seem long, I feel better and stronger knowing that I can wake up with a fresh new mindset, and a forgiving heart. The forgiveness cycle is similar to how we grieve. There's rage, denial, some sort of depression, and finally acceptance. While I finally got myself out of a toxic situationship, I was now angry at him for treating me such a way, and mad at myself for staying in it as long as I did. And even mad at the world for some reason, to this day I can't explain. And of course the denial stage, which then allowed myself to go back and test the waters knowing they were still dirty. Not really comprehending that 2 to 3 weeks would completely change someone, and that all my hurt and trauma could be washed away without any proper healing. And we all know what happens after that. Now here we are, almost 4 years later and I'm still not 100% but I think thats okay because I'm still doing the work today. And no matter how well put together someone may seem to be, no one is ever completely perfect. Now, the acceptance. And let me be clear, I'm just now reaching this, 4 years after the trauma. It's no overnight battle, nor a program that we can go away to for 68 weeks and come back healed. At almost 25 years of life, I'm realizing that sometimes it takes me a while to realize that something bad has happened to me, BUT it is not the end all be all. Trouble does not last always. There is no room for doubling back, nor complacency in our lives. In order for progression, I know that eventually I will have to let go. And when I say let go, I'm not only speaking of the emotions that haunt me from the toxic situations I allowed myself to stay in longer than necessary, but also of the people and the ideas that we had of them. I'm not just speaking about our romantic relations, friends and family members are not exempt. I have the bad habit of replying past scenarios in my head, trying to change how a person wronged me. Trying to change how they violated my trust and forcing myself to see the "good" in them that they haven't exposed me to. And what sense does that make? While they've gone on to continue living their lives with no regard of mine, I'm laying in my bed still thinking about allowing them back in my life. Letting go will eventually make room for progression, happiness, love, and most importantly, PEACE. The main take away from all of this is, I had to learn that in the forgiving cycle, I had to not take things personal. People hurt us because they are going through their own trauma and the hardships that life has slapped on their backs, which causes them take out their hurt and anger on us, the people that least expect it. When I emotionally separated myself from him, things became more transparent than ever. My advice is this, if you find yourself needing to detach from a traumatic experience, no matter from whom, what or where, take SEVERAL steps back. Matter of fact, get in the car and drive a few hundred miles away to be safe. Do some self reflecting, take some accountability and maybe even have a glass or two of understanding. Because we all have our fare share of hardships, but its our job to make sure we come out on top. With Love, Kalei Marie
**Sourced from For My Girls Chicago