I struggled with anxiety during a rough patch in my life. People very important to me caused me to lose trust in them, and in turn, I lost trust in myself.

I began dreading social situations. I was short fused and unfair to my closest people in my life. I did not feel like I could manage my moods. I felt like a ship drifting about with no control of whether the next wave would knock me over. The world was doing things TO me. I had no control over it.

Forgiveness was the gateway to get my health back. But I learned that forgiveness is not what I thought it was at all.

I struggle when I hold on to the pain and hurt–far after the cause of the pain left the scene. Anxiety comes from trying to control things we cannot control. I would beat myself up by replaying the wrongs and squeezing on to them rather than setting them free.

I wasn’t ready to forgive because I believed other people were wrong. It wasn’t okay that they said what they said. Did what they did. They should have huge regrets for how they acted. There should be consequences. Because otherwise where was the justice in this world?

The shift for me came when sitting in stillness and silence one day-my pathway to knowing what is true and real. I had always thought forgiveness was about the other person. About holding that person in a kinder light.

It can be about that. But whether I wish the other person goodness or karma, I don’t ever get to determine how they experience what they did and said. I can’t control how they feel about anything. Wishing and hoping they feel anything at all is futile.

What I can control is me. My physical discomfort and pain is made by me alone. My resentment. My anger. My anxiety. My choice.

All of that energy may never land for “them”, but it grows in me when I don’t let it go. It sucks the life out of me and prevents me from showing up.

To be well and happy, I had to forgive.

So that I can be free and strong and dream of brighter futures and bigger and better ways of being. So that I can invest all the people who lift me up and value my energy and love.

I can fully decide that I will consciously turn from fear to light. I will seek peace and serenity for my own self. That choice can set me free.

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Ready to get unstuck? Message me for a free consultation or email dana@coachingbydana.com

Written by Dr. Dana Mitra

I am a life coach at Coaching By Dana and tenured academic professor at Penn State.

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