So many times in life, we are unbearably hard on ourselves.
When a friend is struggling or going through a rough patch, we find sympathy, compassion, and love within ourselves and direct it towards our struggling friend.
When we see others with a broken past, one of betrayal, abuse, or suffering, we do what we can to ensure they feel safe and protected.
We give them a hug. We take them out for their favorite food. We listen to some music, smoke some weed, and laugh to the point of tears.
But when we feel that same pain within ourselves, we oftentimes run as far away from it as possible.
The minute a bad memory from childhood comes up, we distance ourselves from our own past. We feel shame, regret, misfortune, and pain.
Because it makes you feel exactly like the 12-year old kid who watched his parents go through a horrifying divorce. You feel like the same helpless child who lost a loved one. You feel like the same teenager holding back tears as you lie in your room feeling desolate and hopeless.
Most of us have moments from our past in which we have suffered tremendous pain.
For me, it was the long-drawn-out divorce of my parents
For others, it’s the death of someone they love, bullying, a break-up, losing
In times like this, when my mind reaches these dark, distant places, I remind myself something.
It’s not your fault.
You did not choose to be a helpless victim of the childhood you were given. You did not choose to suffer the events that were imposed on you.
Just like you couldn’t control most of the amazing, beautiful things that happened throughout your childhood, you couldn’t control the bad stuff either.
It’s not your fault that your parents got divorced, that you were abused, or bullied. It’s not your fault that life took your parent or sibling from you at an early age.
Yet, despite not being at fault for our suffering, so many of us carry it around with us as if we are the cause of our own pain.
For so long, I wondered why I had such a hard time trusting those around me. I felt angry that I could not change my past and frustrated that I had such a hard time being
The very attributes of myself that I used as a defense mechanism for childhood trauma were no longer protecting me from harm, they were creating it.
I held so much anger with me, for so long, that I forgot what it was like to be free of the shackles of hate and
It wasn’t until I truly forgave myself and my loved ones that I finally began to recover emotionally.
I made an effort to remind myself, each and every day, that I was not the cause of the pain I inflicted upon myself.
On top of that, I make an effort to forgive those who caused the pain, especially if it’s a someone close to you.
My mother, my father, and my sister all caused an enormous amount of pain for an 11-year old kid to handle. Despite this, I do my best to understand that they were experiencing pain, too, and that it was their suffering was no less painful or traumatic than mine.
For quite some time, I carried hatred and vengeance with me. I used it as a weapon, to motivate myself and drive myself.
After years of filling my heart with hatred, I was tired. I was exhausted by the motivations that drove my life and the foundations that built my own reality.
So I let go.
I forgave myself for the pain in suffering I had experienced as a child, and I forgave those who inflicted it upon me.
It doesn’t just go away.
Each and everyday I peel away more hatred, more disgust, and more pain.
But slowly, you began to love again.
Today, I have never been closer to my family, even those who caused me the most pain. I love and accept them for who they are, and do my best to forgive them for any pain they may have caused, and they do their best to forgive me for any pain I may have caused.
To anyone who struggles with a traumatic past: It’s not your fault. Forgive yourself, and do your best to forgive those around you for what happened. The weight of pain is unbearably heavy, while the strength that comes with love and acceptance can overcome anything.
You are not your past, nor are you the anger that dwells within your heart. You are the river of compassion, love, and acceptance, for yourself, and others, that flows deep within you.