Forgiving your Parents: the Road to Sainthood

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One of the most basic things I’ve found to be true in the work that I do is that every single person has been hurt by someone in their lives. Even people who look amazing and appear to have it all together have been hurt in ways that affect them on really deep and profound levels. Forgiveness is the only way to release the burden of the pain, because to forgive means to release and to forget, to liberate yourself from the cords, the wounds, and the history of that undesirable interchange of energies.

That said, forgiveness is really, really hard to master. Forgiveness takes lots and lots of time, energy, patience, and extreme self-love.

Forgiving your parents is perhaps one of the most difficult types of forgiveness to master. Many people have been incredibly wounded and hurt by the people who created them. They come to see me in sessions and just weep, because their pain is so unfathomable. I’ve met people whose fathers just didn’t care about them, who skipped out on child support, who were cruel and abusive, or just not there. I’ve met many others whose mothers didn’t give them the love that they needed, who were also abusive, critical, distant, or not there at all. These wounded souls are desperate to resolve their pain, and in so many instances it’s pointless to try and get the parent to change, because they’re just never going to. In some cases, they’ve died, so it’s even more painful for the child. Since the parent can’t or won’t change, the only thing that is possible for the person to do to heal is to forgive. And we’re talking Mother Theresa level forgiveness here – the type of forgiveness that only a Saint could dole out. How is that even possible for a kid to do, to forgive the very person that forced him or her into this world, only to turn around and stab them in the heart?

If you feel like you need to work on forgiveness of one or both of your parents, one of the most powerful ways is to begin is to imagine them as a child, to see and understand them as an innocent, fresh, un-scarred, whole person. To do this effectively, it’s important to relax and get into a meditative state. Then, conjure up an image of your parent as a child. Imagine what his or her life was like. Notice how others treat this child. What were this child’s parents like? Friends? Family? Imagine you’re having a conversation with this child, and tell him or her that you’re their future child, and that you forgive them for everything they’ve done to you, and that you release them from their karmic bond with you. Give him or her a hug and a kiss, and imagine God or Creator or a beautiful Angel of Mercy coming down to heal both of you and surround you with love. Surround yourself and your parent with white light, and then release him or her into the light. The venerable Louise Hay originated this meditation, and it is incredibly effective.

Another powerful technique to help kick-start this movement (because forgiveness on this level IS a movement, it’s not a one-time, “wham bam thank you ma’am I forgive you and we’re done” type of thing) is to write down what your parent(s) did to you, to rationalize why, and then to write “I forgive you.” Even if you don’t mean it at first, you’ll get there. Even if you write “I forgive you because you’re an a*hole monster who was a drunk and a child molestor burn in hell motherf*cker” at first, that’s a start. It will get better. Do this exercise weekly, and over time, your anger will start to subside. Follow this with a list of all the reasons why you’re loveable and wonderful, and why you love yourself – this part is imperative.

You must, in this process, give yourself double, triple, even quadruple the love that you would like to have received from your parent or parents. In releasing and forgiving them, you must take over and become your own parent, the one you wish you’d always had. Think of this as a new endeavor, and start planning for yourself all of the wonderful things you’ll do for you, the treats you’ll give yourself, the love, the joy, the opportunities. It’s time to start anew. You’ll be a better parent to yourself than yours were to you.