“St Francis of Assisi once wrote the following prayer, which I like very much. The Missionaries of Charity pray it every day.”
Make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred let me sow love. where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. Lord may I not want to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. Because it is giving that we receive, and in pardoning that we are pardoned.
There are times when a person hurts us. It may be in subtle ways, such as a friend who has promised to go somewhere with you then doesn’t show up. It may be a much more painful experience such as being sexually, emotionally, or physically abused. Usually they cause many different emotions. With the subtle hurts, the feelings of being hurt, sad, and angry this don’t usually last long depending upon how you handle them. With more severe hurts such as abuse the feelings are much stronger and you might even think that whatever happened is your fault and there can be a feeling of shame and self-hate.
Much depends upon how you cope with it. Smaller hurts may fester within you and you may decide never talk to the person the again. You may decide you never want to see them again. That would be unfortunate. You would feel bitterness towards that person, but it would be you who actually suffers. You might be to talk to the person and ask them if you misunderstood the day and time you were to meet. If there wasn’t a misunderstanding you could ask why they were unable to be there. If they say there was a death on the family or something major then you could tell them know how sorry you were. You realize they were dealing with the crisis, and that you understand why they couldn’t call. If they forgot or just decided they didn’t want to go, you could tell them how you waited and your feelings about it. Not in a judgmental but in an honest manner. If they are apologetic and seem to really understand your hurt you it will be easier to forgive them. It is not easy to forgive if they thought it was trivial.
Abuse can take a long time to arrive at the point of forgiving. Generally it takes the assistance of a counselor. There are so many emotions to explore and work through. You proceed through many stages until you come to a point where you can forgive, but it is important to do this. Other wise, anger and bitterness can invade your life and you will be unable to find the peace you need and deserve.
Does that mean you condone what they did or forget it? Of course not. It does mean that you realize they must have had miserable lives and you are not going to let this affect the rest of your life.
Jesus and prayer can be a big pat of the healing process. Take your feelings and thoughts to Jesus in prayer. For a while you may even be angry at Jesus. That is acceptable. Jesus can take it. Just don’t let it proceed for to long. Some people have a small ritual wherein they give all their pain and anger to Jesus They may imagine giving the small child inside them to Jesus to hold and love. There are many ways to endeavor getting through the deep hurts you have experienced.
Forgiveness gives you the freedom to love yourself (in a healthy way) love God, and love others. You don’t need tot have a heavy load on your back. A whole book could be written about forgiveness (which I am going to write), but for now hopefully this gives you some starting points which might be helpful.
Think about the people who have hurt you. Do you still carry resentments and anger? How can you proceed to heal yourself? Remember the feelings are OK; in fact they are essential that you recognize them before healing becomes possible. Counseling can be very helpful in working through your emotions and prayer is an important component. Don’t let the pain of the hurtful experience be with you for your entire life. The peace and freedom you feel when you forgive is worth all the work it encompasses.