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Reclaiming Your Energy: What's One Thing You Can Do to Lighten the Burden?

Updated: May 7


sun beams coming through tree tops
Photo Courtesy of Wonderlane on Unsplash

Forgive.


Yes, the answer is that easy and that hard. (Stick with me, I promise to offer a potential perspective shift as we explore forgiveness, together.)


Take a moment to consider that forgiveness isn’t about giving in or agreeing with someone that hurt you or a circumstance that was completely unfair.


Instead, what I’m proposing is how forgiveness can actually lighten the burden we consciously or subconsciously hold on our shoulders and in our being.


I invite you to think about a person or circumstance you haven't made peace with.


Go ahead take a moment and think. I’m doing the same right now, right along with you.

 

In thinking about that person and circumstance, what feelings come up?


For example, I’m thinking back to my junior high years (and even into my high school years). I was relentlessly bullied before the concept was collectively acknowledged. Day in and day out, I’d go to school knowing notes were being written and passed about me, untrue lies were being made up, glares and ill-intended laughter would be part of my experience moving from class to class. I didn’t know who would be my friend or my foe with each passing hour of the day.

 

When I think of that time, when I was so young, I still feel angry. I still feel sad and hurt and offended. I feel an ache for the deep intense pain I felt at an age where I didn’t have the resources or the tools to really guide me through the terrible and scary experience. Two full years of torture walking through those junior high doors. I don’t look back on that time with delight. Instead, even in this moment, it still feels horrible, unfair, and might I say – unforgivable.

 

black and white photo of human overlayed with many faces
Photo Courtesy of Camila Quintero Franco on Unsplash

How about you? What feelings come up for you when you think of the person or circumstance that you haven’t forgiven?

 

Remember as you answer these questions to acknowledge your feels with “I feel…” not “I am..” You are not your feelings. Your feelings are guide post and provide information about what you’re experiencing in the outside world.


Anger

Deep sadness

Hurt

Ache

Pain

Fear


These feelings and emotions are still with me today from that bullying experience. I somehow have not let go or forgiven those involved. I was 12 years old when the bullying began. So I’ve literally been holding on to this burden in my being for 31 years.


Why do I continue to let this impact my energy so many years later? 


Great question and I’m happy to be honest. Because I haven’t allowed myself the grace to forgive and release these draining feelings and emotions. While I have never spoken about this experience publicly nor do I really even address it in my inner circle, it still percolates. It still has some sort of power over me because I’ve chosen not to fully forgive what happened.


This past March I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the 2024 World Happiness Summit in London, England. It was a profound experience - not only for the opportunity to explore and revel in the culture and urban environment - but for all the time, energy, and wisdom brought together and shared on a global platform to support our societal wellbeing and happiness. As you can imagine, one of the most impactful speakers dedicated his talk (and his life’s work) to forgiveness and the implications on our happiness + wellbeing.

 

Dr Fred Luskin, Director of the Stanford Forgiveness Project, shared his definition of forgiveness that he has borrowed from a mother who lost her child to murder. He shared that: 

 "Forgiveness is giving up hope for changing the past."

 

Breathe.


Go ahead and read that definition again.


Let it sink in.

 

For me, the truth and the heaviness of that definition hurts a little bit – or maybe even a lot. Almost makes me feel embarrassed and foolish that all this time, I’ve been hoping that the bullying from my junior high and high school days would somehow change. Would somehow, not have happened or ever existed. I had this hope that those individuals that deeply hurt me would genuinely acknowledge it and one day apologize.

 

How has holding on to hope to change the past served me?


It’s served me with dreams from my subconscious about someone who’s not part of my current life. It’s continued to drain my energy, even just a little on day-to-day basis, by hoping to change something that’s unchangeable.

 

So, now what?

 

So now, I embrace that definition and maybe add to it.

Forgiveness is giving up hope for changing the past AND accepting that circumstance happened while knowing I don’t have to approve or agree with it. 

I accept that the bullying happened. I can’t change it. And honestly, the more I reflect I actually don’t want to change it because it’s an experience that has created who I am today and a driving factor in my work and purpose to create a world of truth. (I’m tearing up while I write this.) That anger. That sadness. That ache, pain, and fear. It wasn’t for nothing. It was, in fact, for good. It's in experiencing suffering that we do find more gratitude for joy.


Again, I accept that bullying happened. But let me be very clear, I do not approve of the bullying then nor the bullying tactics now. But I do accept and, yes, I do forgive that it happened and forgive those involved. (That was difficult. Took me a good 10-minutes to write and believe that last sentence.) 


That subconscious suffering I’ve been carrying in my heart and being all these years has had no effect on those that did the bullying. The lack of forgiveness has only burdened me. And now I get to take back my energy, my control, and my power. What a gift.


My invitation for you is to continue to consider...


What burden still holds tightly to your heart and being?


What are you still hoping to change in the past?


How might forgiveness relieve the pain and support you in reclaiming your energy?


Confidently know, you are not alone. We are all human and have a touch of unforgiveness in our hearts. And we are all invited to lift the burden. I’m here if you’d like to release together. 

 

And if you’d like to do some reflection on your own, take a look at this amazing 21-day forgiveness guide. It’s a power tool to lessen the load on our hearts and enable us to re-energize through forgiveness.


 

 


Julie Breckenfelder, The Alignment Coach
Julie Breckenfelder, The Alignment Coach

Julie Breckenfelder, The Alignment Coach, is a seasoned life and leadership coach. With a passion for helping others live a purpose-filled and impactful life, Julie supports her clients in understanding their values, their dreams, their barriers to success, and helps them to create a new path forward. Julie believes that mindfulness and positive intention are foundations for living the life you truly want. If you're ready to step into this next chapter of your life, Julie is here for you. Book your free strategy session today. 

 

 

 

 

 

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