How to Start Forgiving
Finding forgiveness with a mother wound isn’t easy – but it’s an important part of healing. Now, I know the thought of forgiving a mother who has done some truly unforgivable things might be a complete turn-off to you. And that is ok. Your feelings are valid. But stick with me. Allow me to plant a seed that you can water if and when you decide to. I spoke a lot about how I’ve been able to find strength in pain and gratitude in my negative experiences in my episode on Why You Need a Daily Gratitude Practice.
Mostly, I want you to know that forgiveness isn’t really for the other person. It’s for you. When we carry around anger, resentment, or disappointment – it’s only hurting us. The other person isn’t impacted by us carrying the weight of their issues. So what good is it doing to hold onto it in our lives? And in that same way, it certainly doesn’t benefit them to release it. But it does benefit us.
Bonus Resources for Finding Forgiveness with a Mother Wound
Prefer to listen? Find the podcast episode below for Healing the Mother Wound!
Allow me to introduce to you the ancient Hawaiian practice of forgiveness, called Ho’oponopono. This Hawaiian word comes from “ho’o”, which means “to make” and “pono”, which means “right”. The repetition of the word “pono” means to make “doubly right” – or making right with both self and others. This practice is used to heal ourselves, others, and our world.
Traditional Ho’oponopono consists of four main phrases: “I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.” This is meant to guide you through repentance, forgiveness, gratitude, and love. Repeating these words can help you face the negative feelings that are preventing you from healing. And is intended to walk you beyond those blockages.
Struggling to Forgive
It’s normal to resist some of these phrases, especially at first. I have struggled with each individual one (and sometimes all of them) when practicing. Keep the translation in mind and let that be your intention “to make right with yourself and others”. I’m a big believer that if you keep infusing that intention into your practice, you will be successful!
Seeing Your Mother in a New Role
Another incredibly impactful mindset shift that was necessary for my forgiveness journey was to take the role of “mother” away from your mother. Set aside all of the expectations that you have or had for her, your view of the mother you wished you had, and consider who she was outside of that. It’s too easy to look at our parents and see them as just that – parents. We forget that they had entire lives before us and without us even when we came along. They have faults, traumas, deep wounds, and challenging experiences.
Mothers who were unable to love, nurture, or care for their children in the ways that we deserved to have something deeper happening within themselves. They likely have a deep wound or trauma preventing them from being that loving, supportive, or present mother that you needed.
So, consider who she was – at her core. In her lived experience in this world. What was her life like as a child? Is it possible she did not receive enough love, attention, or support? How did she cope with stress? Did she drink? Or turn to drugs? Maybe her addiction was work. Did she shut herself away from the world or disappear altogether? Get angry? Or become very mean or critical of others?
Be Gentle With Yourself
Have a lot of grace for yourself. I wasn’t able to forgive my mother until after she passed away. That was challenging in its own way. She wasn’t there to answer any questions, to help me gain an understanding, or to have any closure from her. This made me realize that closure comes within us. We don’t need other people to offer us closure – we need to give it to ourselves and for ourselves.
When you are ready to get to this place… How can you find compassion for your mother? And how can you look at the challenges she faced and trust she did her best – even though it was never enough for you? This is not to say she’s absolved of all of her wrongdoings, the pain she’s inflicted on you, or any of the deep wounds that still ache from her. Understanding her does not mean justifying or excusing her behavior. Because we all know there are behaviors that are not justified or excused.
And know that these wounds don’t just disappear. Healing is not about removing all pain and trauma from our lives, it is finding a healthy way to coexist with these negative experiences we’ve had. It’s finding healthy ways of coping, accepting the situation, and not allowing it to hold you back from living your life wholeheartedly. Especially in moments when you are triggered or experiencing strong feelings surrounding your mother wound – because it’s bound to happen from time to time.
Continue The Mother Wound Series:
Click on any of the links below to continue or jump ahead. And don’t forget you can listen to the entire episode on the player above. Or through any podcast platform by searching for Root and Rise Podcast!
- What is The Mother Wound
- Types of Mother Wounds
- 11 Ways the Mother Wound Impacts Us
- The Mother Wound and Relationships
- Mother Wound and Generational Trauma
- Reparenting Yourself and Finding Your Inner Child
- Finding Forgiveness with a Mother Wound
- Resources for Healing the Mother Wound
- Journal Prompts for Healing the Mother Wound