Experiencing pain, heartbreak or loss can leave us in a grieving process where we are confronted with feelings that can be draining to deal with in order to come out on the other side. With this is mind, I’m going to be writing a series of articles on the process of forgiveness - whether it is ourselves we need to forgive, or another. I will be walking through the steps with you to overcome what can be a hard and soul bearing experience. Forgiveness is sometimes seen as a ‘weakness’ or allowing the other person involved to ‘win’, when in actuality, it is your key to releasing the pain and hurt that you feel. Practicing forgiveness is not about forgetting, nor is it believing that what happened was okay. It’s about releasing the experiences that you have had and allowing the lessons and courage that you have learnt to be built upon in order for you to move forward. As the Dalai Lama says: “forgiveness is the sign of strength”. When on the road to forgiveness, we are usually very vulnerable as we walk. We often experience pain and heartache like an open wound that is there for all to see, and the person who has hurt us as our biggest weakness, the person who has power over our emotions, our sensitivities and our own inadequacies. Pause for a second, and look at your vulnerability from a different angle. Pain and sadness are a response that your body has to experiencing the process of grieving. Try viewing the sadness as just that – sadness - it is a feeling that will come, be experienced, and go. When you attach your story to the sadness, you are allowing your past or future to affect your present state. Instead, allow yourself to experience what your body is releasing and be mindful by letting it pass through you without judgement or attaching further narratives to it. When you are ready to assess and truly develop from your experience, find a safe place, and allow yourself to enter your wound. Allow the experience that hurt you and the pain you felt to surround you. Sit with this feeling and then begin to clean it out. This is where holding space for yourself is vital. Allow your pain and sadness to flow out, and feel it within your body from its roots in your heart, mind and soul. Experience your vulnerability, your feelings, and your raw emotion. In this space, ask yourself: what have I learned from this experience and what has it gifted to me as a result? You may find that this reveals insight into who you became in that experience, what you need that you weren’t receiving, or what you aren’t prepared to accept in your space in the future. Whatever the experience of sitting with these feelings may throw up for you, investigate what you have learned and take these lessons on, let them be the seeds of guidance that you plant in your wound in order to heal it. You are cleaning the wound out with this process and preparing yourself to move forward, allowing yourself to realise these experiences by focusing away from what you perceived these experiences to be, and instead converting them into what you can take away. This is where we can truly grow and get back to living. Forgiveness may take some time as grieving is rarely processed overnight, but with these tools, we begin down the path to recovery and growth. Remember that every antidote is made from a bit of the original poison that wounded you to begin with.