TTC*: How do you forgive someone who has hurt you? If you’ve been ttc for a while it’s possible that you’ve felt emotions of anger, frustration and blame at times, and thoughts of forgiveness can feel very far removed from where you are now. If this is you, know you are not alone.
Anger towards others
Maybe you have someone in your life that has let you down or not supported you as you felt they should. My coaching client Ginny told me how she felt after her younger sister shared her unplanned pregnancy announcement on Facebook. ‘When I read her news I literally felt that my heart was going to burst out of my chest it was beating so hard. It was hard to take a breath. She knows that we’ve been trying to get pregnant for years and I couldn’t believe she hadn’t called to let me know first so I could be prepared’. Friends and family can be a very real source of frustration and resentment. Those people that we want and need to be on our side while we’re struggling can sometimes be the biggest cause of our distress.
Anger towards yourself
Perhaps the focus of your frustration or anger isn’t towards friends and family, it’s towards yourself. I remember clearly feeling that my body had let me down when I need it the most. When I speak to others I hear frustration around things like knowing you had fertility issues but not doing anything about it. Regret of putting work before starting a family. Partying to hard in your youth…and list goes on and on. Most of us are pretty good at focusing on where we feel we went wrong.
Whether you feel this negativity towards yourself or others, the real question is how do you get out of this negative headspace and start to move forward with kindness and compassion?
How to forgive
I believe that forgiveness is the key, but forgiveness can be hard. If someone has hurt you it’s easy to want to hold onto that anger. It can feel justified, even righteous. But here’s the thing. This holding on doesn’t help. It doesn’t help you feel calm. It doesn’t help you find peace and it certainly doesn’t help your fertility journey. If you don’t forgive and release the frustration that you feel, it’s not going to happen. It all starts with you. Try these 3 stages to start this process of forgiveness:
1. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you have to forgive and forget:
If someone has hurt you it’s impossible to forget what has happened. But realising that holding onto that negative emotion is actually hurting you more, is the first step towards forgiveness. Making the conscious decision to release it and forgive allows you to let go of that negativity and move forward.
2. Tell your story:
My client Ginny and I talked about how her sister’s post had triggered feelings of jealousy, resentment and anger. Being able to tell your story, warts and all, and having someone acknowledge what has gone on is also an important aspect of being able to forgive. You might not feel that you’re able to speak to the person who’s making you feel resentful, and that’s OK. It’s the sharing and release that’s important. Speak to trusted family or friends, or perhaps work with a fertility coach or therapist to help you release negative emotions and process what you’re going through.
3. Use a mantra to reframe negative thinking:
Ginny told me, ‘When I felt my jealousy bubbling up I would stop what I was doing and take a few moments to practice the forgiveness technique you taught me,’ she recalled. ‘I’d put my hands on my heart, breathe in through the nose and say ‘my heart is soft’ as I breathed out I’d say ‘I forgive and let go’. This simple mantra helped me focus on what is important and made me feel calm. Outwardly nothing had changed, but inside I felt that a weight had lifted’.
Holding on to resentment is exhausting, and right now you probably don’t have extra energy to give to situations or people that aren’t supporting you. Deciding to let it go frees you up so you can use the energy that went into being frustrated to support you and your fertility journey. When you decide to forgive someone who has hurt you, or you start the process of forgiving yourself, a softening happens. This couldn’t be more important. Emotions like anger, blame and resentment sit tightly in the body. Forgiveness, letting go and being gentle towards yourself help you to heal.
*TTC Trying to Conceive