I read this in the book ‘Where There’s Hope’ by Elizabeth Smart. The author is interviewing a remarkable woman who has survived civil war, rape, having her hands chopped off with a machete, losing a child, living in a refugee camp, and being separated from her family for the chance to seek a better life in Canada. Her name is Mariatu Kamara, a UNICEF Special Representative. Elizabeth asks Mariatu: “Do you feel that you’ve forgiven everyone who’s wronged you?” This is the woman’s answer: “Well, that’s another thing I work on every single day. Each day, I wake up and have a second chance to see the world. There are things that can never be done in one time, in one day, one hour, or one year. It’s just that you keep on working on it until you finally can grow out of it, so that’s what I am doing. I am on the road of forgiving. I am forgiving them because there is nothing I can do about it. I mean, either I forgive them, stay positive, and have peace with myself, or still be bitter and not forgiving, leading me to become a horrible person – unhappy, unhealthy, miserable, and sad all the time. Crying over and over again. And I don’t want to be like that. I want to be positive. I want to be a good example of a true survivor. I want to be strong for myself, and my family. I want to use that to inspire other people. That is why I am on the road of forgiving.”

Elizabeth asks: “What would you say to someone who’s struggling to find that path?” Here’s Mariatu’s advice: “Keep on fighting. Use what you have. Stop complaining. Oh, I do complain sometimes, but not out loud. Only to myself. I just try my best. Get up and do what I can to make myself happy. Make my life worth living. I don’t give up. I learn to forgive, to be faithful to everything I do, and to stay thankful for the life I have. There’s so many worse things out there that are going on.”

I was touched by the strength of this woman. She thinks there are so many worse things out there in the world. And that after what she’s been through. When I look at my own life, I’ve experienced some big challenges including losing my husband, and I also want to move forward and stay positive. I always think ‘there will come better times, it can’t stay terrible forever, in a week, month or year from now, everything will be different’. And it is like that. When you’re in a big challenge of your life, it can feel terrible with lots of different emotions like fears, anger, sadness, frustration, hurt and pain, hopelessness, and powerlessness. But when you take step by step, there will be growth and you can find your power again and step into your power.

Forgiving others and yourself is a big part of the process to move forward again. Maybe just after a traumatic experience, you have many other emotions like anger and fears, that you have to release first. You have to work your way through all of these emotions. But if you really want to move forward, you’ll come to the conclusion that forgiving is not approving that others did something the right way, but that forgiving is freeing yourself from what happened. And forgiving yourself for everything you’ve done, felt and thought, is the next step to free yourself completely.

To fully forgive, you need to find out if you’re carrying resistance inside you. Acknowledging every resistance, allowing it to be there completely, helps to release it. You have the power to set others and yourself free. It will open your heart to receive again. To receive possibilities and opportunities, love and abundance. You will come to the point that you can see and appreciate what you have, and feel the gratitude in your heart. From there you can create what you desire for yourself in life and take actions to achieve that.

If you’d like a professional to assist you in this forgiving process, feel free to contact me and discuss how we could work together in achieving you come to complete forgiveness. I’ve managed to get through my challenges in life so far, and I believe everybody can do that. I looked for colleagues to help me on my path too, so I’m happy to assist you on your path.