It is February again! It’s the month of Love and here at COR, we will focus on the qualities of compassion and forgiveness, two very important facets of any real love.
Since nobody and nothing is ever perfect in this world (have you ever noticed that?), both of these qualities are very necessary. This goes for compassion and forgiveness for others as well as ourselves.
At some point in our journey somebody will hurt us, intentionally or most often unintentionally, in small or sometimes big ways. And at some point in our journey we will hurt somebody else, most often unintentionally and sometimes intentionally, in small or sometimes big ways. This occurs not just once but pretty much ongoingly, no matter how hard we try to be as loving and kind as possible. That is the inherent fragility and vulnerability of the human experience. We all need to give and receive compassion and forgiveness.
Below is Freida’s inspirational forgiveness story. Freida has been deeply involved with COR for over four years and then in December became our general manager. Read her beautiful piece about her personal story of forgiveness with her father.
“I eagerly volunteered to write this week’s COR Newsletter on Forgiveness at our last COR Team in-person staff meeting. I felt compelled to share my story about forgiving my father and I knew that it could be a powerful tale to tell. However, as each day approached my deadline, I found myself feeling more reluctant and afraid to capture my experience with the written word. It’s a story that feels better shared in person, one-on-one, or at a workshop. But ME . . . write a newsletter??? Accckkk!
I first shared about my sexual abuse by my father on the last Winter Solstice on Facebook. It was so powerful to reveal my story on the COR Alumni FB Page but this newsletter has a much larger audience than our very safe FB Community and I feel very vulnerable to know who might read this story. However, the reason why I participate with COR and why I joined COR as the General Manager is that I am deeply committed to the healing of women’s sexual trauma and being an example of forgiveness and healing — this stand has me take risks and stretch myself beyond what I know is possible. Hence, here I am sharing with you today.
I am a survivor of sexual abuse and trauma. I was molested by my father until I was 17. I have been doing transformational work since 2000 to heal my trauma, to forgive my father, and to learn to have healthy relationships with men. Eighteen years ago, I did a workshop where I finally confronted my issues with my father and my relationships with men. I was able to tell my father that I forgive him for molesting me.
Once I had forgiven him, my father felt safe enough to share with me about his own sexual trauma. He had been molested repeatedly by priests and other family members for years growing up. After learning about his sexual trauma, I could finally have compassion for my father because I could feel how his experiences impacted and thus, got transferred onto me as he continued the cycle of abuse with me. My father would have never shared about his abuse with me if I hadn’t forgiven him and created space for him to share with me. I finally felt like I could move on and not be a victim of my sexual abuse and trauma. Forgiving my father freed me up to explore healthy loving relationships with men and to not suffer or self-sabotage myself. I am deeply grateful for that opportunity for healing and completion with him.”
“But here’s the thing—I know it is really hard to forgive our perpetrators. It seems almost inconceivable to grant forgiveness to someone who really hurt us and caused us so much trauma and pain. Forgiving our perpetrators is not an easy thing to do and I’m not saying it’s for everyone. I also won’t lie and say everything is always sunshine and rainbows. However, I know that so much of the strength of my character and the depth of my love is because I was able to forgive my father. He doesn’t have any power over me — I am the one who is empowered in our relationship. If he were to die, I know that I am complete in my relationship with him. I am free!
Through my work at COR, I was able to deepen that forgiveness for not only my father but also to myself and to my body. I didn’t realize how much trauma was still living in my muscle memory and deep in my body. I have been able to forgive my inner little girl who was frozen and couldn’t move or ask for help. My inner little girl did the best she could and it was time to forgive my body for not protecting me. And in each COR Workshop that I’ve participated in, I have been able to continue healing and forgiving on a somatic level which allowed me to forgive at the deepest level in my body.
I am a stand for women and men to heal their sexual trauma and find forgiveness and compassion for their perpetrators and for themselves. I believe the work that we do at COR allows for that healing and freedom. This is why I’m writing this piece—I want everyone to know what’s possible for healing their sexual trauma. I live such a blessed life and I am so grateful to COR and this community for creating this safe space for me to share.”
Share it with us here on FB.
Freida & Britta