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Have you ever made a mistake so big that you wanted to hide from the world? You wronged someone you love. Did you spend days, weeks, months, years begging for their forgiveness?

I have. It was something so big it upset in my entire family, alienating many of them for some time. Leaving us all scratching our heads, wondering how we got here.

We need to share our stories, good or bad. Whatever we are going through or have gone through, our stories are important. They can help others. We all want to feel belonging in this world. Belonging can only come from a place of vulnerability.

This is a hard post to write; I am putting my personal business out there for all to read. That said, I have felt compelled to share this.

The Fall

I was married for almost 10 years. I can’t say that it was a terrible marriage; the truth is, it wasn’t. There were problems in our marriage. Many that stemmed from things in childhood, that were never dealt with. This resulted in issues in our marriage. That, again, were not dealt with. But this isn’t what my post is about. It is about ending it.

I had an affair. There, I said it. Out loud for all to hear. It was the cliché affair, someone I worked with. Yet, our meeting was unlikely. We didn’t work in the same department and had no interactions with one another. We were brought together by chance. When it happened, I didn’t even realize how unhappy I was in my marriage and in life. Then suddenly my eyes were wide open, I couldn’t get this image of what my life looked like out of my head. In a short time, I was in love.

It was 5 months before I confessed it all. I was falling apart, keeping this secret. It felt wrong, It was wrong. I could no longer live life under the covers. Not to mention, it was unfair to all involved. Within 24 hours, my life fell apart. I told my husband, daughter, mother, and father what I had done. And so the search for forgiveness begins.

Searching for Forgiveness

The weeks that followed were a series of meetings with family members and people from our church. Telling them all the gory details was like reliving my walk of shame over and over again. Most were urging me to give up my relationship and work on my marriage. I couldn’t. It was over, and my newfound love was who I wanted to be with.

The most heartbreaking of all was my daughter, she couldn’t understand. How could she? On the surface, we had a perfect marriage. We didn’t argue often. We smiled, kissed, laughed, and were very involved in our church. Pain wrapped up in decorated paper, tied in a bow of perfection.

While I wanted everyone to understand, that was not going to happen. It is unfair to ask for understanding in these situations, so I was seeking forgiveness. Although they forgave me, it didn’t feel that way. Each family get-together felt awkward. This was because of the extreme shame and guilt that enveloped me.

No amount of forgiveness was enough. Yet, we smiled and tried to move on as if things were okay. The problem? This behavior caused the fall to begin with.

Off the Deep End

I decided to make a monumental life change. In the wake of it all, I announced I was moving to Europe. Well, let me tell you, this was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Most of my family and friends thought I had lost my marbles. Maybe I did, maybe, just maybe I needed to.

This did nothing to help mend fences. In fact, it was like a tornado, obliterating any signs of one. But I felt an urging that told me deep down this is what I needed to do. So, we bought a one-way ticket to Sweden, scheduled to leave December 29th, 2017. We narrowed our belongings down to two suitcases, along with Pups, and set off to start a new life in the EU.

3 Years and 3 Countries later

In my ignorant way of thinking, I thought that I would move here, and magically things would be better. In many ways, they were, I was experiencing new things and doing something I had always dreamt of. But I was miserable at the same time.

I was in a loop. I played back all the events that took place back in Florida repeatedly. I felt so much shame and guilt I couldn’t breathe. I was in a constant state of panic. I created a playlist of sad music that I would listen to while hiding under the covers sobbing. I hid because I didn’t want anyone to know the pain I was in. I laid awake at night, living in my past. The feeling of shame and guilt was haunting me, and I couldn’t shake it. I wasn’t growing at all, not like I planned. I was stuck in quicksand and sinking. Guilt and shame are the heaviest of emotions to carry around. No matter how happy I was on some days, most days, I was so low didn’t want to move.

Moving to Portugal, I felt at home. It is comfortable here, and I fit in much more than in Rotterdam or Malmö. It was then that I made a genuine change. I needed to work on forgiving the one person I bypassed all these years, me. I spent so much energy seeking forgiveness and approval from everyone; I neglected the most important of all. This started my journey to finding peace within.

Saving myself

I can’t put my finger on what lead me down this path. I choose a combination of yoga and meditation each morning to begin new habits. I didn’t know it at the time, but this decision would change me in ways I didn’t think was possible.

I awoke each morning to practice yoga, followed by meditation. I imagined myself as a glowing rose bush that needed pruning each day to remove what was no longer thriving. I watched the petals fall to decompose in the earth, feeding the roots below. The practice of pruning was shedding my past, my guilt, and my shame.

Each day, my meditation would begin with; “I love you, I am listening.” A message to myself, that whatever needs to be said between me and me, can without judgment. It was in these moments that I found forgiveness for myself. I felt pure joy for the first time in so many years. I am a new person.

A New Life

What followed would only continue my growth and freedom from the clenches of the past. During meditation, I felt my body telling me I needed to change the way I was eating. It was easy and natural to do. With daily movement, meditation, and a diet of eating clean; I am happier and more at peace with myself. It is returning to a time of innocence we feel when we are a child.

Although this was a difficult post for me, it was a necessary step and cathartic. It is important to share; that no matter what your past actions were, you deserve and are worthy of your own love. Loving yourself is such a powerful thing. Once you can do that, you are not at the mercy of the outside world. You can live more in the present and not worry about the past or what tomorrow brings.

It’s time to forgive, tell yourself, “I love you, I am listening.” and give yourself what you need; acceptance.

I would love to hear your thoughts or your story if you want to share.

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    1. Author

      Thank you for your support on this one! It was a hold your breath kind of moment, but felt right at the same time. Some words need to be shared.

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