I rebuilt my relationship with my parents because I felt so ashamed of having taken my stress & frustrations out on them for years. I was fed up with running away from my past, and I wanted my parents to have a son who loved them freely and wholeheartedly.
Despite becoming closer than ever to my parents over the next two years, I still quietly held onto that shame.
I wasn't ready to let it go because I secretly believed that I wouldn't be a good person if I didn't have it.
My dear friend Kim helped me forgive myself on one of our Parent Project calls. Here is what she said:
"Close your eyes and see little boy Joseph sitting there, realizing what he's done to his parents, not wanting to be like that anymore. Can you go over and see him? He's feeling sad and ashamed.
Sit in front of him and look at his eyes for a moment. Look at him with full acceptance. What do you want to say to him so that he can forgive himself?"
I sat there silently for several minutes, tears welling up underneath my eyelids.
With all the tenderness and compassion in my heart, I thanked my younger self for doing my very best despite everything I was going through.
"Can you forgive him?" Kim asked. "Yes," I replied with the courage and confidence I didn't have until then.
I knew that I couldn't be free, self-expressed, and satisfied with life if I couldn't put my past behind me.
I removed the poisoned arrow from my heart. My parents have already forgiven me for not having the lessons I haven't learned yet. I no longer need to hold myself hostage. I can just love, with all my might.