Category Archives: forgiveness

Forgive, Or Relive

29 Days Template (26) Day 28 of 29 Days of Spiritual Messages.

We all make mistakes.

Yet forgiving ourselves can be so much harder than forgiving those around us, and as a result, we carry a sense of blame for what happened and beat ourselves up in the process.

Let’s look to an anonymous quote for inspiration: “Forgiveness of self is impossible until you stop longing for a better past.

Forgiving ourselves will always be impossible when we continue to live in the past.  And until we bring forgiveness to ourselves, we will feel guilty, unforgivable, and unlovable. We will feel like a criminal. Worse yet, we will trap ourselves into falsely believing that we are cut off from our Creator.

When we feel cut off, we carry the energy of the belief that we are “bad” in our energy fields. This attracts to us circumstances that reflect this false belief about ourselves, and then we tend to act in the very ways that we held ourselves unforgivable in the first place. It becomes a vicious cycle.

While this experience is common, it is detrimental to our overall well-being.  When we carry guilt, we create a space of negativity that causes a pervasive sense of powerlessness and unhappiness.  We agonize over a past situation that can not be changed, dooming ourselves to relive it over and over while reinforcing the negative feelings associated with it.

Forgiving ourselves allows us to move forward, free of the emotions that no longer serve us. But to do so, we must stop longing for a better past, as today’s quote suggests. The past is gone. The only thing we can do is to make peace with it so that we can move forward.

It’s easy to say acknowledge your mistake, feel remorse, and learn from it so that you don’t make the same mistakes again, but self-forgiveness is a core issue, and we need to look inside that core in order to heal ourselves. We need to touch the space that hurts, and this is not always easy or pleasant.

If you are hanging on to guilt about something, it’s important to practice compassion and self-acceptance.  It is part of the human experience to make mistakes and hurt others.  But wallowing in guilt will not help you or anyone else, and it certainly won’t prevent future suffering. Forgiving yourself is about targeting and facing the specific things that you feel bad about, not about the person you are.

When you examine the guilt you feel about a particular experience, it’s important to look at what your true intention was when you did what you did.  If you look deep enough, you’ll discover that your intention was to protect or take care of yourself in the best way that you knew at that time.

Maybe you didn’t know all of the options available, and perhaps you made some decisions that brought undesirable results to you and others, but you did the best that you could with what you had at that time.

Does this make you a bad person?  Absolutely not.  It makes you human.

Self-forgiveness is an act of love.  The guilt we feel is our signal that we have strayed from our deepest life values.  Rather than making guilt a permanent state of mind, we can use it to assess our misconduct and employ a course of action that leads to making amends.  This, in turn, energizes us to realign with our hearts.

As you intentionally take responsibility for your actions, know that you are creating healing for yourself and anyone that you have hurt. Learn from your choices, know that you are inherently good, and always do your best.  When you do, you will come home to a sense of connectedness and peace.

 

(Written for my nephew.  I love you, RJ).

The "F" Word

Recently, someone wronged me.

And it’s been going on for years behind my back. I thought this person had changed her ways, but apparently she has not. Unfortunately, the misalignment of her own life causes her to take it out on others in calculated ways.
When word got back to me, I was angry. Very angry. My mind flirted briefly with thoughts of revenge, but I knew that wasn’t the answer. 
Instead of reacting and seeking vengeance, I knew my best course of action was to step back, take a deep breath, reflect, meditate, and let go. 
As much as I didn’t want to, I knew I had to employ the “F” word. Forgiveness.
Damn it, why is it so challenging at times? Grrr…
But, I found my center, and I resolved to move forward because my happiness is more important. 
Some may see forgiving someone who has done irreparable harm as condoning that person’s action. Forgiving that harm is like saying what was done is acceptable.
Others feel that some acts should not be forgiven. If someone has taken a part of your life away from you by a criminal offense, perhaps you believe it’s okay not to feel forgiveness toward that person.
Valid points.

No one said forgiveness is easy. It’s an internal process. It can’t be forced. But it can be done.

The first step is to get your own ego out of the way. The ego likes to dwell on past traumas and before you know it, you are entertaining thoughts of vengeance and hostility. As they take root and grow, you find your own bitterness consuming you. It won’t let you feel any compassion, just unadulterated pain and rage. 
To get your ego out of the equation, it’s important to forgive yourself. I know…not easy at times, but when you face what happened to you, you can mourn the pain, and then release it to the past. Staying stuck in the past robs you of enjoying the present. 
Realize you have a choice. You are not responsible for someone else’s behavior. You can’t control the actions of others, nor should you try. But you can control your actions and your thoughts. You can choose to stop reliving the hurt. You can choose to focus on the present, finding the joy in the moment.
Commit yourself to letting go. When you commit to letting go, you commit to a process of changing the energy of the situation. It may not happen overnight, but the very act of making a decision to let go allows for forward progress. 
Try to see things from the offender’s perspective. This is not to say that what the person did is right. The person may have done you wrong, but this doesn’t make the person a bad person. Try to understand why the person did what s/he did. Know that everyone carries his or her own pain, which influences the decisions s/he makes. This doesn’t condone thoughtless, selfish, insensitive decisions, but it does help you to understand that person. Having a better understanding helps you to protect yourself in future dealings with him or her.
This is a tough one, but try to understand your responsibility for what happened. Ask yourself what you could have done to prevent it, or what you can do to prevent it from happening in the future. This is not about taking responsibility away from the offender or taking all the blame, and it’s not about being a victim. It’s about moving beyond feelings of victimization and claiming your share of responsibility for your actions.
You have every right to even the score, but that will only compound the pain. It may make you the one who pays most dearly. Send the offending person blessings instead of curses. Hope for the best for him or her. This helps to neutralize ill feelings. It may feel contrived at first, but keep at it. Such a technique allows the mind to overcome the cognitive dissonance between hating the person and acting compassionately toward him or her.
Forgiveness is not about erasing the past or forgetting what has happened. It doesn’t mean the offending person will change his or her behavior; we have no control over that. It means letting go of the anger and pain and moving on to a better place. What happened can’t be changed. 
By taking the path of forgiveness, you will show yourself and the person who offended you that the obstacles s/he tried to create were not significant enough to destroy you. Forgiving someone may be a lot harder than holding a grudge, but that would mean living life chained to the past. Interestingly, the Aramaic word for forgive is “shbag,” which means to “untie.” When you untie yourself from your hurt and pain, you are free to be happy once again.

Please share your wisdom in the comment section.