Forgiveness Is A Bold Act

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Who do you need to forgive? Think of someone you hold a grudge against, someone who has hurt you. I’ll bet someone came to mind immediately. We are never finished with forgiveness work, we do it until the day we die.

Forgiveness is a miracle. It's a bold act.

 

Forgiveness is a shift in perception. When we forgive another we change the way we look at the person and the situation that has caused us hurt and pain. Forgiveness is a choice and a way of life.

 

Forgiveness is like a muscle: When you practice on smaller things, you gain the skill to deal with bigger ones. ~ Fred Luskin

 

My good friend Liz lived across the street from me for several years. We saw each other daily and shared our laughter, successes, troubles and pain. My girls provided child care for her three sons. It’s a wonderful thing when you love your neighbor’s family almost as much as your own.

The Liz began dating someone new. Her boyfriend came with his own group of friends and he made it clear her new life didn’t include our friendship.

The loss consumed me.

The pain ran deep. I was angry; I was sad. I cried buckets of tears. I vented to my spouse. I tried to hang on. Frustrated, I went to our cottage alone with a large canvas, paints and brushes and I painted my heartache.

I filled the canvas with gray hearts, split open with jagged edges. The background was black, red and yellow. It helped me process my pain. Liz moved away and life went on.

Three years later, I came across the painting in the back of a closet and realized the pain was completely gone.

Tucked in my healed heart were only the joyful and amazing memories we shared.                   

I knew Liz didn’t single me out for special punishment. She simply moved on. Our story ended. We never know how long someone will be in our life. Things change. Life happens. It’s just the way it is.

Forgiveness is a process; it takes strength, bravery and time. We do it when we’re ready or when we are tired of being miserable.

When we let go of the one who hurt us, we also let go of the one who was hurt and broken. We give up that part of ourselves. We give up our story. We are no longer a victim.

As we grieve, we gain relief, peace and freedom.  

We don’t forgive to let others off the hook. We forgive to be free from the endless cycle of hurt and resentment that fuels the war within.

We forgive so we can be more loving people. When we do so, we gain our power back. We gain hope and make room for new relationships and good to flow into our life.

It’s difficult to let go. It’s tempting to hang on. Don't allow fear to hold you back.

Grieving has its own timing. It’s different for everyone. It’s important to honor your process. Treat yourself kindly and with gentleness and compassion.

 

What forgiveness is not:


Forgiveness isn’t condoning inappropriate behavior.
Forgiveness isn’t pretending everything is alright.

Forgiveness doesn’t make you superior.
Forgiveness doesn’t stop you from making changes.
Forgiveness isn’t always reconciling with the offender.

 

When we choose forgiveness:


We have healthier immune systems.
We release the control that another’s actions have over us.
We feel lovable and worthy.
We cleanse our heart from shame and guilt.
We release toxic feelings and stories.
We mend our broken heart.
We free our energy.
We transform our relationships.
We increase our capacity for joy.
We are more peaceful, calm and confident.
We have peace of mind.

We thrive because we are free. 

Forgive yourself often.

Fill in the blanks and use this affirmation to forgive yourself. Repeat it when you need to change your self-defeating and condemning thoughts.

I forgive myself for judging myself for_____________.
When I see myself through the eyes of ___________, I forgive myself for judging myself for____________.

 True forgiveness is when you can say, "Thank you for that experience. ~ Oprah Winfrey

The following is a forgiveness blessing to help you move on. Repeat it silently when you find yourself obsessing over the person or situation.

“I bless you, I release you, I set you free. I allow you to be you and me to be me. ” Repeat this when the offender comes to mind.

Decide to Forgive by Robert Muller

Decide to forgive
for resentment is negative
resentment is poisonous
resentment diminishes
and devours the self.

Be the first to forgive
to smile and take the first step
and you will see happiness bloom
on the face of your brother or sister.

Be always the first.
Do not wait for others to forgive
for by forgiving
you become the master of fate
the fashioner of life
the doer of miracles.

To forgive is the highest
most beautiful form of love.
In return you will receive
untold peace and happiness.

If you can’t get beyond your grief seek out the support of a grief counselor or coach.

Whether you’re forgiving yourself or somebody else ask yourself, “What lesson can I learn from this? What wisdom can I take away?” Write out the answers in your journal.We are all human. 

We all make mistakes. Look for the lesson. Learn from it. Let go and grow. Go out and live your life to the fullest, don’t look back and don’t hold back. 

My awesome friend Alex Blackwell, has a brand new book, Letting Go: 25 True Stories of Peace, Hope and Surrender, is now available exclusively from Amazon.

Please help me spread the love. Share this article on Facebook and Twitter.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Patrik Edblad November 4, 2013, 6:10 am

    What a beautiful post Tess, thanks for sharing it.

    Forgiveness can be hard but it’s an essential skill to practice so that we can move forward without of anger and hatred weighing us down. Also, if we’re bad forgivers other people will have a much harder time forgiving us when we inevitably mess up.

    • Tess November 4, 2013, 5:13 pm

      Patrick,
      I just read today that unforgiveness is like carrying someone around on your shoulders all day! Not that makes me tired just thinking about it! Also it’s simple to remember that we’re no perfect so of course we need to be forgiven as well. Thanks for stopping by.

  • Sandra Pawula November 4, 2013, 10:36 am

    Tess,

    I f ind it interesting that you feel forgiveness is a process that continues until the day we die. I liked how you were able to process and move through your negative feelings connected to your friend Liz. That gives me hope that we don’t have to hold onto negative feelings indefinitely. You are so right that we never know how long someone will be in our life! This is a beautiful blessing. Thank you.

  • Tess November 4, 2013, 5:10 pm

    Hi Sandra,
    Yes I think if we’re breathing we need to forgive. Little resentments, bitterness, and nonsense happens all day long that steals our peace. ie we may need to forgive the government figures, the person who hits our car or a sales clerk that won’t give us our money back on a return. Those are the stories that we’ll repeat over time that really could be forgotten if we simply forgave people everyday.

  • Cathy Taughinbaugh November 4, 2013, 9:35 pm

    Wonderful post on forgiveness, Tess! Sometimes we hold on to our grudges, so that we have that excuse to be miserable. When we forgive we lighten our burden and move on to a more positive future. Great reminder. Love the affirmation and poem.

  • Keith November 5, 2013, 12:48 am

    Hi Tess,

    So many great insights in here. It truly is about allowing yourself to be free to move on. It is also an ongoing process. We may think we have forgiven and there is another little trigger that we need to extend forgiveness to. It is hard and is a journey not destination kind of thing.

  • Fran Sorin November 5, 2013, 6:08 am

    Dear Tess-

    In our culture, forgiveness is a bold act. But imagine if our culture – including in schools- made forgiveness a top priority. After all, none other than Jesus taught us to forgive not only friends but our enemies. A great pot – much love -Fran

  • Ana Goncalves November 5, 2013, 7:48 am

    Thank you Jess, for a very powerful post. I agree that forgiveness is a bold act to truly come back to who we are and all that we have done. The energy of forgiveness gives us an opportunity to love ourselves again and release all that no longer serves by connecting us to the essence of who we are by understanding our experiences and bringing them to light. It is a true blessing to be able to connect with that energy and step into the knowing and trust of forgiveness. It is when we are vulnerable to our very own imperfections that we arrive back into our oneness and innocence.
    Blessings to you dear friend x
    Have a great week! 🙂
    With Love

  • Crystal November 5, 2013, 11:48 am

    Tess,
    What a powerful post! For me, this ties in so much with the work in 30 Days of Bold related to resentment and forgiveness. I agree that we often do process in stages. The more willing we are to do the work, the faster the progress… Thanx for the reminder to be gentle and honor ourselves where we are. 😉

  • John Vespasian November 5, 2013, 3:10 pm

    Forgiveness does not necessarily mean that you are a great human being. While it is wise to forgive minor offenses and unintentional mistakes, I have a problem with forgiving people who consciously inflict harm or act dishonestly. You may choose not to deal with them in the future, or not to think about them at all, but why one earth would you forgive them. Your article is well-written, but I cannot follow your logic.

  • Sue Kearney (@MagnoliasWest) November 6, 2013, 8:36 am

    Tess, this is hella sacred and powerful stuff, thanks so much for writing about it so eloquently.

    I learned this a long time ago and it’s an important part of my self-awareness and self-discipline. When I’m carrying resentment, unmet expectations, and blaming someone for it, it’s like this: When I’m pointing a finger in blame, I have four fingers pointing back at me.

    Forgiveness heals the hurt, and also heals me, deep inside, in a very deep way.

    Thanks for this, sister!
    xoxox
    Sue

  • Elle November 7, 2013, 2:28 pm

    Love the way you express this Tess. I find that I know I’ve forgiven when I can hardly remember what happened to upset me in the first place. And I do think that sometimes that can be a process. Nicely put.

  • Jodi Chapman November 7, 2013, 6:18 pm

    What a great post, Tess! Forgiveness has helped me so much throughout my life to move through anger and get to peace. I love the exercises that you give – so powerful. XO

  • Sean November 8, 2013, 11:21 pm

    In 2009 I went through a terrible divorce. My wife suggested we separate. The day after I left she had another guy staying at our house. The second best thing I did was forgive her. Yeah I’ll never forget what happened, but I let go of the burden.

    The second huge thing I did was to forgive myself. My actions led to our separation. I was an emotional and suicidal wreck. It was far harder for me to let myself off the hook than to let her off. In order to finally be able to let go I volunteered for four years at a mental illness organization. That was enough to prove to myself I really am a good person.

    I just thought I would share that…

    Sean

  • Betsy/Zen Mama November 12, 2013, 7:14 am

    Tess,
    This post is one of my favorites! I loved it from the start with your beautiful poster and the Oprah quote, all your great tips and I also loved the poem by Robert Mueller. And I couldn’t agree more that forgiveness can affect your health as well your mental state. Forgiveness is just a part of letting go…. hard to do but such a relief when you do it.
    Thanks!
    xoxo
    Betsy

  • Serenity November 17, 2013, 5:35 pm

    Un-forgiveness is equivalent to drinking poison every day we choose to be in the energy and vibration of un-forgiveness, and expecting the other person to die from the ingested poison.

    What we can be thankful for is our fuel in life and what we can never forgive becomes our baggage and the story we live in which in turn creates present and future experiences in our lives.

    Forgiveness – un-forgiveness, is a state of being, a mindset, created from our perception of people, things and events.

    What if the the people and things that enter our lives and the events that happen are only opportunities for contrastive analysis for us to realize and remember who we truly are (Divinity – Infinite Being), and as a result steer us back on our path so we may fulfill our souls agenda (purpose – destiny).

    What would you life be like if you chose to shift your perception from that happened to you and instead ask, “What’s right about this that I’m not getting?”

    Infinite Love as Oneness

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