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
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.
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