Forgiveness Is A Bold Act

by Tess

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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.

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    Tess Marshall

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    { 10 comments… read them below or add one }

    Patrik Edblad November 4, 2013 at 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.
    Patrik Edblad´s last post…How to Practice Mindfulness: A Beginners Guide

    Reply

    Tess November 4, 2013 at 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.

    Reply

    Sandra Pawula November 4, 2013 at 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.

    Reply

    Tess November 4, 2013 at 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.

    Reply

    Cathy Taughinbaugh November 4, 2013 at 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.
    Cathy Taughinbaugh´s last post…When It’s Time, Let Go

    Reply

    Fran Sorin November 5, 2013 at 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
    Fran Sorin´s last post…48 Ways To Boost Spiritual Health – Transform An Ordinary Day Into An Extraordinary One

    Reply

    Crystal November 5, 2013 at 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. ;)
    Crystal´s last post…A Secret Dream…

    Reply

    Sue Kearney (@MagnoliasWest) November 6, 2013 at 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
    Sue Kearney (@MagnoliasWest)´s last post…Release to transform and a hella sacred New Moon

    Reply

    Elle November 7, 2013 at 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.

    Reply

    Jodi Chapman November 7, 2013 at 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

    Reply

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