If we truly want to live a happier life, we must dig deep and learn to forgive. Forgiveness is the most precious treasure that we can give ourselves. When we are willing to forgive, we are guaranteed a life of peace, gratitude, wisdom, expansion and growth. If not, we are destined to a life of blame, resentment, pain, self-pity, guilt and anger.
Sarah created vision boards, recited affirmations and hung out with the “right” people in the hope of creating a love-filled life. Yet, as long as she continued criticising herself for her own faults and mistakes, she was her worst enemy. Sarah was actually keeping herself from the life she so desired.
To be happy, forgiveness begins with ourselves first. Each time we beat ourselves up for the past, for mistakes or bad choices that we have made, we stay trapped in a shell of toxic shame and self–abuse.
Somehow we think we deserve this. Maybe we were told that we were bad as children by a parent or a teacher and part of us believes this. We believe that punishing ourselves will make us a better person or a more humble person. But this lie will never make us a better person. It will only keep us prisoner to the shame that we continue to carry.
If what we desire is a love-filled life, we must learn to love ourselves first. This can only happen with forgiveness. One of my favorite spiritual teachers, Debbie Ford, says, “Although forgiveness often looks like a generous gift we are giving to someone else, it is ultimately an act of self-love and a gift we give to ourselves.”
Our resentments hold onto us like a ball and chain, keeping us prisoner to our anger and to the person that we are so angry toward. We think we will show them by continuing to make them suffer, but we are the ones who are truly suffering!
We continue to try and prove that we are right and ‘they’ are wrong. Our righteous attitude keeps us locked up in our own misery. We find a sick kind of comfort in this.
Our freedom begins with taking full responsibility for our part and letting go of blaming others. The power of forgiveness does not require that we agree with, condone or tolerate abuse or bad behavior. We forgive the sinner, not the sin.
By forgiving, we set ourselves free to create and receive so much more. By forgiving others, we do not become doormats for them to wipe their feet upon. It is important that we create and set strong boundaries for those who would continue to try to take advantage of us.
True forgiveness allows us to stop being victims and helps us to step into our power and authority so that we will not make the same mistakes again.
When we find ourselves in a situation where forgiveness is warranted, we will usually find anger associated with it. It is important to feel and release any anger that we are feeling toward ourselves, another person or even God. Feeling and acknowledging our anger is an important step toward forgiveness.
“Clean” anger is expressed from our body. It is a feeling. Express it into a pillow, towel or punching bag. I have a hill that I stand on to express my anger. I push my body to the top of that hill and let out in a long, loud scream. After releasing anger, you can then go up into a higher resonance or feeling.
“Unclean anger” lives in our head and has dialog. The attached story creates self-pity and blame. You become stuck in the story, and the anger.
It is important to learn from the past, and not let the past leave us lying in its wake. The past is over. It does not matter who was right or wrong. Here are a few questions that you might ask yourself as part of the learning process:
• What is this person teaching me about myself?
• How can I use this experience to become a better human being?
• If I could do this all over again, what would I do differently?
• What are the patterns that I see repeating in my life?
• Where might I be in denial?
• What is the drama I am creating?
• What am I being right(eous) about?
• What am I willing/unwilling to change?
• What is it to be compassionate?
• Why am I taking this action?
• How can I use this lesson to heal my heart?
None of what I have written today is easy to do. As Dr. Wayne Dyer says, “It takes much more courage, strength of character, and inner conviction to forgive than it does to hang on to low-energy feelings.”
If you are ready to take the courageous step into forgiveness, you will create and receive more peace, self-esteem, love, inspiration, self-respect, intimacy, hope, trust, compassion, freedom, joy, gratitude, generosity, acceptance, responsibility, courage, confidence, humility, and truth.
If you want more peace and love in this world it begins with you. As more and more of us take responsibility for loving and forgiving ourselves and others, the world will become a more forgiving, loving and peaceful place.