Forgiveness is a wonderful virtue. Breaking down the word forgive into “for-give” reminds us that it is truly a gift. And we know that gifts are “for giving.” By performing this act we free others and ourselves.
To quote Suzanne Somers, “Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself.” It benefits no one to hold onto anger, ill will and resentment. Let’s take look at the liberating power of forgiveness.
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It can be difficult to forgive others, especially if the hurt is deep and still painful. It’s important to acknowledge anger and validate any feelings you have. Many times there’s a sense of injustice being done and wrongs that must be punished. Thoughts of revenge and retaliation are not uncommon either.
Perhaps on some level we like to feel superior and in control? We are the judge and jury regarding if and when to forgive. So yes, in actuality we are in control. We are in control of how we choose to feel. We are also in control of when and how we choose to forgive. That’s pretty powerful! Once we recognize that why wouldn’t we want to work towards forgiveness of others?
WE TALK A LOT ABOUT FORGIVENESS BUT WHAT DOES IT REALLY MEAN?
Sometimes it just seems like lip service. In order to truly forgive another we need to come to an understanding with the wrongdoer. Whether that means communicating with the transgressor or not is really up to the individual. Sometimes approaching the person is not possible.
The important thing is to seek peace and forgiveness within your own heart. Coming to the realization that the person who hurt you is also a divine being making mistakes and learning is very empowering. You tend to focus more on the idea of a good person making a bad choice.
A lovely quote by Clarissa Pinkola Estes says it best, “How does one know if she has forgiven? You tend to feel sorrow over the circumstance instead of rage, you tend to feel sorry for the person rather than angry with him. You tend to have nothing left to say about it all.” This moment where forgiveness merges with compassion is truly powerful.
So often when we discuss forgiveness we focus on our relationships with others. But sometimes the most difficult relationship we have is with ourselves! Many times we find it easier to forgive others than ourselves. When we have done wrong, those mistakes live with us constantly. They can replay over and over in our minds causing stress and grief. We can be our own worst critics constantly beating ourselves up over our faults and wrongdoings.
Perhaps the best way to forgive yourself is to start questioning a few things. First try to take a look at yourself from an observer role. If someone else made the mistake you did, would you be so harsh to forgive? Probably not. You might also consider how others view you. Wouldn’t those close to you forgive you? And what about the Creator, Spirit or the Universe? If they can forgive you, then you can forgive yourself.
Sometimes self forgiveness needs to be developed. When the negative feedback goes through your mind try this technique. Give a name to your inner critic like Crabby Charlie or Angry Annie. When those self defeating voices pop up remind yourself that is just your critic chattering away again. Then focus on your own divine nature and remember that you are allowed to make mistakes. Learn from them, forgive yourself and try to move on.
Once you learn to forgive yourself and others you create space within your heart and mind to attract more positive things into your life. Forgiveness brings vibrations of peace and compassion that pave the way for good things to follow. May the power of forgiveness bring those gifts to you!