If you are looking at forgiveness from the traditional point of view, you might ask, “Why should I be the one to forgive? I was right, the other person was wrong. I was the one who was hurt!”
You might also wonder if by forgiving you are giving them a free licence to hurt you or your loved ones again. You might fear opening yourself up to the same hurtful experiences once again.
Traditional Forgiveness says, ‘You have done something to me; you are to blame for how I feel. You wronged me but I forgive you anyways.’ The view is that I am the victim.
New Thought Forgiveness asks ‘Why have I attracted you into my life? What is there for me to learn and overcome? What gift are you bringing into my life by being a mirror for me? How can I take responsibility for my own feelings and beliefs?’
Forgiveness IS NOT
– condoning or excusing what the other person did
– forgetting that the experience happened
– denying your feelings or saying that you are not supposed to have them
– loving the other person or even choosing to be around them
– letting go of the story that you are a victim
– claiming your true power
– taking back your energy that you have tied up in the past
– taking responsibility for your feelings of hurt, shame, guilt, blame, anger or judgment
– intended solely for your own healing
– an act of self-love and self-respect that sets you free
– “for giving” yourself love, healing, growth, evolution and freedom
“Forgiving others is a gift to yourself, given not because the other deserves pardon,
but because you deserve the serenity and joy that comes from releasing resentment and anger, and from embracing universal forgiveness.” (Jonathan Lockwood Huie)
Forgiving does not mean forgetting; it also does not mean loving others. We can choose to forgive but still not love. It simply means taking back the energy that we have tied up with feelings for someone else.
“Forgiveness is unlocking the door to set someone free and realizing you were the prisoner!” (Max Lucado)
In a sense, we have kept the people we have not forgiven imprisoned within us. We have been standing outside their jail door to make sure they do not escape. As their guard, we have bound ourselves together with them, instead of letting them and the incident go.
Forgiveness is the gift that you give yourself, the gift that frees you from the pain that you gave yourself by judging others. Forgiveness is a choice to release, to let go; freeing up the energy that binds and blinds you. Forgiveness completes your own healing. It releases you from energy patterns that could contribute to illness or drain your energy.
“When we hate our enemies, we are giving them power over us: power over our sleep, our appetites, our blood pressure, our health, and our happiness. Our enemies would dance with joy if only they knew how they were worrying us, lacerating us, and getting even with us! Our hate is not hurting them at all, but our hate is turning our own days and nights into a hellish turmoil.” (Dale Carnegie)
The truth is that there are no enemies. People who hurt us are only teachers for us, as they mirror what we need to heal inside ourselves.
The first step of forgiveness is to feel the painful feelings without judgements, to listen to them.
How exactly are we feeling?
What are the feelings saying?
What beliefs or thoughts are underneath those feelings?
What are these feelings bringing to our awareness?
Are they perhaps triggering even older painful memories from our past?
What limiting beliefs or fears need to be healed in us?
An important part of forgiveness is self-forgiveness. Our Inner Critic at times tortures us mercilessly with feelings of guilt, shame or self-blame. It has told us how we have failed and been a disappointment. It is time to claim back that energy as well. Feelings of resentment – no matter whether directed at others or at ourselves – poison us from the inside. They can literally make us sick.
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