“I don’t need to forgive,” Maria said. “I have moved on and built my own life. My father is the one who left us for this woman. He was always a selfish man. He doesn’t deserve to see me or meet his grandchildren. He will only hurt us again. Also, my mother would be so upset if I forgave him…”
Maria came to me with relationship issues with her husband and children and depression. As much as Maria claimed she had let go and moved on, she was still emotionally and energetically hooked into the past. She, understandably, was afraid to get hurt again. She felt the need to continue to punish her father for something that happened 25 years ago. She only had contempt for him and his second wife. She hadn’t ever grieved the loss of her father or forgiven him. She loved her mom and felt she owed it to her mother to hang on to the hurt and anger.
Maria was looking at forgiveness from the traditional point of view and was asking, “Why should I be the one to forgive? What he did was disloyal and wrong. My mother and I were the ones who were hurt.” She blamed him for her pain and what he did to her mother. In her eyes, he abandoned and wronged them. They were the victims.
New Thought Forgiveness looks at forgiveness quite differently. When we forgive, we are not excusing what the other person did. However, when we know that we are always co-creators of our reality, we need to question the idea of perpetrator and victim. This view of forgiveness acknowledges that anger, hurt and shame of past events affect us emotionally, mentally and physically in the present, often daily. We can choose to move from being lifelong victims to freedom at any time. To achieve that freedom, we need to drop into our hearts and ask our heart’s intuitive wisdom and guidance, “What is there for me to learn or overcome and what gift does this situation have for me? How can I take responsibility for my own feelings and beliefs?” And most importantly, “what do I need to do to be free and joyful again?”
When we forgive others, we free ourselves from allowing the experience to adversely affect our present life. When we truly forgive, we reclaim our power to decide if and how that past event will affect each moment. Forgiveness and letting go allow us to get on with living a joyful life, the life we were meant to live. “Until you forgive, you still have an energetic connection to the past person or event.” (Dhebi DeWitz)
Gregg Braden explains how forgiveness allows us to clear out our anger, judgments, and pain regarding specific life events. And Dhebi DeWitz summarizes in “The Messenger Within”: “It does so without condoning the action, pardoning the behaviour, or absolving what has happened. It simply acknowledges that the event occurred. Forgiving does not mean the other person is no longer held accountable for his or her actions because those have consequences. Nor does it relinquish responsibility.
It simply means that when we bless and forgive the people, circumstances, and events that hurt us in life, we are acknowledging their existence, and by doing so, it allows the hurt to move out of our being.”
Energetically, we have kept the people we have not forgiven imprisoned within us. As their prison guard, we have bound ourselves together with them instead of letting them, and the incident go. The others are unaware we have put them into this jail inside ourselves. The only ones who suffer are us by putting ourselves in prison with them. No matter what they have done or didn’t do, people will always experience energetic consequences. The law of cause and effect always works.
Maria had to admit that much of her energy and thoughts directly or indirectly revolved around what her father had done. Each time she visited her mother or spoke to her on the phone, Maria silently blamed her father for her mother’s depression. Whenever she had a fight with her own husband, Maria found herself calling him selfish and thinking, “Typical men! They are all the same!” All this was pain she gave herself based on her experiences and the beliefs she had learned growing up.
Forgiveness is a choice to release, to let go, freeing up the energy that binds us into the past and blinds us to any other perspective. We can choose to let go of the old emotions stored in our bodies and establish new, more supportive beliefs. Forgiveness is for our own healing. It releases us from energy patterns that contribute to emotional and physical pain, illness or energy drain. Hate, anger, hurt, sadness, shame and other suppressed emotions affect our overall health.
“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.”
It is usually not enough to simply decide to forgive because forgiveness is not an intellectual process. The conscious decision to forgive is only the first step. Forgiveness happens at the level of the heart and includes our subconscious mind.
One such process of letting go is the “Blessing of Forgiveness Process,” developed by Dhebi DeWitz, which includes three parties:
- Those who inflicted the suffering
- Those who suffer
- Those who witnessed the suffering
- Forgiveness of Others:
Forgiveness is not for the other person. We forgive because we don’t want to suffer and feel hurt whenever we remember what they said, did or didn’t do. Have you ever considered that nothing anyone does is because of you (Don Miguel Ruiz)? What somebody did to you has absolutely nothing to do with you but only with them.
Maria’s father did not leave her because she was “not enough” but because he longed for love and happiness. The offending person’s actions result from that person’s beliefs and learned behaviours at that time. People are dealing with their own inner anguish and turmoil. Maria’s father did not know how to improve the relationship with her mother and did what many people do: he moved on to the next relationship. The actions that hurt Maria were a reaction to the suffering that played out in her father’s own mind and that he acted upon while involving Maria and her mother. He simply acted based on his perceptions that his marriage was over, the pain he carried within him from his childhood, and his longing for love and happiness.
Once we have this awareness, it helps us not to take what the other person did personally, and then—with the understanding that we are all human and with compassion for the other person’s perception—it will lead us to true forgiveness. By forgiving others, we are still acknowledging the existence of their hurtful actions, but by doing so with heart consciousness rather than the mind alone, we allow the hurt we have taken in so deeply to be released from our bodies. We can rationalize all we want, but until we forgive in our hearts, the person, event, or circumstance has the power to haunt us. On the other hand, when we truly forgive, it frees us from the limitations we have placed upon ourselves and allows us to live with greater joy and happiness.
- Forgiveness of Yourself:
We might have directly or indirectly contributed to the painful event. Still, even if we didn’t, we have to forgive ourselves for taking whatever happened to us in too deeply – so deep that it shut us down, kept us helpless and small, and paralyzed us from living fully in this present moment. (Debbie Ford). We also might need to forgive ourselves for judging ourselves. In which ways have you been unkind to yourself? What have you blamed yourself or judged yourself for?
Maria realized she never felt good enough, beautiful enough, smart enough, or loveable enough. She was usually critical of herself, beating herself up for not being a good daughter, wife or mother. She also had to forgive herself for taking in too deeply that her father left her mother so deeply that she never wanted to see him again, and it made her afraid to trust men, including her husband.
- Blessing of the Witnesses:
Her father left his first family when Maria was ten. Her mother refused to let her have contact with her paternal grandparents. Her grandparents were helpless witnesses to the suffering, feeling unable to do anything. Maria blamed them for not taking clear sides for her and her mother. Maria had learned from her mother that there were sides to take. Revisiting the situation as an adult and putting herself in her grandparents’ shoes, she realized their confusion and helplessness.
The people who were bystanders of the painful event, like Maria’s grandparents, carry a part of the energetic imprint of the event within them. They might have felt powerless or helpless to prevent the pain and suffering in the past, and they might still suffer from their inability to comfort or help in the present.
Forgiveness in all three cases means letting go of the past and cutting energetic chords which drain us. Not to forgive is a choice to remain in what is familiar, the emotional pain. “If we say, ‘I just can’t forgive, then what we are really saying is, ‘I prefer to live with my emotional poison, with my pride and my anger. I prefer not to move from this place of suffering.’” (Dhebi DeWitz)
We might not always be able to forgive everything in one go, and we might have to do a heart-centred forgiveness process or ritual several times. Still, the choice not to forgive is the choice to continue being a victim and remain in anger and pain.
Are you interested to experience and learn Dhebi DeWitz’ Blessing of Forgiveness Process and other ways of forgiving from your heart?
Join me for this workshop:
Sunday, March 19 from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Fee: EARLY BIRD $67 (by Feb. 14), $80 thereafter
BRING A (New) FRIEND SPECIAL $59 (each)
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Angelika, 905-286-9466, firstname.lastname@example.org