3 Principles of Forgiveness
I speak to the power of forgiveness with nearly every client I work with. Lack of forgiveness is the root of so much pain, judgement and inability to create a happier life, that it is worth talking about again and again. I know how powerful forgiveness is because I practice it every day. I also know how difficult it can feel, and that it goes beyond simply saying “I forgive you”. Many of my clients, and dare I say society, really struggles with the concept of forgiveness. There seems to be this belief that by forgiving someone we are condoning the behavior, letting someone off the hook or that we might be viewed as weak. In truth, nothing is braver and stronger than forgiveness. It is the key to lasting peace and happiness. Without it, we struggle to move on, we close off our hearts and we let another’s behavior dictate our peace of mind.
I want to share with you three key principles to bring forgiveness into your life so that you may be able to transfer pain and heartbreak into peace and lasting happiness.
1. Understanding what forgiveness is and isn’t:
One of the biggest misconceptions about forgiveness is the notion that forgiveness is about the other person. The belief may be that by forgiving someone that has caused us great pain, we are condoning their behavior and in the process abandoning ourselves. Forgiveness is never about the other person. When we are unwilling to forgive another, we continue to carry pain, anger and bitterness. The other person may not even be aware of it, and if they are, chances are it’s not impacting them. The only person truly impacted by an unwillingness to forgive is ourselves. It hardens us against the world, it closes off our heart, and it traps the pain of the event in our body and life. As a Reiki Master, I could see the energetic bondage of a lack of forgiveness emanating off the people on my Reiki table. Every time.
2. Recognize that you don’t have to be loyal to your suffering:
I used to believe that if I let go of the pain
that people caused me , that it would somehow lessen the impact it had on my life. There was this subtle underlying belief that through forgiveness, I would betray the memory of the event. I have seen this same belief over and over again in the work that I do. Survivors of abuse often times feel that by forgiving their abuser, they are somehow abandoning themselves. They have suffered at the hands of another and they carry the suffering like a badge of courage. It defines who they are and the term “survivor” becomes part of their identity. I have done this myself. I have often introduced myself as a survivor of physical and sexual abuse, survivor of medical malpractice and survivor of an emotionally abusive relationship. I dare say, it was my identity. It also caused me tremendous pain to walk this world with those labels. I am so much more than the abuse that happened to me. YOU are so much more than the difficulties that happened to you. By changing your inner commitment to one of forgiveness and love, you can free yourself to re-write who you are.
3. Understand that forgiveness is a process, not a single action:
There seems to be a widespread belief in our society, that forgiveness is as simple and quick as saying “I forgive you”. Forgiveness however, never comes from the thinking mind. True forgiveness is an act of the heart. It happens a little at a time, sometimes over a long period of time. It starts with setting a powerful intention to opening up to forgiveness. When we set this intention in meditation or prayer, grace moves in and there is a subtle shifting of energy. When we show willingness to forgive, the universe can show us the “how”. When we learn to open to the grief and heartbreak of our life, we can start healing from it. It all starts with the intention and desire to forgive, because it is less painful to live with a forgiving heart than a closed heart. Each day, make a commitment to forgive, work through the pain that comes up and before too long, you will start noticing a softening of your heart and a lessening of the pain.
I invite you to take the first step towards forgiveness. By being willing to forgive, even if you aren’t sure how, you allow yourself to begin to heal. If you are ready to release your story of the victim and ready to start the process of forgiveness, I encourage you to listen to the my Forgiveness meditation. If the pain or inability to forgive is making you feel trapped, reach out and we can come up with action steps for you to start taking today.