Forgiveness: It's a mighty big word. With big implications. Sometimes misunderstood or misused. Difficult to swallow. And often avoided for as long as possible. At least this is the case in my own experience.
I have spent a great deal of time processing this word over the past year. Thinking about it... reading about it... trying hard to be about it. I think I have finally come to terms with what forgiveness means to me personally.
First and foremost, forgiveness is an ongoing process. Even if it feels like it comes to you as an epiphany, you will be faced with thoughts on the matter again, rest assured. You will then firmly need to remind yourself that you chose to move past whatever it is that has decided to resurface. Much easier said than done... but also very possible.
I know far too many people who live "stuck." Stuck in the past... stuck on a situation... stuck in their own head. They simply can't move on. Ask me how I know?
But there is a way out. We have to face the thought or situation head on and make a conscious decision to be at peace with the outcome. To accept that we can't erase what happened. Nor should we live and dwell in the past. Forgiveness frees us and allows us to move forward.
I used to avoid the word at all costs because I didn't think certain people or situations were worthy of being forgiven, myself included. But that was before I understood what it really means to practice the act of forgiveness.
Forgiveness is not...
~ Condoning. It does not mean the action or situation was "right."
~ Forgetting. You'll never fully forget. Rather, you take a personal vow to stop remembering so often.
~ Reconciling. Just because you have pardoned a person or situation does not mean you necessary want to be reunited. And that's okay.
~ Trusting. You have chosen to forgive. That doesn't automatically mean you are ready or able to trust again. These things take time. Trust is not a guarantee.
~ an action. Not a feeling. It is a conscious choice you make over and over again to let go of ideas of resentment and revenge.
~ difficult. It takes a great deal of self discipline. It is much easier to seek... than to give.
~ inner strength and peace. It is letting go of harmful scenarios and playbacks that destroy your personal happiness.
~ a healthier option. You reap the benefits of letting go. Better sleep, lower anxiety, lower blood pressure. Forgiveness helps you both mentally and physically. It helps you to birth a healthier mindset.
"You can be happy or you can be right, but you can’t be both. We must let go of destructive emotions to discover peace and happiness because the two cannot coexist." ~the late Wayne Dyer
The most important and often most difficult person to forgive is yourself. Most of us need improvement in this area. Guilt is a horrible emotion to live with. We are human. We make mistakes. It is a natural part of life. Forgiving yourself doesn't mean that your actions are justified. It simply means that you are giving yourself permission to move beyond those negative thoughts that can cause you to live in the past. Every day is a new day. A clean slate towards betterment. Life's lessons are meant to shape us and provide us with wisdom.
Take some time to think about your own thoughts on forgiveness. Identify what areas in your life need healing. Learn to take control of your recurring thoughts. Dig deeper and find practices that can help you let go.
Forgiveness is a gift that you give yourself. With the current state of the world and holidays just around the corner, now is the time for inner peace.
Mantra card by Gabrielle Bernstein