Forgiveness is a catch-all phrase. A person who forgives expands their place in the world. They carry peace inside. They lift others up. They release any need for vengeance.
Some think if you forgive someone, you never bring up the past, you let the injury go, and you are walking on a bed of flowers, peacefully and in serenity.
Forgiveness, in reality is an act we do to let go of any vengeance on our part as well as any repercussions.
I spent some time today reviewing different views on forgiveness, the one which stood out so profoundly was Wayne Dyer’s 15 steps on forgiveness. I read through them all, and felt some of the pain and anger from feeling hurt by someone close to me, melt away from my inner soul. I didn’t realize I was carrying it, even though I believe in forgiveness. I feel I held it in check, barely holding it in though, as I was easily moved to tears over simple issues or words, my sensitive heart felt were off base.
Step 4 stood out to me: “Whenever you’re upset over the conduct of others, take the focus off those you’re holding responsible for your inner distress. Shift your mental energy to allowing yourself to be with whatever you’re feeling — let the experience be as it may, without blaming others for your feelings.
Don’t blame yourself either! Just allow the experience to unfold and tell yourself that no one has the power to make you uneasy without your consent, and that you’re unwilling to grant that authority to this person right now.” (Wayne Dyer Blogs, 2017).
The power behind the step is in staying present. Anger and pain tend to send us into the past. Our brains, especially the limbic system, quickly sends signals to the prefrontal cortex when we sense something painful and it connects with past pain. When we are triggered and the signals starts, we activate the process over and over again. Catching the spark for the trigger will help you stay present. There is a time and place to review past pain, however, in the midst of anger, pain, and fear, we have to be able to moderate ourselves. If we hold unforgiveness inside, it seeps out in myriads of ways.
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What is Forgiveness?
Forgiveness is the gift of acknowledging your feelings and emotions.
Forgiveness is deciding to forgive.
Forgiveness is giving up the right to get even.
Forgiveness is finding the meaning of redemption in the experience.
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Picking the Fruit When it is Ripe
When a person is ready to be healed inside of themselves, forgiving isn’t a struggle. We can let go of the burden we carry. Remember, the person who wronged you probably forgot about the wrongdoing much sooner than you did, and probably sleeps just fine at night, whereas you struggle with the reoccurring thoughts bouncing around inside your mind.
Unforgiving is like watching the tree for the time to pick the apple.
If you pick it too soon, you’ll get a sour apple, and one rather nasty to eat. If you pick it too late, the apple might be mushy, wormy, and moldy.
Forgiving someone prematurely, before you are ready to do so, may help them move on, especially if they asked for your forgiveness. However, the bitter apple taste lingers in your mouth, as the unforgiveness returns.
Saying you forgive and believing you forgive are two different areas.
If you wait too long to forgive, your life is filled with wormholes (gaps in your heart and mind), the kindness inside become sluggish/mushy and it is easier to become angry and irritated at others, and finally, the mold of disappointment only adds to spreading unforgiveness to others.
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Forgiving another person is freedom. It is like letting go and floating away from the bondage of resentment. Almost like a balloon, floating up, lighter and lighter as it moves toward the heavens, away from the gravitational pull of anger and pain.
It is freedom from consuming thoughts, pain, and rumination of the pain.
We let go of the resentment we hold hostage in our minds when we forgive someone for whatever wrongdoing they have caused.
Wayne Dyer shares, “These thoughts of resentment, anger, and hatred represent slow, debilitating energies that will dis-empower you if you continue to let these thoughts occupy space in your head.”
In the freedom of forgiveness we recognize something essential:
Forgiveness is NOT excusing someone’s behavior.
Forgiveness is NOT deserved.
Forgiveness is NOT forgetting the event.
When we forgive we release the perpetrator from controlling our future. They may never, ever repent. If we wait, long enough we think, they will repent. Some never get to the point of seeing their wrongdoing. It’s on them, not us.
Our responsibility is to free up our thinking so we do not carry around the burden of punishment, and end up a prisoner. There are ways to work through areas in our bodies where trauma and pain are trapped. People who harbor unforgiveness might not know or understand the level of pain the body has held onto the need to refuse forgiveness. There are encapsulated trauma within the mind and body which hold people back from living a forgiving and loving life.
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What About Forgiving Yourself?
Harder than forgiving others for wrongs they committed, knowingly or not toward us, is the act of forgiving ourselves for the let downs, outbursts, attitudes, and failures we perceive we create. Forgiving another person, as difficult as it is, frees us. How much more do we need freeing? We carry the weight of the past upon us, some of us actually owning other’s faults and carrying those along the path of life.
We were not meant to carry such a heavyweight. Corrie Ten Boom, a survivor of the Holocaust, and a strong believer who forgave her torturers, shared
“You will find it is necessary to let things go, simply for the reason that they are too heavy.”
Carrying unforgiveness inside of ourselves, for choices we made burdens the weight of our world. Heavy sighs, tight shoulders, a sad countenance, and sleeplessness keeps us occupied. It is our body’s way of telling us we are carrying more than we need to carry.
“A lot of people struggle with self-condemnation or self-blame because they’ve either done something they feel was wrong and they feel guilty, or because they feel that they’re wrong or defective in some way and they feel a sense of shame,” says Worthington.
It is easy to tell someone to forgive themselves, even harder to do the actual work in forgiving oneself. We tend to project outward what we wish we had inward. If you find yourself fighting against forgiving mistakes, I ask you to stop right now, place your hand on your heart, take a deep breath, and feel free to let the breath out in a slow, releasing way.
While you do this, remember to exhale mistakes and inhale a fresh start.
Every day, as you move through your hours of life, take time to breathe through negative emotions, mistakes as they come to your memory, and release them into the void. You’ll lift yourself up and others will take notice. Then, go help someone else learn to let go.
~Just a thought by Pamela
Thank you for stopping by and reading the above article. I love research and look forward to joining you on other journeys of life.
Previously published on Medium.com.
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