Forgiveness

    a.95bw Forgiveness about you

    I do not forgive easily. (An understatement!) Fortunately my path crossed with a very wise woman who had this to share.

    *Forgiveness is about your healing (rather than giving absolution to the transgressor).

    *Forgiveness is about releasing your resistance to healing (and the transgressor’s hold on you).

    *Forgiveness is about becoming indifferent — diffusing the emotional charge — to an incident, rather than forgetting it.

    *Forgiveness requires you face the incident head on. (Ignoring or pretending the incident didn’t happen is disrespectful of your history.)

    Healing (in this instance forgiving) becomes imperative when the incident drags on (taking on a life of its own) through your repeated retelling. With each retelling you relieve the incident, flooding yourself with all the negatively it evoked.

    Ask yourself, “Is this incident taking on a life of its own long after it actually happened?” If yes, you have some healing to tend to.

    By insisting, “I’m never going to forgive!” (an emotionally charged negative statement), you lock yourself in an untenable position. You are already in a bad place (smarting from the original incident) and you continue adding negativity with each trip down memory lane. (There is also collateral damage brought about by the “sharing” with others which then bums them out.)

    It’s the power of those negative feelings and emotions you release each time you relive and revisit the incident that harm you. Forgiveness has nothing to do with the transgressor. It has everything to do with you.

    To truly forgive you must first acknowledge the wrong. (Acknowledging is different from condoning. Acknowledging means admitting something happened. Condoning means you’re okay with what happened.) Second, you must truly change your attitude toward the incident — on an emotional level. So, even though you say you forgive, if you secretly (or subconsciously) hold onto that wrong, you have not forgiven (and the instigator still has a hold on you).

    By forgiving you get to stop stewing over, holding grudges, and/or focusing on that which riled you, whether the incident happened five minutes ago or fifty years ago. By refusing to let go, any clinging remnants of unforgiveness tether you to the instigator, hurting you time and time again.

    Forgiving requires changing your mind-set from “I don’t want to forgive this person because he/she harmed me in this way and doesn’t deserve my forgiveness” to “I want the joyous freedom of having left behind all the anger, hostility, grudges, etc., I was holding (and rekindling) each time I thought about how this person wronged me.”

    Once you’ve made the mental switch, spend time reveling in how freeing and joyful it feels to be in the light and away from the heavy darkness which shrouded your soul. Finally, step aside. You’ve done your part. You’ve set things in motion. Now let the Universe heal you.

    By permitting yourself to heal you gain, and the perpetrator loses. You have broken the cycle of negativity and horror the perp inflicted on you. The incident happened. You know it happened. However, the incident no longer has any emotional hold on you. You’re free.

    “I don’t know,” you say, “what he/she did was pretty bad.”

    Forgiving puts you in an emotionally good place. A place where you can heal, grow strong, regain your strength. (By hanging onto your self-righteous indignation you remain stuck in Woe-is-me-I-was-so-wronged victim mode, which keeps you trapped in a time warp while the perp moves on (probably forgetting you).)

    If necessary, forgive in baby steps. In increments. Every nudge helps. Remember, rather than viewing forgiveness as condoning another’s hurtful behavior, forgiveness is about you and your healing. And you are definitely worth the effort!

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    Dana Bailey - April 3, 2013 - 11:52 am

    Good Advice, awwwwwww to Fly Fly and be free……….. what a feeling!

    Tana Bevan - April 3, 2013 - 3:52 pm

    Hey Friend, You’re right, it is wonderful advice! (Now if I can just nudge my ratio of following such sage wisdom a little higher … )

    Lisa Reif - April 3, 2013 - 8:57 pm

    Tana, That is beautiful. I so needed to read this as a reminder that I have forgiven and am in the middle of the healing process. xoxoxoxoxoxoxox

    Tana Bevan - April 3, 2013 - 10:17 pm

    Thank you Lisa. I so am not a natural when it comes to forgiving! Yet, as the Wise Woman explained to me, forgiveness is really about nurturing your soul and allowing yourself to heal.

    Here’s wishing you the great healing and awesome joy that comes with forgiveness.

    Tammy Bleck - April 3, 2013 - 11:25 pm

    Yes, Tana, I AM definitely worth the effort! I have written blogs on forgiveness and appreciate greatly your contribution. I believe this act to be one of the hardest things to do. When you feel you have been wronged/maligned/betrayed, forgiveness doesn’t come easy … or quickly. It truly takes a cleansing of the heart and soul to get to that place where you understand that is all about you and not the perpetrator. Taking care of ourselves is what it’s about and I think you voiced it loud and clear for everyone to hear. THANKS for that!

    Lisa Reif - April 4, 2013 - 10:25 am

    I have known for years that forgiveness is for ME not them, but sometimes even knowing that it can still be a challenge. Maybe it is more about asking yourself the question: Am I afraid of what freedom feels like? For me sometimes it is a YES But….the more I feel freedom the more I want it. xoxoxoxox So the more I am willing to forgive.
    I wish you knowing…. xoxoxoxo

    Tana Bevan - April 4, 2013 - 11:45 am

    Tammy — Forgiveness seems to be a toughie for many. And yet, as difficult as it is, the question arises as to which is the more difficult, forgiving others or forgiving oneself. I believe for many the latter is definitely the harder. (It is for me!)

    So why persevere? Perhaps because the lightness, rightness, and sense of freedom that comes with letting go of grudges, anger, hostility, and the like is so wonderful. It becomes almost addictive. Once tasted, you want more.

    Tana Bevan - April 4, 2013 - 11:49 am

    So often, even when we “know,” it’s still hard to act on that “knowing.” What I have learned, often after much kicking and screaming (or so it seems), is I feel so much better for having forgiven. It’s as though a heavy weight were cast off.

    Here’s wishing you the sense of joy which comes with being unencumbered.