Forgiveness is an easy concept to get mentally but embodying the practice can be quite challenging for many of us. I believe it's a process – sometimes a long term process – of letting go, healing and moving on.
In my earlier years playing sports, I was very, very competitive. If someone gave me an unfair push or shove during a game, I would not forgive nor forget. I would make it my purpose to 'pay them back' in the next game. I got really good at holding grudges and not letting things go. It became like a protective armour – fuelling my intensity. It was exhausting carrying all that unwillingness to forgive. It definitely affected my performance and my personality.
Over the years, as I have moved through my life, I've come face to face with ample opportunity to forgive others that I feel have wronged me (or my friends and family) in some way. I'd like to say that I 'nailed it' and forgave all the time – letting go of the anger and judgement and moved on with my life. I'd like to say that, but I can't. Some deep rooted hurts have stayed with me much of my life affecting my ability to be open, vulnerable and whole-hearted.
How do we forgive others for what they have said or done that has harmed us? How do we forgive ourselves for things we've said or done that have harmed another or ourselves? Deep reflections – indeed.
Many years ago, I read a book 'Forgive For Good' and the one thing I took away was that when I find the ability to forgive someone, it doesn't mean what they did to me was okay or right, but that I no longer will allow my life to be ruled by the energy of the hurt. Pretty profound for me. I was so moved that I gave a copy of this book to several people in my life (including family).
I began in earnest to practice forgiveness and then life happened. I fell in and out of the conscious practice most of my adult life.
What I'm learning as I heal and grow is that if I truly know myself, I can find more compassion and understanding to let myself off the hook and forgive. I can lovingly take responsibility for my life (for what I say, what I do, what I think and feel) and for how I respond to others. If I have lashed out at someone, I can take responsibility to make amends to resolve it. I can also believe that what others have said or done to me wasn't really about me at all – but, about their process of growing and healing. This in itself gives me a huge opportunity to let things go and stop judging.
This is and continues to be a process of learning, unlearning & relearning for me in my life.
I'm not saying that you have to forgive everyone for everything (that is not mine to decide). No one except you knows what is right for you or when you are ready. What I'm asking you to do is consider, where in your life can you forgive yourself to start a deep internal healing process to unlock your hearts' potential to live a more loving, authentic and joy-filled life. Isn't it time?
Are you ready to forgive and heal in any area of your life?