In our previous blog, we wrote about Monica’s experience in recovering from past childhood wounds that left her scarred and wounded. Monica knew that if she were to ever be healed from those painful experiences, she would need to forgive all of the people who played a part in those events, including herself. Monica did not feel that she had much courage prior to doing the inner and outer work that her recovery required, but by the time she had completed the forgiveness stage of the work, her image of herself as a weak, frightened, and damaged person had transformed and she began to see herself as a competent, confident, loving, and responsible woman. Others in her life have come to see her that way as well. As one of her friends recently said of Monica, “She wears her power with grace.”
Her transformed self-image has been earned and hard-won. She has become a courageously outspoken advocate for and an inspiration to many men and women who have learned, through her example, of the power and value of forgiveness. Forgiveness runs in accordance with its own timetable. It can’t be forced through pressure from others or from ourselves.
If the intention is there, in time it will come. Trying to coerce ourselves or others to forgive only obstructs the process.
We can’t make ourselves or anyone else forgive, but we can set the conditions in our life that we predispose us towards an inclination to forgive by reminding ourselves of why we want to forgive, who we feel the need to forgive, from whom we feel a desire to be forgiven, what we stand to gain by letting go of the resentment that we carry towards those who we want to forgive, and to envision the specific ways in which our quality of life will be different when we are no longer burdened by living from a hardened heart.
Separating the truth about forgiveness from fictitious beliefs about it can facilitate and hasten and expedite the forgiveness process. What follows is a series of key points and guidelines about forgiveness that may be useful in embracing forgiveness and living a life of greater peace, freedom, and understanding. Consider them when you feel the call to forgive. Choosing to do so could be one of the most important decisions that you will ever make in your life.
The practicing of forgiveness is an act of love that opens our heart and expands our sense of wholeness. The more we forgive the more we strengthen life-affirming qualities and traits, including (but not limited to) compassion, patience, integrity, trust, courage, commitment, humility, generosity, openness, personal power, and self-respect. There may be no other single practice that can provide so much for us and others. The more we forgive, the more acutely aware we become of the need of forgiveness when it is present. And each act of letting go of resentments and grudges, liberates us from grievances that diminish the quality of well-being that we have in our life. Forgiveness is truly the gift that keeps on giving. And it’s available to you 24/7. Starting now.
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