The Freedom of Forgiveness
I feel compelled today to write about forgiveness. No, I don't have anything heavy hanging on my heart or in my head, and that is why I want to share with you the freedom that comes with forgiveness and share some quick steps and tips on how to live in that space. I no longer live with resentments. They don't serve me well, take up time and energy, and I like to be happy. As always, I ask you to keep an open mind, and take a really deep breath (or three) so we can get started.
Let's start with some clarity around what forgiveness is and is not. The definition of forgive – to give up resentment of, or claim to, retaliation. Forgiveness is not letting something just go as if it never happened; it is not accepting or condoning poor behavior and letting it continue. Forgiveness is releasing the power of the resentment and the hold it has on you. It is an internal process. Freedom – the power or right to act, speak or think as one wants (choice). Remember, you are the person in control of how you respond to life. You have choice, it's not a one and done, sometimes it just takes time to meet life with forgiveness, and that's okay too.
Here are some tips to help:
Tip #1 – Compassion – Was It On Purpose?
Many times we get hurt by someone or something because they were not thinking of us in the moment. I know it's hard to believe – but none of us are the center of the universe, LOL. Nope, it was a humbling realization for me too :-) . Actually, the other person or persons are all caught up in their own stuff. It could be a difficult conversation at work or at school, racing to be with a sick loved one, not feeling well, the stories are ENDLESS, but they have nothing to do with you! I've said it before, I'll say it again – Hurt people hurt people. So, when you get cut off in traffic, experience rudeness at the store, feel the sting of the child who says I hate you, or the spouse who just snapped, consider how their day may have been. Think compassion, send loving thoughts 💗
Tip #2 – Understanding Yourself - What's This Bringing Up For Me?
Most times when we feel hurt or resentful it is because it taps into our fears, expectations, or pride. Getting cut off in traffic for me hits both - how could they do that to me? And, yikes! The rude cashier, well, they should be nicer. The person who snapped at me – they don't like me, I did something wrong, they shouldn't do that! When I can look at what it brings up for me, I can quickly decide whether I want to believe that or not. I can let an expectation go, I can remind myself I am loved and worthy. I don't have to make up a story.
Tip #3 - Letting It Out – In A Healthy Way
Sharing the hurt with a safe and caring person or even on paper is the third tip. I don't mean tell everyone you know and gossip; that is actually counter-productive and makes the hurt bigger. It is finding that one person who will listen and acknowledge your hurt, not feed it. It might even be a talk with your higher self or higher power; sometimes my garden works for me. It helps to let the steam out and then maybe you can go back and look at what it brought up for you.
Tip #4 - Be Helpful – Yup, Be Helpful
Consider how you can help the person. As I noted in the beginning, when someone hurts us, it is not about us, even if it feels that way. It is about what's going on for them. So instead of reacting with yelling and disappointment, or ignoring them, or retaliating, consider checking in with them to see what might be bothering them. Stay open and listen, just like that special friend of yours, let them vent.
Tip #5 - Ownership - Own Your Own Part
Many times in a resentment there are AT LEAST 2 sides; own yours. It could be an over-reaction, an incorrect interpretation of something said or done, you could be tired and cranky. Don't fuel the fire, own your actions. Step away gracefully, ask to put off a conversation 'til later, apologize for your action or should I say re-action. In the case of the car that cut me off, I look at what lane I am in, how fast I am going, and then I look for a chance to let another car in, or sometimes I just send out safety vibes to all the cars on the road.
Resentment consumes you physically, emotionally and spiritually. It can stop you from fully participating in your life and in the life of those you love and care about. It takes a lot of time and energy to complain and hold onto the grudge. The emotional toll is truly exhausting, and it can wear you down. Try these tips, lean on the side of forgiveness, embrace the freedom, and I am sure you're body, mind and soul will thank you.
Finally – my favorite line – Would I rather be right or would I rather be happy? I gotta tell ya, happy is really much better. I've tried both, and happy always wins for me! So go ahead, let that resentment go for the sake of YOUR happiness – trust me it's worth it!
I'll be sharing more on forgiveness and other self-empowerment activities at my upcoming three-day Powerful Living live event on October 6, 7, & 8 in Hampton NJ at Hunterdon Shared Space. If you want more information please give me a call at 908-303-3574.
I hope you have found this informative and helpful and continue to follow me on this empowered journey to SELF Care First! If you are new, please go back and take a look at some of the other blog posts and sign up to follow me here on this blog, as well as on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linked In, but definitely come back for my next post on self care empowerment. Til then, enjoy the journey!