Forgiveness is a tough one. Some things happen in life that don’t seem significant enough and you can easily forgive. Then there are events and people in life that upset you and you try to forgive. You say “It’s okay” and move on. But do you really? Think about it for a second. Think of something that someone did that upset you. You quickly dismissed it and tried to move on and forgive. When you think of that person and that specific incident, do you feel good about it now or does it instantly bring you back to the moment in time? That pain. That hurt. Does it still linger? If so, you haven’t truly forgiven. There are also those times most of us have encountered where the circumstances just seem too tough to forgive. Perhaps you have too much pain or anger that you haven’t even begun to forgive.
A number of years ago after the birth of my daughter, there was situation that occurred that hurt me pretty bad. I felt betrayed, angry and sad. I just could not let it go. Whenever it came to my mind I quickly brought it up to the people that were involved, throwing it in their face as if just to remind them I still remembered. (I don’t know what good THAT did other than try to make them feel bad because I still hurt.) I TRIED to forgive. I definitely wanted to forget. I just couldn’t seem to accomplish that though for the longest time. It was at least two years or more of holding onto that anger before I finally got to a place where I could truly forgive. I was tired of being so effected by it and frankly, it was exhausting to keep holding on to all that pain. I realized I had to change my line of thinking. Instead of focusing on the pain, I started to send love to those people. It was so challenging, but I did it. I guess what really helped me was to realize that the event that caused the pain, wasn’t of the people that caused the pain. I tried to get perspective from the other side and come to a place of understanding. After understanding, I came to a place of love. Not love in the sense that I wanted them in my life but more of a place of peace. I wanted the best for them and when I passed them in the street, I wanted to be able to give a genuine smile. After a while, I finally got there.
In Marrianne Williamson’s book A Return to Love she writes, “Forgiveness is ‘selective remembering’–a conscious decision tofocus on love and let the rest go.” That doesn’t necessarily mean accepting them back into your life to allow circumstances to repeat, but it is a decision to focus on love. Marianne goes on to say, “Only love is real. Nothing else actually exists. If a person behaves unlovingly, then, that means that, regardless of their negativity–anger or whatever–their behavior was derived from fear and doesn’t actually exist. They’re hallucinating. You forgive them, then, because there’s nothing to forgive. Forgiveness is a discernment between what is real and what is not real.” Love is all there is. Deep…I know.
You might be thinking now of a person or two who you could forgive but have you also thought about forgiven yourself? It’s time we let go of past mistakes we keep beating ourselves up about. We hurt someone else but still hold onto the guilt. We said the wrong thing at the wrong time, let someone down when they needed us, or made a decision we wish we wouldn’t have. It’s in the past and we can’t change it. So it’s time to forgive ourselves and move on. Do not look back. Only look forward. Let go of the guilt. Let go of the shame. When we forgive, we free up all that space in our hearts for more love and we grow as individuals. Our bodies will heal and our spirits will be free.