You can't forgive without loving. And I don't mean sentimentality. I don't mean mush. I mean having enough courage to stand up and say, 'I forgive. I'm finished with it.'
~ Maya Angelou
Forgiveness: Letting go of the hope that the past can be anything other than what it was.
Ruminating about the past or the hurt doesn’t make it go away or change what happened. It only keeps it alive and full of charged energy. Bitterness and resentment are cohorts of ruminating. They don’t bring peace or resolution, either. Forgiveness is the answer.
To open to forgiving, it is important to deeply know and see your own worthiness; to love and accept yourself. The hurt often comes when the words or actions hit the tender wound of a limiting belief held within you. It’s as though your greatest fear has been discovered and is intentionally being used against you.
It’s not true.
When hurtful words or actions arise, it indicates that a wound has been touched and the defense mechanism activated. It has nothing to do with who you are as a person. This is where the self-love comes into play. When you are grounded in self-love, the words or actions of others can be seen as their response to their wound. It has nothing to do with you. It can be challenging to stay calm and centered in the midst of the upheaval. Trust in yourself and your inner strength. Even if you do end up reacting instead of responding, be gentle with yourself. Notice what has been stirred up within you and offer yourself quiet time to be explore it later.
With the healthy dose of self-love in place, forgiveness feels more accessible.
Forgiveness is a journey. It would be a lovely gift to say, “I forgive you” and be done with it. Instead, forgiveness offers an opportunity for growth and deeper self-love. Explore the situation from all angles, yours and the other involved. Look humbly at your own contribution, being gentle with what you notice. This isn’t about blaming anyone. The discovery is to open to greater understanding and heal what you need to heal within you. Along the way, you will be able to shift perspective towards the other and soften your edges around them. Forgiveness is not about condoning the behavior; it is about bringing peace back into your heart.
The journey of forgiveness includes compassion, acceptance and gratitude.
Soften into seeing all sides of the situation. Be gentle with all that you discover. Understand that the heightened exchange is not about you personally. There are underlying circumstances that every person carries with them, you included. There’s no alarm to warn you when one of those scabs is close to being picked. The human condition is far from perfect. It requires compassion and understanding. Note that this leg of the journey of forgiveness may entail a wide variety of emotions. Allow for that. Notice it. Learn from the emotions that arise.
Acceptance ties into the definition of forgiveness that opened the blog: letting go of the hope that the past can be anything other than what it was. The experience happened. There’s no changing it. This is an opportunity to use what has been offered within the situation for growth.
Receive the gift of love and growth that has emerged from the situation. See how the experience has encouraged a broader perspective within you. Be grateful for learning what you needed to learn from that situation. Sometimes the learning means walking away from the other person and sometimes it means deepening the relationship that already exists. Regardless of the result, there is peace within your mind and heart. Choose to love yourself enough to release the hurt and pain for your own greater well-being.
If you would like to explore forgiveness even further, there is a chapter dedicated to forgiveness in my book, Fall in Love with the Whispers of Your Heart: A Guide to Transformation from the Inside Out. Available in digital and paperback formats from BookBaby and Amazon.
Follow the journey of forgiveness so you can say, with a peaceful heart, “I forgive. I’m finished with it.”
Walking together in light, love, and peace 🙏
When I choose to forgive,
I experience peace.