I want to talk about the magic of forgiveness and something that happened to me recently because of it. I found myself listening to Louise Hay's 101 Power Thoughts
from Sounds True Publishing and I tuned in to her words on forgiveness. Forgiveness wasn't something that I was thinking about but it struck me and stuck with me. Sometimes that happens in a guided meditation, some part of it will just resonate with you and sink in. I decided that I wanted to use forgiveness as the theme for my monthly meditation group. I continued to work on my own intention to forgive myself and others for anything that had occurred in my life that could benefit. I was thinking about an incident in college after all the "Me too" education in the news. There were some incidents that came to mind and some people to forgive. That included me for getting into those situations and for not being more careful with myself.
So I did the meditation of forgiveness in group and everyone was pleased. They all felt that it was healing for them and very beneficial. Adding the self forgiveness is so important and maybe even more important because our relationship with our selves is the most important one.
So several days later I get a facebook message from someone that I have not been in touch with for 30 years. 30 years! The message was an apology for his behavior all those years ago. The message was striking in its directness and its simplicity and it really got to the heart of the matter. I was so shocked but a smile crept out of my soul and through my heart and onto my face! What a gift! I felt so light!
All my work that week on forgiveness had not even included him. I had forgiven him many years ago. We were both young and foolish and partying too much. I had not thought about him in a long time. Yet no one could have prepared me for the lightness that I felt when reading those words. It was a gift. A gift I did not need and was not expecting but it allowed a release I had not known possible.
Truly, at first glance I thought it was some kind of scam and not really from him but I quickly realized that it was real. It was truly an apology from him! Wow!
I told him what a gift he had given me and that I had forgiven him years ago but appreciated hearing that from him. I also apologized for anything that I may have done to add to our pain. He just said "thank you" and that was it. Perfect ending!
Forgiveness is a process that benefits the forgiver. It has been shown to improve mental health with reduction in levels of depression and anxiety of those who attempt to forgive. Forgiveness also leads to better physical health.
You don't have to know how to forgive, you only have to decide that you want to.
When you forgive someone, do you lose the upper hand? What's in it for you? When you forgive you will still remember what happened but you will not be bound by it. Forgiving doesn't mean that you trust them or that you continue to interact with them. That is behavior and you still chose your behavior which may include staying away from that person. Forgiveness is in your thoughts and your heart. You still choose the action that is best and safest for you in this relationship. I can't tell you how satisfying it is to forgive someone and then stay away from them!
Forgiving yourself is an important part of the process that we may forget. Forgiving yourself may be connected to the incident you are considering forgiving or maybe not. There may be other things to forgive yourself for that may not come to mind immediately. Sometimes an underlying thought that we don't address is, "How could I have been so stupid?". The point is that you don't have to know exactly what you are forgiving yourself for, you just have to be asking yourself to forgive.
Let go of needing another's approval. This may not make sense at first glance but what I mean here is that you don't need someone to agree that they are wrong or that they wronged or hurt you before you let go of the hurt. You are allowed to be the one in charge of writing the story about that. You decide what was wrong and what hurt. Forgiveness is not about them, what they did to you has nothing to do with you, it has everything to do with them.
One part of the Loving Kindness meditation has you bring to mind someone who you have a difficult relationship with and to apply the meditation prayer/affirmation to them. Another variation instructs you to think about someone you like and then someone you love and then yourself. I think this also illustrates the benefit and importance of applying energy of some kind to all the different relationships in your life. This helps to balance your life. Its easy and enjoyable to offer loving kindness to someone you love. And its not as easy to offer it to yourself and it is pretty difficult to apply that to someone that you hate.
When you chose to forgive someone else or yourself, you take full responsibility for your life and you reclaim your power. It allows you to release old hurts that keep you stuck. You may feel like, "No, I can't forgive , I need justice or restitution or I might let it happen again or accept less again". But that doesn't need to happen. You are in control of your actions and of what you accept. It is not because you are holding on to old hurts or unfairness. No! You accept only the best, only love and respect and happiness from now on because you want to and because you choose to! It is because you let go.