Welcome to our community newsletter, where we can share and focus on forgiveness.
This evening, the group was discussing relationships. One woman in the group was said that she did not want to fight with her husband the way her parents did. The group leader suggested that fighting can be healthy and normal in a relationship. It can be unhealthy to expect that there be no fighting.
As a reminder, he mentioned Fun, Friendship and Fighting.
On my way home from the group meeting, thinking about what some of the group members had discussed I would add Forgiveness to that list. Both forgiveness of oneself and one's partner.
I am able to be grateful when I forgive
I was writing a list of things that I am grateful for. Life, Excellent health, Family, Friends, The freedom I enjoy, Warm sunshine, Stars in the sky at night... See http://givetogive.info/gratitude.htm
As I wrote, I smiled began to feel joyful and relaxed. However my writing began to slow down as I thought of somebody who I was still angry at. I was having difficulty seeing him as somebody to be grateful for. My attitude of gratitude was fading. I then thought of a previous article "Gratitude is a path to forgiveness", and the possibility of also forgiving him for what he had done. As I began to forgive him, I became grateful not only for him, but also from the lessons I had learned from what had happened. My joy, my smile and my attitude of gratitude returned.
"I forgive you"
I was assisting my boss installing a plasma television on a wall bracket in a customer's house.
He recommended that I drill out the mounting holes in the bracket so the bolts could be put in easily.
I only drilled out two of the holes, and as a result we could not fit all four bolts. I apologized, and he said "I forgive you".
I felt pleasantly surprised. I was grateful for his generosity in accepting my apology and holding no resentment. I felt relieved to discover that the matter was now complete. I had learned from my mistake, and he had moved on to the next task.
He has inspired me by his example saying "I forgive you" in a way that shows he really means it.
The power of forgiveness
I often hear people speak of the need to punish offenders. Yet I often wonder what purpose punishment really serves. I know for example that if a person steals something from me, I am likely to feel angry, and want to strike back at that person. However such violence does not seem to bring me peace. It rarely resolves anything, and I do not really get deep satisfaction from seeing him be punished. I do have a desire to see the person caught and confronted regarding the impact of what he did, and would like him to not offend again. By forgiving, I can let go of my anger and my desire to punish. It frees me to think about ways to make a difference, possibly reducing the likelihood of more offences.
I probably also would benefit for forgiving myself for my part in having had the offence happen. I am more likely to find useful answers to questions such as "why did I not arrange better security" if I forgive.
See also http://peterpullar.com/overcomming_violence.htm
Forgiveness and communication
My friend invited me to the guest evening at the end of the communication course that she was attending. I heard several participants share about the results they had already got from communicating with people in their lives. When the word "forgiveness" was mentioned, I listened in anticipation of hearing something new. The leader suggested that to forgive is to give as before. I immediately saw how I sometimes allow things which happened in the past stand in the way of my communication. Whenever I am unwilling to fully forgive, I do to some extent communicate resentment, judgment, hurt, disappointment or anger. No matter what I say to that person who I have not fully forgiven, he or she is still likely to sense that something is missing from my communication.
If I do forgive, I am able to be in the present moment instead of being stuck in the past. New conversations are then possible. We can communicate more freely.
Forgiveness worked for us!
My wife tried many times unsuccessfully. As I solemnly tried to find the cause, it dawned on me that it was due to a grudge we held against her uncle.
He was the cause of the whole problem and so we always blamed him for the failure.
However , as soon as we decided to forgive him , we felt the success even before experiencing it . We felt liberated and light . We spoke with him as if he had not offended us at all : in fact we demonstrated this by calling him regularly and speaking with his wife and child as well.
When my wife tried again after our resolution of forgiveness, we were more than successful .
The forgiveness in practice really worked for us ! We could not have had an alternative !
Contributed article from a Forgiveness News subscriber.
Forgive and forget?
My friend said that the forgetting is more important than the forgiving. I immediately thought of Suzie and Otto's article "Forgive and Forget? We Don't Think So!". I asked my friend if he meant dealing with the emotions that I feel about what happened in the past. I said we don't forget what happened, yet we can change our emotional response to those times we recall what happened in the past.
As I thought about that conversation, it occurred to me that the intellectual exercise of forgiving is nowhere near as powerful as forgiving also from the heart.
Have you forgiven your mother?
When I was asked that question, my immediate reply was "yes".
The person who asked me the question doubted that I had. She said that I was projecting all that I had not forgiven my mother for on to her.
It is true. I do not look back at my experience of childhood as a joyful experience. I do have more empathy and understanding of Lesley, my mother than I did years ago. I know that she remained true to her values through many difficult times. I also know that some of her values are different from my own. I also miss the opportunity to be with her, since she died some years ago. I also know that as a father, I have put my daughter through some awful experiences. There have also been many great times.
It seems to me that I have not fully forgiven myself. Chances are that I am likely to have to the same extent not forgiven other people in my life.
After considering this subject for many months, it seems to me that there are at least two parties involved in each transaction. So often I hear of lenders accusing borrowers of not being responsible, yet not being responsible themselves for their own part in the transaction. A lender's responsibility includes managing his own risk. Blaming another person, I believe, is not being responsible.
Often there is more opportunity for both borrowers and lenders to learn if they are willing to forgive each other for their part in any problems that arise in the transaction. We all make mistakes. There will always be at least some errors of judgment. We may overlook some important details. I believe there is much more value in learning from our mistakes than there is in blaming others or ourselves for the time things do not turn out as expected.
I like forgiving people.
Not only do I enjoy being around people who forgive. I also enjoy forgiving.
I find those people who are willing to accept the realities of life without holding grudges, resentments, hurt and anger to be such a joy to be around. If they are facing difficult challenges in their lives, I find their ability to forgive an inspiration. I see opportunities for me to learn to more willingly accept the difficulties that I face in my own life. As I learn, I am more able to appreciate life and to contribute to others in their time of need.
Maybe there is really nothing to forgive.
As I forgive people in my life who I thought I had issues with, I often think "there is nothing to forgive. "
I was listening to a woman talking about Colin Tipping and Radical Forgiveness. She said "maybe we have nothing to forgive. All we have is our judgment about what happened (we are probably judging it as wrong or bad). And we have our lack of gratitude or appreciation for the strengths and lessons we gain from what happened." I often have difficulty accepting that point of view. However as I read Colin's book "Radical Forgiveness", and do the forgiveness exercises, I can easily enjoy the freedom, joy and peace that I experience as I think that way.
Why not forgive?
I have heard many reasons for not forgiving. Some of mine were "he has not yet displayed any remorse" or "I shouldn't have done what I did."
Other common ones are "how could you possibly forgive anybody for such a crime?" or "if I forgive her, she will probably just commit the same offence again."
Yet I feel inspired as I hear the words of those who do forgive. The woman who forgave the man who had killed her daughter. Instead of focusing on her loss, she began creating a future. She led her community's feelings about her daughter's untimely death away from vengeance and toward creating a safer environment.
As I read about our traditional retributive justice system that punishes offenders, I compare that with the Restorative Justice alternative. I see that withholding my forgiveness is making re-offending more likely. Not less.
Similarly my unwillingness to forgive myself only causes more pain. It does not cause me to improve my habits and behaviors.
Forgiveness allows me to let go of past hurts and resentments. I don't want them myself, and people I speak with say they don't either. Yet some people are still unwilling to forgive.
I was repairing an audio amplifier at work. I am an experienced electronic technician, however I was having great difficulty with this particular repair job. When I had replaced all the damaged components, I tested the amplifier. It was working well. However as I switched it off, a small puff of smoke came out of one component. It had failed, and I discovered that many parts had been damaged by the failure. I was feeling extremely disappointed. I felt frustrated as I thought about what to do next. I had already spent much more time and money's worth of components than the unit was worth. I wished that I had never started that repair.
Rather than risk wasting even more of my employer's money, I chose to give up any hope of completing the repair. I rang the customer, and he was disappointed that he was not going to get what he expected for the money he had already paid for a previous repair to the unit. I informed my manager, and he was disappointed that I had spent so much time and money on a repair that he was now not going to be paid for. I was also giving myself a hard time, blaming myself for the outcome.
I then thought about how I would feel if for example a car mechanic found my car uneconomical to repair after I had already spent money on it. I realized that I would probably be more accepting of his failure to deliver what I wanted. I actually experienced a broken timing belt in a Honda car a few years ago, and paid for fitting a replacement, only to discover that the car was not worth repairing. I held no grudge against the mechanic. Why, I thought was I so unwilling to forgive myself?
Forgiving our parents.
As I listen to people speaking of their relationships with their parents, I hear that almost all people desire more affinity, acceptance, love and relatedness than they are currently experiencing.
I see many actions that they could take to achieve the satisfaction that they want. Adam could let go of his expectation that his mother accept the lifestyle he and his partner have chosen. Betty could stop trying to make her mother be more like her. Catherine could stop blaming herself for her mother's sadness. Danny could stop blaming his mother for his frustrations. Edward could stop accusing his brother for having more than a fair share of his father's love. If each of these people were to focus more on forgiving themselves and their parents, their relationship with their parents could be far more satisfying. Such a change is likely to impact almost all of the other relationships in each of these peoples' lives.
Gratitude as a path to forgiveness.
There are times somebody does something that I dislike and I am not at all grateful. For example when some kind soul tidied up the room and I could not find that piece of paper that I left on the table with a phone number on it. I was upset instead of being grateful. I was complaining about somebody instead of appreciating the gesture and also learning to create a more effective system for recording important information. As I changed my attitude, I became grateful for the room being tidied. I thought about how much more easily I could find things in an uncluttered space. I forgave myself for being careless with the information, leaving it where it could easily get lost. After forgiving, I was able to wholeheartedly thank the person who cleaned the room. Did I find the phone number? Sometimes I learn my lessons the hard way!.
I enjoy being around some of my friends. They are generous. they are supportive. They are really up to something in their own lives. I admit that I often shut out other people. I am reluctant to give some people of my time.
Two people have recently challenged me to forgive other people for being where they are at in their lives. They have invited me to consider spending time, having a meal with, or even allowing into my home some people who I would have been reluctant to consider. So far I have only been forgiving and considering the possibility of allowing others in to my life.
We always need to forgive.
As I hear people speak of what they imagine would be a perfect world, I see descriptions of many different worlds. As we all currently live on one planet, there are many conflicts as most peoples' vision for the world in some ways conflicts with other peoples' vision. I have often discovered that an idea or a vision that I previously did not accept, is in fact valuable and useful. Some of the ideals which I previously cherished, I have learned to let go of, as I learn more about life. I know that I always have a choice. I can remain at war with people who believe differently from me. Or I can forgive them and forgive myself for our differences. I can of course also go beyond that and really appreciate the variety and aliveness that these differences bring to our lives.
Forgiving - an answer to my question.
I used to often ask myself the question "Am I OK? I had my doubts, and was often looking for reassurance. I have recently discovered that I would get more of the results I want for myself in my life by asking a more useful question such as "how can I share my acceptance and love more with others? As I ask myself this new question, I see many great opportunities for me to enjoy contributing more to people. A friendly greeting, a smile, a conversation or sharing about forgiveness are some ways I can enjoy sharing more with others.
Forgiving our parents.
As I look back at my own childhood years I remember times I visited the homes of my friends. I usually thought "I would love to live in this family instead of living with my own parents." I even preferred boarding school and did not look forward to the holidays. I now know my mother was doing her very best to be a good parent. My father, as he said, considered that my mother was doing more than enough for both parents, and chose to be less involved in parenting. As I have learned more about my parents' beliefs and values, I can more easily forgive them for the way they raised me. As I forgive them, I can more and more appreciate and be grateful for the strengths I have gained from my childhood. With this gratitude, I can enjoy life and contribute more to others.
You cannot have a great relationship unless
you fully forgive.
I was talking with my daughter. She was very upset and did not want to speak with me. I noticed some of my thoughts such as "after driving over an hour to visit you I would have expected..." I was actually thinking about myself instead of being with her. I quickly forgave myself for thinking that thought. I forgave her for not talking with me. There were not many words after that. Each of those few words were so powerful. I smiled as I drove home feeling joyful and satisfied.
Other sources of forgiveness news.
While reading the pages of this newsletter does have value, I believe that it is important to not overlook other important sources of forgiveness news. When faced by somebody who seems to be unwilling to forgive you, could that be a sign that you have not fully forgiven him or her?
Or is it a sign that there is somebody else in your life that you have not forgiven? .
Your mother? Your father? Yourself?
Or could it be an opportunity to stop judging that person who you see as unforgiving, and for you to be more compassionate towards him or her.
We feel more alive as we forgive.
There are times when I feel angry and hurt about what somebody did to me.
There are times when I feel disappointed or guilty about what I have done.
I do not feel so alive when I feel those feelings continuously for a long period of time.
I feel more alive when I feel a variety of different feelings.
I may feel happy. I may feel sad for a little while. I could feel scared at times, or feel excited.
I can move on from the anger and hurt by forgiving that somebody.
I can end that disappointment and guilt by forgiving myself.
Then after forgiving I can feel the greatest happiness, joy, love and excitement.
One of the major causes of family breakdown is a lack of forgiveness. I admit to having caused breakdown in my own family by my own unforgiveness.
As family members interact with each other, upsets can occur. That is almost avoidable. However the upsets can be resolved. Family members can forgive each other and live harmoniously. Unless they resolve issues and forgive, resentment will build.
We see so many examples of family members refusing to speak with each other. Husband and wife being angry or disappointed with each other or with their children. Adults remaining unfriendly towards their parents.
All of these relationships can be restored to at least some extent by following the forgiveness process.
It seems as though other family members change for the better when I forgive. I do not have to wait for them to work on forgiveness for the relationships to heal. I can begin the process anytime, the sooner the better!
Our modern psychology places so much emphasis on the nurturing capabilities of parents and the effects on the child's psyche. I do feel that this is extraordinarily narrow thinking since significant others in a child's life include siblings, grandparents and other rellies, day carers and teachers.
Additional to these relationship experiences is the relationship of the child with the community.
My personal process in my life journey has now reached the stage of coming to terms with my childhood experience of covert exclusion from community. There will no doubt be quite some forgiveness work to be explored here.
I've been reminded recently that a wounding experience in childhood often leads an adult life of exceptional motivation to both heal that wound within self and assist others of similar experience to do so as well. And so, I've spent a lot of years now working on woundings at a personal level and very involved in activities that encourage cohesive joyful loving community.
But how to complete the forgiveness process when the exclusion I experienced as a child was a result of the religious prejudices of a highly conservative community directed against my parents? I just "happened" to be tarred with the same brush by birth.
Claiming the feelings of shame and loneliness as a child is my pathway of healing. I also see that I am able to better understand the pressures that my parents experienced, and how this has impacted on their capacity and ability to nurture their children.
So it seems very important to me now that we explore our childhood experiences within the context of the tone of the community in which we were raised.
I'd appreciate hearing others' experiences of community in childhood and how this has shaped their lives.
Please do share this email with the forgiveness network.
You can post a reply on http://forgivenessnews.blogspot.com (anonymously if you want)
or email email@example.com
Examples of forgiveness
As I listen to many of the conversations around me I notice a lack of forgiveness. There is a common belief that forgiving a person will only encourage him to offend again. Often we may tell our friends how we have been badly treated by somebody, and our friends are all too willing to sympathize, leaving us remaining as powerless victims.
Yet there are some people who are more willing to be responsible for their lives. They see even some of the most shocking events as opportunities to learn, to grow, and to contribute. They do not wallow in self pity. They may passionately create projects that deal with the root causes of problems. For example those who support restorative justice, a system where the offender faces the victim in a facilitated conference, allowing the possibility of making amends, seeing more into each others lives, resolving issues and reducing the chances of more offences. They may not always achieve the desired results, however they do have the personal satisfaction of having done all they can to forgive and complete the past.
How do you feel about forgiveness?
As I hear different people speak about forgiveness, I observe various feelings. Pain and sadness from a lack of forgiveness or from the past. Relief and joy from having been forgiven, or having forgiven somebody. Happiness and pleasure from healing of relationships. Aliveness from communicating freely with family members and others. I feel excited as I love to see and hear more about forgiveness, and to share that with others.
I enjoy reading about forgiveness. I smile as I hear of people who have been forgiven. I love hearing people tell me about their own experience of having forgiven.
Yet sometimes I do miss the greatest joy. I am spending so much time reading about forgiveness and listening to others telling me about forgiving and not spending so much of my time forgiving.
I get to experience the real benefits of forgiveness by applying what I learn about forgiveness. I learn the most about forgiveness by forgiving. There may be somebody I could forgive. I may have to confront my fears to face somebody with whom I have an issue, and speak to him face to face to really forgive him. It would be wise for me to have some supportive friends as I do that. It would also useful for me to have a counsellor who I can call as I do not know what thoughts, feelings and emotions I will experience, or how he or I will respond.
Are there some things I have done that I could forgive myself for? I can be more honest with myself and others as I forgive myself and admit to what I have done in the past. I feel relief and freedom as I do that
Why do I write about forgiveness?
A friend asked me why I wrote about forgiveness so often. He said "It would take a lot of time and effort to do that."
I love sharing the joy of forgiveness with others. I am thankful to those who taught me to forgive. I hate seeing people missing out on joy, love and relatedness in their life because of unforgiveness. I used to be unforgiving, and I thank my family and friends for teaching me about forgiveness and encouraging me to forgive. I enjoy passing on that spirit of forgiveness to others.
"I had not spoken to him for at least 7 years. I had felt angry, and I had refused to communicate with him ever again. Recently I began to realize that my attitude towards him was causing me unnecessary pain. I wrote a letter to him, forgiving him for what he had done all those years ago. I was feeling peaceful and relieved after having written the letter. I felt uncomfortable as I thought about taking it to the mailbox to post it. It had been a difficult letter to write, as I had such painful memories. I was also feeling some guilt about having shut him out of my life. I was glad to have completed it, though I may not send it. I will call him instead."
Forgiveness improves the quality of
When I entered their house I felt uneasy as I sensed the disharmony. Even though the man and his wife warmly greeted me and welcomed me into their home, I could sense that all was not well between them. They were not communicating with each other. He was complaining to me about women in general. I don't think he has forgiven his mother! He certainly was not forgiving his wife for not meeting his expectations of her. I believe that she also was very unwilling to forgive him. I sensed her anger and frustration, though she did not tell me her grievances.
I much preferred visiting other houses, where I experienced people being more forgiving of themselves and of each other. They are able to communicate much more effectively, and are more willing to grow and learn from each other.
Others forgive me more when I
A friend recommended that I forgive myself more. At first I was reluctant to do that. I thought that I had good self discipline, however I later began to realize that in fact I was often just being hard on myself. I was not forgiving myself for some of my mistakes and failures. I had unrealistic expectations of myself. I would get upset when I did not meet those expectations. As I started being more forgiving towards myself, I noticed that other people began to be more forgiving towards me.
Forwarded email mentions
I was sent an email. I laughed as I read it. It is an imaginary conversation between Technical Support and a Customer.
I sometimes wish I could get those results as quickly in real life as the customer did in that call.
It includes the following instructions for "turning off Grudge and Resentment"
"Tech Support: ...... invoke Forgiveness. Do this as many times as necessary until Grudge and Resentment have been completely erased.
Customer: Okay, done!"
Forgiving to be free of the past
I used to feel angry at some people who were just being friendly and helpful. I eventually discovered that I was really angry about some other people from much earlier in my life, and my rage was being triggered by ways that I was reminded of those people from my past. Since I have been forgiving each of the people from my earlier years, those angry feelings have gone. I can still get angry at people at times. However it is now much less often and is usually directly related to what is happening now.
It is nice. It is nice to be forgiven. It is nice to forgive. The sense of accomplishment after doing the sometimes difficult work of forgiving has often brought satisfaction to me in addition to the joy of healing relationships. The feeling of relief as I let go of what happened in the past and the excitement and anticipation as I see the possibility of a future that I previously would never have imagined possible.
Forgiving him for
I again arrived late at work. I was upset, and annoyed that I did not arrive on time. I had no excuses such as heavy traffic to blame for my lateness. I had expected myself to be on time. I knew that I had chosen to do a few extra tasks at home before going to work. But instead of accepting the results my own decision, I was being upset that I was not on time. I then thought about some of the other people there, and the comments they make whenever anybody arrives late. I noticed that they do not always forgive those who arrive late. I was not forgiving myself for being late. However the unforgiving attitude does not seem to be making all of us arrive on time. I think I tend to rush, being less effective and often forgetting things. However when I forgive myself, I am more able to focus on what really needs to be done. I get to work feeling more relaxed and ready to start the day's work.
Forgiving instead of gossiping
I get upset with a person and I blame her for my being upset, disappointed or angry. Then I go and complain about her to somebody else. Very few people will point out that I am blaming instead of being responsible. It is much easier to gossip about her than to forgive her for what she does. I find many people love to join me in my criticism of her. They will agree with my complaining. I complain instead of confronting the real issues.
When I chose to forgive, I can more clearly see what is really happening. I can learn new ways to solve the problems that I am having. I can then have less to complain about. I can then do things that are much more productive, fulfilling, satisfying and enjoyable than gossiping.
Am I forgiving?
I still feel angry when I hear about the way she treats her son. I do my best to be supportive towards her, and actively listen to her as she speaks of her difficulties being a new mother. While I realize that she has a right to bring up her child the way she chooses, I still in some ways judge her actions. I would love to see her being more committed to the task of being a mother. Do I need to forgive myself for feeling angry or is my anger a sign that I need to forgive her? My anger could be about my feeling of helplessness from my inability to change the way she treats her son. It may be time for me to examine what triggers me to feel that way. I may have somebody in my past that I have not forgiven.
Forgiving is different
I can forgive anybody anytime. I do not have to wait for them to earn forgiveness. I only need complete the forgiveness process and forgive. I may need to deal with my pain, anger or sadness as I forgive.
I may be unable to trust a person, especially if they have repeatedly been untrustworthy. Either I would need to manage my risk, or the other person would need to earn my trust before I would consider trusting him again.
I can forgive yet still not trust. By forgiving, I can be free from the resentment of past events. Life can be more enjoyable and trust may be regained more quickly and reliably by forgiving.
Forgiving yet being a stand for
How can I forgive myself or somebody else for mediocrity yet still be a stand for excellence? To me it sounds paradoxical. Does forgiving mean accepting actions that are less than my best? Does it mean embracing the behaviors of others that I personally find appalling?
I admit that I do not know the answers to those questions. However it has been my experience and the experience of many people who I know, that forgiving allows a whole new possibility for the present moment. Instead of experiencing regret about what happened years ago, I can be grateful for what I have learned and the strengths I have gained from the experience. From that a whole new future can be created.
important for living.
"Forgiveness is a good thing. Easier to forgive others more than ourselves...but we must in order to survive"
Forgiveness may be necessary for our survival. It allows us to enjoy and appreciate more in our lives and we can contribute more to others. I believe that forgiveness is essential for living life fully.
Being a great friend by forgiving.
Jane told me that I was "beating myself up" for not turning up at the appointment. It was true that I was giving myself a hard time about missing the meeting. She said that I was being very unfriendly to myself with my unforgiving attitude. I do not want to miss appointments, however I was feeling very unwilling to make any more appointments for fear of being late. Another friend said "you did not keep that commitment, however think for a moment of all those commitments you do keep. I chose to acknowledge myself for what I do achieve and forgive myself for those times I don't. After that I became more free and willing to make other commitments that I want to make.
Being responsible and forgiving.
Instead of blaming and being a victim, we can choose to take our own responsibility and forgive.
For example, when a friend asked me to send a message for her. Instead of blaming her for causing me to arrive at work late, I can realize that I chose to perform that task for her at the time that I would normally leave for work. I can forgive myself for being late on that occasion, and I may choose to be on time on other days. I may not have to forgive her - she had not broken any agreement by asking me to perform the task at that time. However I may still feel angry at her, in which case I can do a forgiveness exercise to get over it.
Forgiving - is it worth it?
Often the process of forgiving requires commitment. Real effort is sometimes required if we are to resist the temptation to remain unforgiving. I admit that I often would prefer to just forget about an incident rather than think of it again for the purpose of forgiving those involved.
Yet the price of unforgiveness is high. We have less vitality. Unresolved feelings of pain, hurt or embarrassment can resurface at any time. Even accidents and disease can be experienced by those who do not forgive. While I was driving one day, the car in front of me proceeded across a pedestrian crossing even though he was facing a red traffic signal. I felt angry as I remembered the time a car had driven through a red light when I was walking across a crossing the previous month. I had not forgiven that driver, and now was in a rage instead of focusing on my driving. I was being a very unsafe driver and nearly caused a traffic accident.
The benefits of forgiveness include the joy of being in the present moment. The ability to appreciate and enjoy people more. Peace and relationship. Productivity and personal satisfaction.
I acknowledge those who do make the effort to forgive.
Forgiving makes being
with "difficult people" enjoyable.
Some of my friends have at times complained that certain people are difficult to be with. One of my friends began to do some forgiveness exercises. The following week she was happy to report that she was no longer finding her boss difficult to be with.
I had also been practicing a forgiveness process myself, and have also noticed that I no longer have much difficulty being with those people I was previously finding frustrating to be with. I feel relieved, knowing that I do not have to change these people to make them enjoyable to be with. I simply need to make my own changes in the way I think of these people. By accepting, appreciating and forgiving them, I can enjoy the times I am with them.
Forgiving by letting go of
expectations that do not serve us.
A friend mentioned an inspiring quote by Byron Katie. I knew it was from her book "Loving what is". I was glad to find that book still on my bookshelf, and started reading it again. As I read, I realized that I am still in some ways expecting the past to be different from the way it was. It seems such a futile expectation, and there are, as Byron Katie recommends, other more practical ways for me to think. I can really question my beliefs about the past. Was it actually true? Or was it just a story that I made up about what happened? Does my judging what happened serve me? Does it make any difference to the past or does it only cause me pain?
Now, after rereading some of her book, I can see where I have not been so forgiving. I can more easily let go of my judgments and forgive.
Having a forgiving attitude.
I have noticed that I really appreciate and enjoy people having a forgiving attitude. I feel more relaxed and alive in their presence. Having noticed that, I consider that it would be valuable for me to learn to also have a forgiving attitude for the benefit of others. But how do I deal with another person's behaviors that I do not like? That is a question that seems to be asked by many people who are reluctant to forgive. There is a fear that forgiving somebody who is behaving in an undesired manner will encourage that behavior. Yet in my own experience, a forgiving attitude much more often brings a desired outcome than an unforgiving attitude. I admit that I have often been unforgiving of others when I have been fearful, angry, hurt or tired. However I am committed to forgive find much joy in forgiving.
Being forgiven and forgiving myself.
On Friday I was riding my bicycle on my way to work. I rode too close to a van which was stopped in traffic. My back pack bumped noisily on the side of the van. I was late, and in a hurry to get to work so I did not stop. I knew the van, and the person who was most likely to have been driving it at the time, and I felt guilty for what I had done. On Sunday, I apologized to the owner of the van. She said that she was relieved to know that I was not hurt. She had been very worried that she may have injured a cyclist, though realized that she was stopped at the time. I think we were both happy that I had visited her to apologize. I am glad that she is so forgiving. I was easily able to forgive myself with her forgiving attitude.
Forgiving but not forgetting.
There are are some things that I have done in the past that I really wish I had not done. I do not seem to be able to forget what I did. However I can take the advice of relationship coaches Susie and Otto Collins "instead of forgiving and forgetting, we have to forgive and let go."
I appreciate their recommendation. There are always triggers that remind me of what happened, however when I have let go of my judgments, pain and various emotions about what happened, I can be more free of my past.
The job I was working on took longer than I had planned for. I chose to complete it that afternoon, which meant that I would be late for my evening class. Even though I had made the choice to be late, I was still unwilling to forgive myself for my lateness. The class leader drew my attention to the fact that I had chosen to be late, and that I seemed to have an unforgiving attitude towards myself for being late. He said that it was not a problem to him that I arrived at that time. He recommended that I arrive late next week as an exercise in dealing with my attitude towards myself. At first I was shocked at the idea. I have since realized that my unforgiving attitude towards myself does not work for me and the people around me.
Forgiveness brings great joy.
I saw the family and friends happy and smiling as the two baby girls were playing. I noticed that whenever either of those very young girls did anything that anybody thought was wrong, everybody seemed very willing to forgive them. "no, you do not throw your plate on the floor when you have eaten enough" was said in a firm and forgiving way. The smiles were able to resume within a minute. The joy and laughter continued even before the spilled food was cleaned up off the floor. Yet adults do not usually display this same forgiving attitude towards each other very often. If an older child or an adult happens to spill anything, others often tend to remain upset for long after any mess is cleaned up. Maybe we could have more joy by forgiving more quickly.
Forgiving instead of judging.
I overheard the comment "he is very judgmental". On hearing the tone of voice with which that comment was made, I thought that the person speaking did not like him being that way. I started thinking "are both people being judgmental?" There did not seem to be much joy or relatedness between the two of them. They seemed to be unwilling or unable to resolve some issues between them. These two people made me even more appreciate my friends who remain warm and generous to me, even though I do at times make mistakes that impact on them. For example, I wasted an hour of a workmate's time by misreading the street directory when he was driving me to a job. I was very happy with the bargain that we struck. He would not dock me an hour's pay if I purchased an up to date street directory for him. What a great start the following week seeing him excitedly pick up that new edition. Sure, friends may get upset at times, yet they seem to quickly forgive and get over their upset.
Bodymind Complete Forgiveness.
Thanks to Peter for initiating the forgiveness network and keeping the subject up there.
For me, the forgiveness process is key to the development of compassion. But not something we can force, co-erce or manipulate within the self in any way.
In my work as a healing practitioner and in my experiences of relationship in my life, Iím becoming increasingly aware of the need to honour and integrate both the primal and mental states of being, in a bodymind approach to forgiveness.
I may find it within my capacity to have the intent to forgive and even to mentally let go of an issue, but the primal body has its own knowings and a mind of its own. It makes decisions that are very appropriate for my safety and well-being and will deliver clear messages about further contact with people from whom Iíve experienced unhealthy behaviour.
However, it may also make conflicting decisions about these same people according to primal imprints laid down in early childhood eg a bond of love/dependance with an abusive parent. Untangling this in the forgiveness process is quite some challenge. Many of us face this difficult healing process within the socialisation of our dysfunctional westernised society.
So I might experience forgiveness in my thinking, but have two concurrent feeling states that are resisting forgiveness in my being. One state has a gut knowing that giving an abusive or manipulative person an inch of my good nature will mean opening the door to the attempt to take a mile. The other state is a feeling bond that would attempt to draw me back into interaction with the person. So what to do with the internal conflict within the being? Patience with myself is my personal remedy...and this is also strong stuff in the development of compassion.
Meanwhile, the healthy solution is the development of appropriate boundaries, and winging it until I can fly. Boundary setting goes hand in hand with the forgiveness process for me. After all, who would ever realise that their behaviour is offensive or abusive to another unless that other person makes it clear to them that it is not appreciated?
The hardest situations for me are those where I experience obviously abusive behaviour from another and the person offers no admission of the behaviour, nor any apology, not at any time, not ever. Thatís just plain hard forgiveness work.
What makes it happen for me is time and personal distance so that the feeling bond decreases in intensity while I practice winging the boundary setting. The mental forgiveness process then helps me to be more objective and compassionate about the personís behaviour. The feeling state then eventually, in its own sweet time, allows a forgiveness within my being and the boundary becomes automatic with no fear of, and often no interest in further interaction with the person.
So what Iím saying is this...in my experience, the intent to forgive is one thing, but complete forgiveness belongs to a full integration of the primal reaction and response states of the bodymind with our mental intent. And such is the work of being human.
With love from Ilyhana http://earthsoulscience.com
Forgiving for our own benefit.
She said "I will never forgive you for what you did". I immediately thought about the pain that she was continuing to inflict on herself by holding on to the past like that. I said "you are choosing to give only yourself a hard time by not forgiving." I believe that I had already learned most of the lessons with how we both suffered from what I had done all those years ago. I would have liked her to forgive for her own sake. She was only punishing herself with her unwillingness to forgive me. She was not hurting me. I am confident that I would never again do what I did all those years ago. I have forgiven myself for what I did. I have also forgiven her for her part in it, though in that instance I had been the main cause of that particular difficulty way back then. I do not believe that she deserves the punishment that she is giving herself by refusing to forgive.
Forgiveness is a courageous act.
I said that I had forgiven him for what he did. My friend was shocked. She said "You are just acting weak letting him get away with it like that". I thought about it over a few days. I decided to retain a forgiving attitude, and to speak with him about the way his actions impacted on me. I was glad that he was willing to talk about that. He also apologized. My friend had warned me that he would not be likely to talk about it, and he most certainly would not apologize.
When I told my friend about my conversation with him, she was impressed that I had confronted him. I admit that I was tempted to not bother after hearing my friend's advice!
I believe that forgiving and speaking with him is more a sign of strength than a weakness.
I have since read of other people who have forgiven others for actions that have had much greater impact on them than what his actions had on me. It seems to me that they are being very courageous to go against the prevailing attitudes and to forgive.
Why forgiveness is so necessary.
Each of us makes mistakes. That is the way we learn. When we forgive ourselves and each other for the mistakes that we do make, we can much more enjoy each other, and learn and grow.
Also every person in this world has different values. For example I may be committed to excellent health, and my friend may be more committed to enjoying a delicious dessert. I could get unnecessarily upset if I am unwilling to forgive my friend for his choice of food. Similarly my friend could cause problems if he was unwilling to forgive me for denying him the pleasure of joining him and eating dessert with him.
We never really know everything about every event that happens. By forgiving ourselves and other people in our lives for what we think they may have caused, we can avoid making incorrect judgments about each other.
Forgiving does not deny us the opportunity of speaking about our concerns about behaviours and actions. It does actually free us to have really productive conversations about what may have happened. Nearly everybody will be more open to correction, and less defensive when we are more forgiving.
Forgiving her partner.
She was very upset. Her boyfriend had not rung her, and he was not answering his phone. She felt hurt and was very angry at him. The more he tried to avoid her, the more she attempted to connect with him. The more she pursued him, the more he tried to avoid her. She was unwilling to forgive him for withdrawing. He remained unwilling to forgive his parents and other people in his life that he thought were nagging him. He also was unforgiving of himself, and giving himself a hard time.
Forgiving myself and forgiving
I had started noticing that some people seemed to be less friendly towards me. I asked one of my friends why that may be happening. He replied "who are you being that they occur for you that way?" I felt disappointed with his answer. I grumbled "what do you mean who am I being?" Fortunately my friend is very forgiving, and allowed me to be with those thoughts for a while. Later I began to see that he was being a true friend to me, and I apologized for being so unwilling to listen to what he had said. The truth is that I had made some mistakes, and was being unforgiving of myself as I suffered the consequences. I was thinking more about the difficulties that I had created for myself than the valuable lessons that I had learned from what I had done.
He pointed out to me that I was much more willing to forgive children than adults. I knew that was true, and I started thinking about it. In a way I was not really forgiving. I was just rationalizing, thinking "they are just children and they do not know any better". He said "often children do know what they are doing!" I began to see where I was just guessing the reasons why people did what they did, and I was choosing to forgive or not forgive depending on my guess. I began to realize that I could start forgiving more, instead of judging the thoughts and actions of people.
Forgiving in relationships.
She was complaining to me about her boyfriend. "I end up doing most of the work myself" she said. I was tempted to advise her about ways to have his unwillingness to do his share of the chores impact on him instead of her. I listened to her, and as she shared more about her difficulties and frustrations, I noticed that she was unwilling to forgive him until he started doing more of the chores. I thought "she may have to wait a long time" as he seems to be quite happy to have her do the chores. If she would forgive him, she would be more easily able to negotiate and make workable agreements for dealing with the household chores.
Life is so much more satisfying when
I do not like the way so many people behave. I can continue to get upset that they do not behave in the way I would like them to. Or I can forgive them for behaving the way they do. I have noticed that when I choose to not forgive them, I remain upset, and those people will usually continue to behave in the same way they usually do. Yet when I forgive them, I can much more easily communicate with them and I am no longer disappointed or angry. When I forgive, sometimes people have even been willing to listen as I explain the impact that their behavior has caused. Looking back, I can see that I have missed out on a lot of personal satisfaction all those times that I have not forgiven.
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Forgiving those who do not forgive.
I was thinking about not forgiving him until until the time that he became willing to forgive me. I was reluctant to forgive him, as I wanted him to learn to initiate the forgiveness. Yet he seemed to remain unwilling to forgive. I asked other people, and most believed that he should forgive first. I researched about this and noticed that most people are unwilling to forgive. I realized that he may never forgive me, and if I follow other people's advice, I would just be another unforgiving person. That is not what I am committed to being. So I forgave him, and he forgave me.
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Forgiving saves us from being repeatedly upset.
"I felt angry when he parked his car so close to my car that it was difficult for me to get in to my own car. I was annoyed, and thought about how inconsiderate he was in doing that. I was upset for most of the day after that."
When somebody does something that I do not like, I can choose to continue to remain upset, or I can choose to forgive him and allow myself to enjoy the day instead. Until I forgive him, I will tend to remain upset. I may feel as though I have completely forgotten about what happened, however when anything even remotely similar happens, my memory will be triggered. If I have not forgiven him, I will again be upset as I recall the event when my memory is triggered. But if I have forgiven him, I will no longer be upset as I recall that event that happened in the past.
I may also need to forgive myself for getting so angry at him. It is natural to feel rage when I am inconvenienced. With conscious effort, I can choose to get over what happened in the past. I can forgive.
Forgiveness and self expression
We limit our self expression by not forgiving.
Whatever we do impacts other people as well as affecting ourselves. Often the effect of our actions is not what we expected. If we are to live and learn, we will often cause both desired and undesired results.
We could choose to limit our self expression, thus limiting both our desired results and our undesired outcomes.
Or we can forgive ourselves and others for undesired outcomes, and live our lives more fully.
A lesson in forgiveness
Hearing on the news stories of a huge natural disaster and seeing pictures in the newspapers and on television of the devastation have left me feeling shocked and horrified.
I have heard people blaming governments and individuals for the losses being so great. After hearing several people asking why God would cause such a horrendous event, I started thinking about that question. I initially thought that we as humans take risks. That is part of life. Some times we get away with taking those risks. Other times we don't. Years ago somebody recommended that I move up to the mountains to avoid a big tidal wave. I chose not to, as I did not want to, and I considered the risk comparatively small. By chance I got away with it as this time I live far enough away from the occurrence. I can imagine where living with such beautiful friendly people could be well worth the risks of being wiped out maybe once every few thousand years.
I also learned to take more risks in interacting with people in my life. I used to blame others whenever I got upset. I tried to protect and isolate myself from others in order to avoid the risk. I would forever hold resentment toward them for all sorts of things and blamed them for my feelings of sadness, disappointment and pain.
I now consider that being at least a certain amount open is preferable to trying to play it safe. I can be responsible for times I do feel hurt by forgiving those people and accepting my own choice to take the risk. I can enjoy life so much more. I accept that I may experience joy, sadness, happiness, hurt and anger. By willingly embracing and accepting all those emotions I can more easily forgive.
Time to forgive
He had asked me for the loan of the money, and promised to repay it at the end of December 2004. However shortly before the end of the year, when I noticed he had bought some things for himself, I wondered if he had left himself enough money to repay me. He hadn't. I was really angry.
I stopped and thought about it for a moment. I could see that I could blame him for my anger, or I could take responsibility for having risked lending my money to him.
Later, I noticed that I still felt just as angry. It was not getting any better. I put my boxing gloves on and expressed my rage by hitting the punching bag. At least I could think more clearly about him after that. I then wrote a forgiveness letter, not for the purpose of giving to him, but for me to practice forgiving him. That was the easy part, and I felt complete in less than 5 minutes. I then spent more than half an hour forgiving myself for having lent him the money.
Who do you need to forgive?
I know that as a parent, I have in some ways been really great, yet I have also made some mistakes that have caused my 18 year old daughter a lot of pain.
She often tells me how much support I have selflessly given her.
She is so willing to forgive me for my shortcomings.
I believe that one of the reasons that she sees me as such a great dad is that she is so willing to forgive me.
As a parent, I want my daughter to be responsible for herself in her life. I do not want her to to blame me for her life not working out the way she wants.
As I see so many people who have not forgiven their parents, I am extremely glad that my daughter has chosen to be responsible by forgiving me. She has inspired me to forgive myself.
Forgiving is not so hard
"He slipped and fell. He hurt himself badly because the concrete surface he landed on was not very forgiving"
I thought about what was said. Not thinking about the hard surface, but in stead I was thinking about the pain and suffering when people are not willing to forgive. The accident had happened a few days earlier and already he had almost fully recovered. While I was glad to hear that he had healed physically, I would have liked to see him get over his attitude towards the young girl who he believed caused him to fall. She had learned from her mistake. She had apologized. What more could she do?
Forgiving her for getting angry.
She was furious with her boyfriend. "He keeps acting as a victim and that makes me so angry" she said. As an outsider I could clearly see the vicious circle that the two of them could not break out of. The more he acts helpless, the more she gets angry. The more she gets angry, the more he acts helpless. He believed that he shouldn't get angry and was trying not to express that emotion. She is willing to express her anger, yet is blaming him for causing her to be angry. He is also trying to suppress her anger, and she will not allow that. I am not surprised that she feels angry when he tries to stop her from expressing her self.
He is unwilling to forgive her for being angry. He does not forgive himself for feeling angry. Yet he does not yet realize what he is missing out on by not forgiving her and not forgiving himself.
Move into the new year with Forgiveness
Get off to a great start and make 2005 an outstanding year by forgiving. What happened in 2004 happened in the past. In stead of carrying over into the new year any resentments and hurts from the old year, we can choose start afresh. Before thinking of new years resolutions, we can first choose to clear out the mental garbage that could stand in the way. Do that by forgiving ourselves and others for what was done in the past. That way we can create an amazing 2005.
I have started by reflecting on 2004, and looking at my failures, and doing a forgiveness process on the ones about which I still feel disappointed or angry at my self. My next step is to think of people in my life, and forgive them. I am looking forward to celebrating my completion of that, and an exciting start to an outstanding new year. Regardless of how much I have completed, I will declare it complete and celebrate at midnight!
Fighting Terror with Forgiveness
Read complete article.
1. Select a bitter sorrow, a serious grievance against someone, or a punishing charge against yourself, and review it in complete detail.
2. Hold in your mind the image of whatever is to be forgiven -≠ yourself, another person, a past event ≠- and say, ďI release you from the grip of my sadness, disapproval, or condemnation.Ē Concentrate quietly on this intention.
3. Imagine for a while what your life will be like without the sorrow or grievance that has been haunting you.
4. Make amends with someone youíve hurt or someone who has hurt you; tell a friend about your self-forgiveness; or otherwise bring your inner work to your relationships.
5. Ask for Godís help to overcome fear or resistance at any step. If you do not believe in God, ask for help from nature, humanity, and the mysteries of your own mind. These are the channels through which aid is sent -≠ and aid is always sent.
6. Have patience. Forgiveness induces healing which follows its own order and timing. Whether you think you have accomplished anything thus far is less important than the fact that you have attempted a radical act that will call forth change likely to exceed your expectations. Go about your daily business, but stay alert to unexpected shifts in your thinking, feeling, and relationships.
7. Repeat steps 1 through 6 as often as necessary, for life.
Thatís it! You can fight terror today by forgiving the next little thing that bugs you ≠- and then forgive whatever comes next. Rest assured that on your way to greater peace, sharper intelligence, and a true fearlessness, youíll always find plenty of opportunities to forgive.
© 2004 by D. Patrick Miller. Reprinted with the permission of the author. ďSeven Steps of ForgivenessĒ appear in the Tenth Anniversary Edition of A LITTLE BOOK OF FORGIVENESS: Challenges and Meditations for Anyone with Something to Forgive by D. Patrick Miller, Fearless Books 2004. Available in bookstores everywhere or direct from the publisher at www.fearlessbooks.com.
"If you are suffering at the hands of a bad person, forgive him, least there be 2 bad people"
Author unknown. Contributed by Pamy http://blaines.us/PamyPlace.htm
Expect to to forgive more, not less.
I used to believe that as I learned and grew, that I would become more perfect, make less mistakes and not have to forgiven as much. I have attempted to be "good" however I discovered that not everybody agrees on what is good or bad. I have also tried to avoid upsetting people. I learned that while there is value in being considerate to others, there are many times that I need to speak up at the risk of somebody getting upset. Only by doing that can we learn and grow. I will need to be forgiven for the times that I have caused hurt or pain.
Friends, family and other people will also need to be forgiven as they learn and grow. The more willing we are to forgive, the more we can all learn and grow.
A time to forgive and move on.
For many of us, Christmas is a time to get together with our families. Yet it is not always the joyful occasion that it could be.
I was inspired by one couple who chose to forgive their former partners. They had chosen to let go of the past and move on.
Another couple chose to forgive their parents. The woman chose to forgive her mother, and accept her the way she is. That made the family Christmas celebration so much more joyful. The man chose to forgive his father. Knowing a little about their past, I acknowledge him for his courage and generosity in choosing to do that.
I was so moved by the willingness of each of these people to forgive. It brought so much joy to the family get-together. They have given me one of the best gifts this Christmas by forgiving.
Should I forgive?
She said "you should reward the people who deserve to be rewarded in stead of forgiving those people who really don't deserve to be treated well." I immediately thought "her belief is similar to what I used to believe years ago." I was tempted to argue with her, as I thought she was wrong. I looked at her and noticed how angry she appeared. I was glad that I had chosen not to argue. I have more useful ways of spending my time than just arguing!
Years ago I often remained angry whenever anybody did things that I disagreed with. I rarely spoke openly about my upset. Since then, I have learned to communicate more, and to accept that other people do not always do things in the way I think they should. I have learned to forgive others and am learning to forgive myself.
She does have a point, though. I could acknowledge more and reward those people who are willing to support me and give to me. And still forgive even though she may not agree.
Forgiveness saves energy
I was feeling frustrated. I was still upset that Tom had arrived at work so late. Things just did not seem to be going well that day. My friend rang, and I answered the phone abruptly. I did not appreciate being interrupted with a phone call at work. I reluctantly listened to her as she asked me how I was. I thought "I am running late and I don't have time for this." I really was not listening to her at all. By mid morning I felt exhausted. I sat down and actually fell asleep. I woke when Tom came into the room. I realized what I had been doing. I apologized to Tom for having been asleep when I was expected to be working. He forgave me for that and asked that I manage myself better in future.
I forgave Tom for arriving so late, and asked that he either arrive on time or ring me to let me know if he would be late. He happily agreed to do that, and explained that there would be times when he would not arrive on time. I said that would be OK as long as it was not too often, and that he let me know before the time he was expected at work. The rest of the day was much easier. I actually felt great by the time I went home. I also apologized to my friend for treating her so abruptly when she rang, and felt relieved as I forgave her for interrupting me at work.
She mentioned that she had not received a reply from her letter. I thought "oh no!" I had forgotten to post it nearly a week ago. I did not know what to do. I apologized and admitted that it was still not posted. I could hear that she was upset. I saw the shocked expression on her face as I told her. Normally she would either become silent, or otherwise she would loudly express her annoyance. Not this time however. She stopped for a moment, breathed deeply and looked straight at me. She said "I accept your apology" in a way which was gentle, yet firm. I was surprised. I stopped feeling defensive. I stopped thinking of excuses. I could see that she had not only been inconvenienced considerably by my carelessness. She had also been generous enough to forgive me for letting her down. I thought "never again will I allow that to happen" as I recalled what I had done.
By forgiving me, she caused me to be responsible for my actions in stead of justifying myself with excuses, or blaming her or others.
Forgiveness and Restorative Justice
An excerpt from an article written by Jim Consedine
In many respects forgiveness is probably the most difficult of all human virtues to practise. Yet it remains central to any lasting restorative process, personal or collective, though itís importance is often underrated and unspoken. On the surface it sometimes seems an unfair thing to attempt given the pain caused by an injustice. But practising forgiveness is a foundation stone for healthy living. It is the step we need to take to be free of the ongoing negative effects of past injustice. It has transformative qualities not found elsewhere. To decide to forgive is to create a different future from one controlled by events from the past. It doesnít mean forgetting the past. It means remembering the past in a different way, leaving one free to develop the future. One becomes re-empowered to choose a future not controlled by events from the past.
Forgiving - is it one of the
most difficult things to do?
I was talking with a friend yesterday, and she said "forgiving is one of the most difficult things for anybody to do."
I looked at her in surprise as I thought that I do many activities that I consider much more difficult than forgiving. I said "You mean forgiving on a really deep level." She quietly said "yes". I thought to myself "I will take up that challenge."
Another friend suggested that most of us are not completely willing to forgive. We resist. We hold on to the past in stead of moving on. Maybe some of us more than others. Or we may usually forgive but there may be one or more people who we do not want to forgive completely.
Forgiveness - a gift you can afford to give to everybody.
Less than two weeks before Christmas I am hearing so many people speak about the expense of buying Christmas presents for family and friends. The sound and the intensity of the complaints seem louder than the joyful Christmas music almost everywhere.
I acknowledge the generosity of giving, and that it can take time, effort and money to purchase a suitable gift for each person.
Yet some of the joy is often missing.
I invite you to consider giving up all past resentments. Forgiving each and every person for what they have done in the past. Also forgiving yourself for what you have done. It may be well worth the time and effort that it takes. It may result in more satisfaction than spending all of that time, effort and money in crowded stores.
Am I a forgiveness expert?
I am more an enthusiast than an expert about forgiveness. I hate seeing the pain caused by unforgiveness. I am appalled at the waste of human lives and resources caused by a desire for retribution. I enjoy experiencing harmonious relationships. I like seeing people move on from the past. I want to become more forgiving. I am excited to see how many great resources are available for me to learn to forgive. I enjoy sharing about forgiveness. I really love seeing those who learn about forgiveness sharing about their experience so others can also learn to forgive.
Is forgiveness a strength or is it a weakness?
"How can you just let him get away with it?" she demanded. I could hear her fear that her former partner would continue to hurt people. She was pleading for me to do something about it. I was attempting to be with her and hear her concerns. I thought for a moment about how some people had said that my father was weak, and wondered if I was being weak. I quickly decided to speak with her former partner later, and I continued to actively listen to her.
Now, reflecting on what happened, I can see that my own doubts about myself would have added to her fear. Since then she has done a lot of work on forgiving him. I acknowledge her for that, as her pain was extreme, and to forgive him, I expect, would have taken a lot of commitment.
Having forgiven, especially in cases which are difficult to forgive, I am often tempted to feel some anger or resentment when I remember the past. I sometimes need to do more work on forgiveness to achieve my commitment to forgive permanently what happened in the past. Unless I am willing to permanently forgive, I am missing out on the greatest benefits of forgiveness - freedom from the past, relationship, joy and peace.
I'm not so forgiving
I arrived at 20 minutes past 6 for our group meeting which was scheduled to start at 6 o'clock. All the others were already there. They were in the midst of a discussion, and I would have liked to have heard the start of it. Later, I said that I wanted to be on time, and apologized for being late. The group leader told me that I was giving myself a hard time about being late. All the others agreed that it was not a problem to them that I arrived late. One woman said that she had arrived only a short while before me. I was not forgiving myself for being late. Yet it seems that my unforgiveness does not help me to be on time. While I am committed to being on time, I also have other commitments, and I chose to complete a task at work in stead of leaving work earlier. As I thought more about that meeting, I wondered how unforgiving I might be of others when they arrive after the scheduled starting time. Yes I could be more forgiving.
"We may not get the chance again to forgive.
A young farmer became very furious at next door neighbour who had
offended him severely and so went straight to the neighbour's house with
the view of revenging .
However, something strange happened as the farmer got to the house.
After the farmer furiously shouted the offender's name without any
response, he decided to forcefully open the door.
My goodness ! What a tragedy !
The offender was lying prostrate, dead on the ground.
Immediately the farmer saw that, he begun to shout for help all over
the vicinity: calling people to come to the young man's aid !
Apparently, my little challenge has to do with the type of help this
repented farmer could give to a corpse.
I am also thinking of where this farmer will place the unforgivenss
after the death of the offender. Nobody knows what lies in the next
minute ahead and so I think that the time is now. This is because we
may never have the chance to relevantly forgive."
Forgiveness can be a possibility.
A friend happily said "it is good to forgive". I reflected back "You are happy to forgive". As she said "yes", I smiled. I am enthusiastic about forgiveness.
There are some people who are not so enthusiastic about forgiveness, and I was wondering about my conversations with some of them. I didn't smile much when I spoke with them.
I realized that I was judging forgiveness as good and unforgiveness as bad. My judgment was standing in the way of my relationship with these people. It was also costing me joy and vitality.
When I see forgiving as a possible action to take in stead of regarding it as a "good" thing to do, I feel free to enjoy speaking with these people who see forgiveness differently from the way I see it. I can learn from them.
I am still clearly aware of many of many advantages and benefits of forgiving. I have learned that there are disadvantages too. Forgiving can take time and effort. Life can change for me when I forgive. I may need to see some people differently. Not as they were in the past, but as how they are now. I may need to admit that my old view of them is no longer the truth. As I learn all this from those who are less enthusiastic about forgiveness, I can see a little more into their world. I can give them more understanding and empathy. And I can forgive them.
Forgiveness can take time
Especially in the case of a traumatic event, it can take time to forgive. We may need to grieve for what we have lost. That can be important. Those of our families and friends who want us to just get over it may be doing us a disservice, even though possibly having good intentions. They may not want to feel the pain. Or possibly not want to see us experience pain. Yet it is from going through the pain that our grief will heal. We need to create a balance between how long we spend dealing with our grief and how long before we are willing and ready to forgive. We do not want to miss out on the joys of forgiving for any longer than necessary, yet not dealing with our grief can cause problems later on.
Forgiveness causes peace
I have written to friends around the world, and shared many views about peace. Some of these people have family or friends in the armed forces fighting for peace. Yet some other friends have marched in peace protests. Some of these people have chosen to no longer communicate with me, they say because I am a pacifist, or am a war-monger. I hate war, and the unnecessary killing and maiming of so many people. Yet I do not condone the actions of those who hide from conflict, giving power to those who bully, lie and steal. I know that I may have often made incorrect choices about whose views I support, however I really appreciate those who are willing to forgive me for that. These people who are generous enough to forgive have many times opened up discussions from which we have all learned so much.
The more we are able to share so openly, the less fear, unresolved conflict and anger there seems to be. Their forgiveness has caused more peace.
We can not change the past but we can forgive
I was thinking about some things I had done some years ago, and how they impacted on some of my friends. I feel sadness and regret about the problems I caused for those people. Those feelings encourage me to never let the same upsets happen again. I have also apologized for the trouble that I caused to some of them.
Many people have done things that I have been shocked or disappointed at. However what was done cannot always be undone.
If I cannot change the past, what can I do? I can learn from the experience. I can become wiser, more caring and more mindful. That leaves me with some consolation, however it is not until I fully forgive that I can feel at peace.
Does Satan prey on our inability to forgive?
(The following thoughts about forgiveness are likely to be much more important than what you believe about Satan, and could be useful to you regardless of your beliefs. That was my own experience of the article.)
"I feel that Satan obtains his glory when people decide to bear grudge and live as enemies. There is so much of struggle in this world as a result of our inabilities to forgive. I am talking about the small stuff. Enemies are made within seconds, and if we look at the reasons behind that, it is nothing that couldn't be resolved with forgiveness. Satan prey on our inability to forgive!"
IT WAS A PILL
LITTLE DID I KNOW THAT FORGIVENESS COULD BE A PILL FOR THE INCURABLE.
AKOSUA HAD BEEN SICK FOR FIFTEEN YEARS AFTER BEING RAPED BY HER OWN DAD. SHE KEPT IT TO HERSELF FOR FEAR OF HER FATHER BEING IMPRISONED. IN REAL TERMS NO OTHER PERSON COULD EXPLAIN HOW SHE WENT BLIND ALL OF A SUDDEN.
AKOSUA VOWED NEVER TO FORGIVE THE DAD UNTIL SHE ATTENDED A COUNSELING
SEMINAR FOR YOUNG GIRLS. AS SHE STRUGGLED TO FORGIVE, SHE BEGUN TO SEE SLIGHTLY. SHE THEN SAID TO GOD "CAN YOU HELP ME TO WHOLLY FORGIVE MY DAD?" GUESS WHAT HAPPENED NEXT .
A VERY BIG SCREAM !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.
"I CAN CLEARLY SEE!"
DO YOU THINK UNFORGIVENESS CAN BLOCK THE BLESSINGS FROM GOD? CAN YOU IMAGINE THE NUMBER OF TIMES WE OFFEND GOD IN A DAY?
DON'T YOU THINK SATAN WILL BE HAPPY IF WE DON'T FORGIVE?
WHAT ACTUALLY DO YOU THINK?
I WILL BE GRATEFUL IF YOU COULD SHARE IT WITH ME .
Forgiving creates peace
I hate war. I am appalled at the suffering and waste of human lives. To me it seems so unnecessary. Yet I do not believe that giving up fighting for what is really important for us is much better. I am disliked by many followers of right wing politics, and also by many pacifists. Yet a growing number of people are becoming more willing to broaden their narrow view. They are seeing the possibility of forgiving others in stead of striking out at them, yet remaining a courageous stand for their values. So often the desire to maim or kill an "enemy" is really rage about somebody from the past. That anger is being projected on the "enemy". The enemy is a handy scapegoat, yet even if the enemy is killed, the pain and hurt remains. I often used to feel that furious, sometimes gossiping about people who had done even some small thing that I got upset about. I sometimes caused damage to their property.
If we forgive, we can be more willing and able to educate the "enemy" in stead of maiming. We can resolve our past pain and enjoy living in the present moment.
"I learned to forgive him"
She said "My friend asked me if he could assist me in completing my project. I gave him a small task to do, something that I thought was so simple, yet he managed to mess it up."
I noticed that she had been very upset about it, and I asked her what she learned from that experience.
She said "I learned to forgive him."
I was pleasantly surprised, as that is not the answer that I expected.
Is forgiving just an intellectual exercise?
When I feel angry or frustrated or sad about what somebody has done, I can simply say that I forgive him for what he has done. However that is not always sufficient. The anger or sadness may remain. Even after writing a forgiveness letter and other techniques. I may just want to express those feelings, yet some friends tend to try to console me, or tell me to just get over it. They may start to criticize the person who I am upset about, distracting me from my own process. Friends can be less than helpful at times. I may need to get the assistance of a counsellor, or learn to breathe deeply as I go through experiencing my own pain. Or I may just need a little more time to heal.
I really appreciate having somebody who is willing to support my by just be there for me and accepting the process that I am going through, not trying to fix me.
Are we forgiving in order to get, or to give?
In the book "First Give, Then Receive", I discovered something that really shocked me. I found that many things that I do, I do for the purpose of getting, not for the purpose of giving. As I look back many of the things that I have done in my life, I see the most satisfying are those that I have either done for no reason at all, or those I have done as a contribution. Some of the least satisfying are things I have done just to satisfy my own needs and desires, or just to please others. It is the same in forgiving. If I forgive in order for my relationship problems to go away, I do not get the desired outcome. If I take responsibility for confronting the issues in my relationships, and also forgive all people involved (as well as myself), my relationships blossom.
Is it possible to be too forgiving?
I read of a comment that people can be too forgiving. I do not believe that it is possible to be too forgiving. I do however know of several traps.
I can forgive the other person and not forgive myself.
I may forgive intellectually yet still have unresolved emotions of anger, hurt and pain.
These two traps are so common that I find there are only a small number of people who do not tend to pull myself and other people into the trap. Until recently, I was one of the worst offenders. I was unforgiving of my mistakes. I was unwilling to allow myself or others to express anger, and that suppression often caused destructive outbursts or self sabotage in stead of powerful resolution of problems.
I think that it would be difficult for many people to really understand these traps, and would be likely to believe that others can be too forgiving. They could think that by judging others that way, they would be able to justify their own unforgiveness. They would also be surrounded by many like minded people who agree with them.
I feel so free, being able to forgive.
I no longer need to stay upset for as long when somebody does something that I do not like. I can enjoy life so much more. I am able to talk more freely about what I would prefer of the other person, as I let go of my expectations that he or she does as I want. What I find amazing is the more I forgive and let go of my expectations, the more I tend to get what I want. It seems like a paradox. I previously feared that I would not get what I wanted if I let go of my expectations. While I do not always get what I want, I am nearly always much happier and more satisfied.
Forgive, be forgiven and enjoy your life so much more.
So much of our success and satisfaction in life depends on the quality of our relationships with other people, and ourselves. Up until recently, my biggest successes have been things that I have done on my own. As I forgive people more, I am discovering what I have been missing out on. Connection with other people.
I have enjoyed more connection with my daughter than almost anybody else because I am more willing to forgive her. She also seems to be very willing to forgive me.
Why am I less willing to forgive others?
As I write this, I am thinking how it does not make sense for me to continue to refuse to forgive other people. I am also critical of myself.
The impact of my unforgiveness is that I do not contribute to others as much as I could. People are less willing to assist me. I feel stressed having to do so many things myself in stead of working with others. It costs me vitality and health as well as financially.
I am now starting to enjoy so many of the benefits of forgiving as I learn to forgive more.
Forgive and move forward
From page 46 of "A Little Book of Things that Work"
Relationship with the Past
The past will have good and bad bits in it.
Come to terms with the fact that the past has gone.
Carrying a chip on your shoulder is a heavy burden for yourself more than anyone else.
A wise person once said, "Resentment is the poison you drink in the hope of killing someone else."
Are you carrying baggage?
Forgive and move forward.
I often find forgiving other people easier than forgiving myself. Having observed many other people, I notice I am not alone in this. My unwillingness to make mistakes often stands in the way of my learning as quickly as I could. I cause myself unnecessary pain by not forgiving myself when I do make mistakes. As a child, I often received disapproval or sometimes punishment for making mistakes. My school teachers and my parents wanted to train me to be competent. Yet as an adult, I have taken a long time to change my attitude to mistakes. Not only do I still have some of that attitude about my own mistakes. I also have a little of that attitude to the mistakes that other people make.
By forgiving myself for some of the mistakes that I have made recently (and not so recently), I am able to become more accepting of myself and others.
The joy of being with people who forgive.
Imagine being amongst friends. People who really accept you as you are. These people also accept themselves, and are great to be around. The experience of joy and aliveness. Yet I have found it confronting at times. I have thought that I was inferior to these people. I thought that they had their lives in order where my life was more of a mess. Until one of them asked me what I was so sad about. I did not know why I felt so free to tell him what I was thinking. I said "I don't have things in my life handled like the other people here." He was willing to listen to me, and said "you think I have it all together and you think you don't, and you seem to be sad." I thought for a moment. Yes that is what I was thinking and how I felt. He remained silent, in stead of giving me advice or trying to console me the way everybody else usually did. I then started to consider the possibility that it may not be true that he has his life together and I don't. He seemed to be forgiving of my shortcomings. He was able to be totally present with me in that moment. He made a difference to me in that short time.
I was told that I had not forgiven some people in my life. I felt very defensive, having spent time and effort forgiving people. Yet I started writing out a forgiveness letter anyway. I did not believe that I was getting very far with that approach. So I started reading Byron Katie's book "Loving what is" again. I then realized that I was expecting people to behave differently from they way they were actually behaving. No wonder that I was being told that I was not forgiving. Byron Katie in her book explains how we cause ourselves so much unnecessary pain by expecting people to be any different than the way they are. She also explains a simple method for me to deal effectively with those thoughts which do not serve me. Many other people have found it works for them too.
The more I practice forgiving and the more that I read about forgiveness, the more I see opportunities to forgive. Yet still more is possible. I am inspired by the stories about the peace and joy that some people have achieved in their lives from having forgiven others for some shocking events. All the things that I have forgiven other people in my life for, seem trivial in comparison.
I also am more able to be a friend to others, as I forgive myself and others.
What do you think about when you think of forgiveness?
Thinking about concerns that the offender will get away with having done some wrong without being punished? That is a common concern, and I admit that I still feel at least a bit the same way. Yet it seems to me that retribution and punishment do not often work as effective deterrents. Sure, when somebody does something that I fear, or strongly disapprove of, I often feel angry and want to strike out. I often feel tempted to do things which are destructive, and get a sense of glee at seeing the other person experiencing some misfortune. I tend to judge the other person and his actions in stead of communicating and resolving the real issues. Did the other person intend to cause me harm? I probably don't really know until I discuss the situation and what happened. Yet if I had struck out at the other person, I would have been intentionally causing harm to him.
So what are the alternatives to punishment?
Much of Western society's justice system is built on retributive justice. If anybody breaks the law, they are punished.
Before I had worked in prisons, installing surveillance equipment and intercoms, I used to strongly believe in that system, and regarded people who broke the law as criminals who should be punished. When I was working in prisons and detention centres, I discovered that they are people. I started to question my former beliefs. I felt sad as I saw the activities in the visiting area when inmates were being visited by their families. I thought "what a waste of human life and resources" as I saw so many men being unable to be with their families and contribute to society. I also knew that our prisons cost millions of dollars to build and operate.
Then I read about restorative justice, and how that not only gives the offender a much greater chance. It also empowers the victims to get on with their lives, having learned and grown from the experience instead of remaining bitter and angry. I have spoken with many people who support and work in restorative justice, and am so moved by what they share about the results of their work. I love hearing of the forgiveness that often occurs.
Restoring things to how they were before
Everybody does things that damage relationships, cause hurt or pain, or in other ways impact others. That is characteristic of being human. I am learning to accept that characteristic, yet certainly do not condone all those actions which cause damage. I find the same, both for my own actions and those of others.
As I discover how my activities impact other people, I know that I can chose to learn to act in ways that better serve others and myself. I can forgive myself for what I have caused, and commit to new actions.
I can also forgive other people for their actions, tell them about the way I believe that I have been impacted, and give them the opportunity to learn.
I too need to learn my own lessons in stead of being a victim of what the other person did, if I want to restore the situation to how it was before the offence occurred.
Not only can things be restored.
We can all learn from the experience.
Feel all the hurt and anger dissolve.
Hear the tone of the words as relationship is restored.
See the facial expressions as satisfaction and joy return.
And celebrate having learned something new.
Somebody to assist you in forgiving.
At first I felt self conscious as I had a friend assist me in forgiving a member of my family. I felt confronted as my friend coached me in the forgiveness process. However I started to see what I had previously overlooked. I had only been willing to feel joy and happiness. Yet in avoiding what could bring up feelings of anger, sadness and frustration, I was not dealing with some of my deep dark thoughts. I was allowing those thoughts to remain, and risking having them sabotage my relationships. I really appreciated having my friend with me as I expressed those emotions and experienced the pain. That allowed me to more fully complete the past. I now have less energy on what happened in the past. I can recall more of what really happened and no longer feel as angry about it. I am easily able to forgive that person more completely she did in the past.
I admit that I am not so forgiving.
While I am committed to being forgiving, I am not always that way.
There are some people who I am more willing to forgive. Today somebody that I know pointed that out to me. At first I wanted to deny it. I then became defensive. I was asked to admit to my being inauthentic. I said "I pretend that I am forgiving, but at times I am not really forgiving." I immediately saw what impact my pretence was having on me. I was missing out on relationship. It was costing me joy and vitality. I was feeling alone in stead of enjoying the person who I had not really forgiven. The impact that my behavior was having on the other person was that she felt I was not relating to her. She felt as though she was being judged and criticized by me.
I choose to create the possibility of being fully present, and one of the actions I will take before the end of this evening is to do a forgiveness exercise regarding that person.
Inviting other people to forgive.
I feel confident in my ability to forgive. A bigger challenge for me is inviting others to forgive. I can easily write about forgiving, however when talking face to face with another person about the possibility of them forgiving somebody, I am less confident.
I become acutely aware of the fact that I could be more forgiving. I also tend to want to convince the person who I am speaking with, in stead of just sharing my joy and satisfaction from having forgiven people in my life. When I do share about forgiveness, my enjoyment happiness increases. Sometimes I even get excited and look forward to forgiving more, or on a deeper level. I am often amazed as I hear some of those I speak with share about their own experience of forgiving. I love being told of relationships being restored, often from just a simple short conversation.
Gratitude and forgiveness
Think about when somebody did something that you were upset about. Feeling annoyed, angry, frustrated, disappointed or maybe some other feelings. Maybe you feel that way about something you did. I have often felt that way myself.
Now imagine something completely different. Imagine having an attitude of thankfulness and gratitude. Appreciating all life experiences. Being excited and willing to learn the lessons when plans don't work out, knowing that you will be wiser and stronger as a result. Seeing problems as opportunities. Looking for ways to contribute. Accepting other people's contribution even if they are not contributing in the way you expect.
Now see somebody (or yourself) doing exactly the same while you still have that gratitude, feel how much easier it is to forgive. Or maybe there is nothing to forgive. You could possibly have already forgiven.
I really appreciate other people's generosity when they forgive me for my mistakes. I would love to see more people being that forgiving.
A friend pointed out to me that if I become more forgiving, it will inspire others to do likewise. As well as that, when somebody forgives me, I feel freer, more joyful and more forgiving myself.
I guess that when I forgive others, they may also feel more inclined to forgive me.
Begin to live a life you love - now.
You may be thinking the same as I was when I first read this.
I thought my life was mainly OK and was skeptical that such a breakthrough could be possible.
Imagine your family and friends all happily supporting you in living the life of your dreams. Being healthy, having lots of energy, having fun enjoying the people around you. How would that be for you?
You may have to give up something to live like that. Would it be worth a little time and effort? There may also be resentments and past hurts that you would also need to give up. Imagine the freedom of giving up those feelings!
I often got annoyed by what some people did. I still remained upset often many years later. I was also often angry at myself. That was before I had learned to forgive.
I really noticed the difference in some of my friends as they started to do a simple forgiveness process. I wanted the same freedom and joy for myself. I was reluctant to follow their recommendation at first. However I did try it and was astonished to find that people seemed to be more friendly afterwards!
Some weeks later I did some more forgiving, and I started to enjoy my family and friends even more. I would like to be able to always forgive immediately. Meantime, I can continue to learn to forgive more.
I needed to do the forgiveness process myself
I received an email from somebody who was having difficulty forgiving some people in her family. I started answering the email, and as I wrote, I realized who I have not forgiven in my own family.
My recommendation was to go to http://forgiveness.com and go to "A forgiveness program". Choose the longer more detailed "forgiveness of others process" and do all the steps.
I followed the recommendation myself. I followed the instructions fully, and had to go back to earlier steps a few times to get more complete. I am sure it would have been easier with a guide, but I did it on my own this time.
I feel happier and more free having done the process, even though I realize that I may need to do more. Forgiveness is becoming easier and more enjoyable for me as I practice it more.
When to forgive
I live a busy life. There are so many things to do that I have to leave many actions that I want to take until another day.
I am learning which tasks can be left undone, and which ones need to be done immediately. Sometimes I learn the hard way.
I did not feel like forgiving him - especially after what he had done to me and my family. I did not want to hear from him ever again. I hated him.
Then I got a phone call from a friend. I was shocked when she told me that he had died. I did not expect to feel that way. I would have expected to be glad. I still hated what he did, but I wished that he hadn't died.
What had I been doing all those years? I had been thinking hateful thoughts about him in my mind. It had been costing me my energy, vitality and peace of mind.
What could I have I done different? I could have forgiven him and used my mind more productively. While he was still alive, I could have let him know how his actions impacted on my family and me. I don't know if that would have made a difference though it would be better than just thinking in my own mind.
I have learned to give forgiveness a higher priority in my life.
Many things to forgive
I thought I would write a list of all the things that I could forgive anybody for. I started writing. As I wrote about the incident when somebody drove past me so close and so fast that I got scared, I started thinking of the person who was just watching television in stead of assisting me with the chores. Next I wrote my own name, that I could forgive myself for expecting somebody to do something, yet not even making a request of them that they do it. I could also forgive myself for judging them so harshly, getting angry at them and what I felt like saying to them. I could also forgive myself for getting to work late that morning.
I started forgiving each person on my list, including myself for what they had done. I started feeling more at peace. I began thinking of new actions I could take to handle each situation more effectively. I could be more alert on the road. I could make requests of people in stead of helplessly getting upset that they were not doing as I expected. I could also let go of some of my unrealistic expectations. And I could stop getting so upset at myself. I could then plan my day in a way that allows me to easily arrive at work on time.
Forgiveness allows healing to occur.
Each time I have forgiven anybody, not only have I noticed a healing of my relationship with that person. I have also observed healing of other relationships in my life. More than that, I have more vitality, better health and I am more productive and I enjoy life more.
I have also heard reports of healing of physical injuries, pain and disease after forgiving another person. While I have not observed physical for myself, I do know that physical injuries and pain heal quicker when I am peaceful and happy.
Encouraging other people to forgive.
This newsletter was created out of a community forgiveness project. The aim was for each of the participants to forgive some people in their lives, and to share their experience with at least three other people to encourage them to forgive, and also to have each of those three share with another three.
I learned to forgive more, and that has improved all my relationships with other people in my life. I have loved receiving thanks from many people for encouraging them to forgive and I thank them all for being open to the possibility of forgiveness. I am enjoying life more, as I am now finding other people are more forgiving to me.
What is more important than telling people about forgiveness, is learning to forgive and admit to what we have been unforgiving about. That way we can be an example.
"But I have forgiven her" I protested.
I was talking about a time, many years ago when I arrived home from school and my mother, as usual asked me to start doing my homework. My friend interrupted me from telling my story and said "you have not forgiven your mother for that". I immediately protested "But I have forgiven her". I later realized that my friend was right. I am sure that my friend would have been able to tell that I was unwilling to inquire into what I had not forgiven my mother for, by the way I reacted to her comment. I rang my friend and apologized to her for getting so upset. I had learned that my mother was most likely doing her best to ensure that I got a good education, and she believed that it was more important for me to do my homework than it was for me to go out and play. I can forgive my mother for that time many years ago when I missed out on some play, and thank her for giving me the strength of self discipline. It makes sense to me now. I cannot change what happened in the past. I can however now look at it a different way. Instead of always carrying the resentment for not getting what I wanted, I can have joy for the strength I gained.
Being thankful for forgiveness.
I was writing a forgiveness letter to Jane. I enjoy meeting her on the rare occasions that she visits this city. I was having great difficulty thinking of anything that I could forgive her for. I stopped for a moment, and took a deep breath. I thought about Jane and I realized just how forgiving Jane is. She is amazing. Her capacity to forgive every little thing that anybody does inspires me. She holds no resentments and she is so genuine. She has the ability to communicate to me the impact that my behavior has on her. I feel happy to listen and change my actions because she forgives me before speaking to me. I thank her for being such a great example of demonstrating forgiveness.
Courageous powerful leadership.
Bud Welch's twenty-three year old daughter, Julie, was killed in the bombing of the Murrah federal building in Okalahoma City on April 19, 1995. I read Bud's story about about it. As I read about his rage and his desire to kill Tim McVeigh, I got some more insight into the depths of emotion that he would have felt. I felt inspired as I thought about what it would have taken for him to forgive. I also acknowledge his leadership. He chose to honor her daughter in stead of following the other victims wanting to kill Tim McVeigh and wallowing in his own self pity and rage . He was being a powerful stand for forgiveness.
Do you have the authority to forgive?
"I thought that was a shocking thing for her to do. My friends agree with me and I am furious at her for having done it."
When I choose to judge another person's actions, I can either hold on to my judgment or I can let it go. Other people may agree with me in my judgment. I may find plenty of evidence to support my choice to hold on to it. I may feel some glee in being right, however in doing that I am invalidating the person who I am judging. Unless I let go of my judgment, I will continue to suffer, being hurt, angry resentful and bitter in stead of getting on with living my life. I miss out on love, joy and connection. The person who I am upset about may in return be unwilling to give me something that I want.
What the person did may be totally unacceptable to me. I may have suffered either a little or even a lot from the consequences. However what was done is now in the past even though the consequences may still be present. What is the point of holding on to the pain, sadness, rage and disappointment? The truth is that what happened did happen, and I can not change that. It is very likely that there is nothing stopping me from letting go of the past and moving on. I may need to grieve a bit first, or express some unexpressed emotions. As it is I who chose to judge what happened, and I that continued to hold on to that, and I may have got other people to agree with my judgment, it makes sense to me that I have full authority to now forgive.
Forgiving is easier if we take care of our health.
If we are in pain, stressed or ill we may find much more difficulty in letting go of our past hurts and resentments. Joe from Joes organic markets believes that we do not have to suffer so much from disease if we care for ourselves, our families and the whole world family by eating healthy food that is free from poisons. We can also think thoughts that are free of fear and greed, allowing us to enjoy life more. Instead of working long hours just for the money, we can be free to contribute to others and spend time with each other.
Regardless of whether we start by taking care of our health making forgiveness easier, or start with forgiveness making our physical and emotional health better, we can enjoy life more by forgiving.
If I don't forgive myself, I can't forgive others.
I regret having done what I did. I feel guilty and embarrassed to have told a large group of people about it. Now that all these people know, I am faced with a need to forgive myself. If I don't do that, it will effect my relationship with all these people. I can also see that unless I forgive myself, I will be critical of others - family, friends, workmates and acquaintances. I am now forgiving myself, and that is freeing me to enjoy being with others. I feel free. I am enjoying more connection and friendship with other people.
Living in the past
Are you living in the present time? Or are you living in the past or in the future.
When I am living in the past, I am a victim of the past. I am powerless to change what happened. The best that I can do is to blame other people or myself for things not working out better. Or I could pretend that it really is not so bad. The trouble with pretending however is that it is not truly satisfying. In fact it is even worse than that. When I pretend, my relationships become shallow and unsatisfying. I get to be my own worst enemy.
Living in the future also has disadvantages. While I can imagine the future as either bright or dim, happy or sad or whatever I want, if I spend all my time there I am ineffective, unable to contribute to others and I miss out on the true richness of life.
To be in the present time, I need to let go of the past. I am not saying to forget the past. Just no longer holding on to it. No longer having expectations that the past be any different to the way it really was. No longer expecting the people in my life to have been any different than the way they were.
Yet I am still unwilling to do that! I am tempted to blame some event in the past for my life not working out the way I want. I think that if I justify my failure by blaming somebody, the pain will go away - but it doesn't.
I found a way to be free of that. I have seen many other people gain that freedom. It is simple. Even if it is difficult at first, it quickly becomes easier and easier and is well worth the effort. The key is forgiveness.
To me, forgiveness is freedom.
When I do not forgive, I am being a victim. I am trapped in my own misery and self pity. I feel powerless. I am unable to contribute much to other people. I blame those who I have not forgiven instead of being responsible for my own life. I waste my time and energy trying to justify myself, blaming somebody else or even blaming myself. I pretend that I cannot do anything about a situation that I clearly see needs to change. I do not be compassionate. I do not feel good about myself. I may also be wasting my money on numbing my pain.
Not only does this affect me. It also has an impact on other people. How does it feel for them to be with me. Does it bring them down? Do other people feel more tired or depressed being around me?
Do I enjoy that? Does it make sense to live such a miserable existence?
Or would I like to FORGIVE in stead.
Would I like to have some freedom, joy and power in my life. To have love and friendship? To be able contribute to others, especially those who have freely given so much to me. To show compassion to others and be a friend.
I can forgive.
Now. this very minute. I can forgive anybody. I can forgive myself
Why wait? Do it now.
If you want some assistance, guidance or other resources, you can go to http://Forgiveness.com or look up the word "Forgiveness" on the internet.
What is stopping you?
You would like to achieve your goal, but despite doing most of the work, you seem to not be getting much closer to accomplishing your goal.
I have recently heard many examples of this problem. Teams not achieving their quota of results. Individuals not achieving fitness goals. Couples being dissatisfied in their relationships.
Looking each of the examples and hearing the conversations of the people involved, in most cases there are instances of these people not having fully forgiven either themselves or somebody else from the past. Often not having completely forgiven mother or father. Yet most of these people are very unwilling to be told that they might have not forgiven. I think the way some of these people react to the suggestion that they may not have forgiven may be an indication that they have not fully forgiven, and they are angry that somebody can see that.
I am not recommending that you point out to people that they have not forgiven.
I do recommend looking in your own life to discover who you may be able to forgive, thus inspiring others to also forgive.
Forgiveness is a key
Most of us desire enjoyable relationships with our families, friends, workmates and acquaintances.
By forgiving everybody from our past who we believe has wronged us, we can have more empathy, not only with those we have forgiven, but also with other people in our life. One of the reasons for this is that whenever you have not forgiven anybody (including yourself), you will tend to project your thoughts about them on to other people. You will not be able to be as compassionate as you would if you had forgiven.
As you can choose to forgive anybody any time, why not use that key to relationship now. I am not saying that it will always cause instant results, though it sometimes does. Nor am I saying that forgiveness is always easy. Sometimes it can take time and effort to let go of our hurt, pain, anger and sadness.
Now may be the best time to forgive.
To Forgive - To pardon or excuse.
Merciful restraint from pursuing resentment
I have both experienced myself and seen others enjoy the healing that comes from the act of forgiving. As I write, I am thinking of several instances of people who previously refused to communicate with each other, who have forgiven each other for what they did in the past, allowing them to now be friends. I believe life is too short to allow our unforgiveness to continue. It is too late when we die. We risk unnecessarily missing out on the real joy and satisfaction of connecting with people if we do not forgive as soon as possible.
I have rarely seen retribution and punishment as effective tools for dealing with injustice although so many people still believe that they are effective. I still feel tempted to want to punish people who do me wrong. I often get scared and want to strike out. An example is when somebody drove through a pedestrian crossing as I was crossing the road. I felt shocked and scared as their car proceeded across the crossing very close in front of me. I was furious, thinking they should have stopped at the red light. As they had to stop a few yards further on, I angrily knocked on their car window and told them what I thought. They apologised for having not seen the red traffic light. Later, as I thought about the many people who do proceed at the red light at that crossing each week, I regretted having taken such a heavy handed approach.
Forgiveness affirmation. Metatron's Forgiveness Affirmation was
sent to forgiveness news to put in the newsletter. It is powerful, it worked
for the person who sent it and for most others who have used it with sincerity.
He says also feel free to change the wording a bit if you want to...just leave the main "thought" intact.
"I forgive myself for anything I need to be forgiven for, real or imagined, in any time, space, place or dimension.
I forgive all others for anything, real or imagined, that they have done to me in any time, space, place or dimensions.
All others forgive me for anything, real or imagined, that I may have done to them in any time, space, place or dimension.
I know in my heart that I AM a Being of Love.
I call forth the Vibration of Christ Consciousness in every atom of my entire Being, all of me which exists in any time, space, place or dimension. I call forth the activation of my God-self, the spark that lies within my heart of hearts.
In the Name of Mother-Father God, it is so. And so it is."
I forgave him for being late, but he still keeps being late
nearly every day.
Forgiving a person may give them an opportunity to easily change their behavior. Yet it is possible that he may continue to do the very same thing that you forgave him for. I see the purpose of forgiveness to be much greater than changing another person's behavior.
For me, forgiveness gives me an opportunity to put aside my anger, resentment, fears expectations of the other person so I can think clearly and communicate effectively.
I can then create workable agreements in stead of blaming somebody else for my upset. If I want to be on time, I could be responsible for that by making arrangements so I will not be delayed even if he does turn up late. Not only would I be on time regardless of whether he was late. I would also be allowing him to be responsible for his own schedule.
Are you being a forgiving person?
I was asked if I was being a forgiving person. My immediate reply was "no". I have been forgiving people in my life. I have been doing various forgiveness processes. But I have to admit that in at least some ways I am not being a forgiving person. When I realize that I am judging somebody for their not having forgiven somebody, I see that I am not being very forgiving myself. From now on, I am committed not only to doing the work of forgiveness, but to also being a forgiving person.
"Forgive them ... they know not what they do"
I often do things that I later regret. I can be careless, forgetful or simply unaware of some of the consequences of my actions. Yet, to me it seems that, being human, I will at times make mistakes.
To avoid attempting anything new would also be a mistake.
I see a real need for forgiveness for all people - ourselves and others.
I ask for forgiveness
I said that I would deliver Forgiveness News daily (most days) to daily subscribers and weekly to weekly subscribers. I have not achieved that. The impact on me is that I am dissatisfied and I feel some guilt. I am disappointed to have not delivered what I said I would deliver to the people who subscribe and I have let the whole team down. I have not even contacted most of the team to let them know, or even ask for their support. I apologize for the impact that my actions have caused.
I have now completed some processes of forgiveness for myself.
The purpose of my request that you forgive me is to free you to forgive yourself and others in your life.
Forgiveness comes in several flavors
There is the bland taste of partial forgiveness. When I have not fully forgiven, and am to some extent still judging or criticizing myself or another person.
The sickly sweet taste of "forgiving" without facing the truth about what happened. I experience this when I ignore the impact of what happened. For example when I do not confront issues such as destructive behavior. It is also similar when I justify or make excuses for what happened.
The tainted bitter taste of "forgiveness" being used as a tool to covertly judge or criticize. If I say I forgive somebody for what they have done to me, there is a big difference if my attitude is more a judgmental attitude than a forgiving one. I need to be aware of the way I say the words that follow "I forgive him for". Is there bitterness expressed in those words? I may need to work more on forgiving.
The delicious taste of wholehearted complete forgiveness. The pleasure and joy and freedom of truly putting the past into the past. The appreciation and acceptance of myself and others in the present moment.
"I have forgiven him but I still feel angry about him. I
cannot condone what he did and the impact that his actions had on my daughter."
Are those the words of somebody who has fully forgiven? I ask myself if I have any people in my own life that I still feel the same way about. I am tempted to say no - I have forgiven everybody in my life, yet if I am more honest with myself, I admit that I could forgive more. I think of people and organizations that I remember from the past, and realize that I still have more forgiving to do.
By declaring that I will forgive regardless of what they
have done, I am more able to let go of any unforgiveness that I am holding in my
heart. I can still find forgiving difficult at times,
as I am tempted to judge and criticize. Yet I can choose to be forgiving of
myself and others. I do not have to condone unacceptable behavior. I can
communicate my thoughts and feelings about what happened more effectively
when I am willing to forgive first. With a forgiving attitude, I have found
behavior can change much more easily, and relationships can be sustained.
I have been finding other people seem to be more willing to
forgive me as I forgive people in my life.
I first found that as I forgave myself for my own thoughts about my mother, I began to discover what I was really thinking about her. I was shocked when I realized what I really thought about her. However by revealing what I really thought, I am able to forgive her for the way she treated me when I was a child. I now see the way her actions have benefited me, and taught me tolerance and patience. I have been pleasantly surprised by the way other people seem to treat me since I have been making the effort to forgive, and I am now experiencing forgiveness as more of a joy than an effort.
The joy and freedom of knowing that I have been forgiven
I want to respect you in your own faith, and at the same time would like to share about my own experience. I believe that I have been forgiven for what I have done in the past. I am totally willing to admit to what I have done (though I admit I am often reluctant). I am also committed to doing much better, not just through my own strength and resolve, but with my faith as well. I am finding forgiveness even easier through my faith. The quality of my relationships has improved greatly since I have recommitted to my faith. I am also able to show more humility, as I feel less fear.
Why wait until somebody dies before forgiving them?
I often did not forgive people who I believed did not treat me the way I thought they should. I thought my mother should have been more loving towards me. I also agreed with my mother that my father should have been more involved in our family. I did speak with my mother about my upbringing, and as she was still alive, she gave me the opportunity to hear her side of the story - an opportunity I would have missed if I had left it until later. I did not completely forgive her, even though I began to understand her much more. It was not until after my father's death that I really found out more about my parents. I appreciate their efforts in my upbringing and the strengths that they have given me. I also understand more about my parents' values, and realize that I could have been much more forgiving when I confronted them toward the end of their lives.
I can forgive myself for treating them with less compassion than I could have, just as I can forgive others who find forgiving their parents difficult. I can not go back and change what I did, but I can from now on be more willing to forgive.
I can talk about forgiveness or I can actually forgive and
tell about what happens when I forgive.
I have been spending so much time on other activities that I have omitted spending time forgiving. I chose to do more forgiving this morning and looked at some forgiveness resources on www.Forgiveness.com
I looked at "A forgiveness program Guides you through the process of forgiveness." and saw lots of words and explanation. I then started doing the short forgiveness process "Forgiveness of Others - Basic, shorter version" and immediately realized how much pain I was causing for myself and others with my expectations of others. I chose to stop blaming others, and to take more responsibility for my life. I felt some shame for having been so self righteous, and feel more satisfied in relating to these people who I was previously upset about. I was easily able to forgive those people, and realized that I also need to forgive myself. I do not find that as easy. I have again discovered that when I forgive, I am more effective in my life, I enjoy life more and I am more enjoyable to be around.
I thought I had learned how to forgive
As I read about the benefits of forgiveness, I wondered why I was not having the harmonious relationships, peace and happiness that is promised. I thought about doing more work on forgiveness. I began reading about Forgiveness and doing some of the exercises and realized that I need to continually work on forgiving to receive the benefits. Having started doing that, I am now looking forward to contacting some people from my past, this time with a more accepting attitude.
Forgiveness makes learning and growing possible.
I learn from my mistakes. When I do not forgive myself for making mistakes, then I find learning very difficult and painful. The truth is that I make mistakes. If I try to not make mistakes, I often find my efforts just result in disappointment. By putting my focus on not making mistakes, my attention is distracted from the task that I am learning. By accepting that I make mistakes, I can manage many of the risks of what I do. For example I would not pretend that I could drive in fast traffic until I had mastered driving in less difficult conditions.
I could also forgive others for making mistakes, allowing them to learn from their experience and maintaining my friendship with them. When I am less forgiving I lose friendship, and I do not grow.
- to give as before.
I regarded Mike as a friend until he had an argument with me. I thought I was right and he thought he was right. I no longer saw him as a friend, and started to get more and more annoyed about things he did. I began to hate his choice of music, and how loudly he would play his records. I also got angry whenever he left a cigarette butt on the bench, yet I never spoke with him about my upset.
I previously used to enjoy talking with Mike. Looking back, I now realize that when I used to enjoy him as a friend, he used to do all those things but I did not get annoyed about them. Exploring what may have happened, I see how I had not communicated how I felt about what he did, and I had become less forgiving. I now am happy to forgive Mike for his choice of music and how loudly he played it, especially as I now see that it is just something that happened in the past. I no longer hear his music, and I do miss his friendship.
Being a leader
The person who created the forgiveness project was being a leader in creating it. Another person in the project team was a leader in suggesting we all wear a coloured heart symbol on Friday 13th is also a leader. Some people will be wearing one as a result of her leadership. We can be followers too, wearing a heart symbol on that day. By participating in the forgiveness project and forgiving somebody in our life, we can be both a leader and a follower at the same time. We can follow the example of the woman who forgave her workmate, creating a much more satisfactory working environment. She was being a leader, choosing to forgive, and at the same time a follower, following the example of other team members. In many situations, unless we lead, relationships can deteriorate. We can for example expect another person to apologize before being willing to forgive them. Or we could be a leader by taking some action ourselves in stead of just waiting for the other person.
Should I forgive?
I believe that forgiving is a possible action to take. I do not believe it is something we "should" do. In fact at times it could be inappropriate to forgive. There may be other actions to take first.
There are other people's opinions and expectations. If I am upset about what somebody has done, that person may expect me to forgive them. I may have to get over my upset first. It could be that after getting over my upset that I may find the truth is that the other person does not need my forgiveness for what they have done, but I actually owe the other person an apology for what I have done.
"If I always forgive my family, then they may keep treating
my mother badly." A very generous caring young woman told me about
her concern. She clearly loves her mother, and loves her family. She also hates
the way her family treats her mother. It seemed to me that the
advice her friends were giving her was not helpful.
She felt angry and hurt whenever she thought
about her family's actions. Her friend advised her to not get angry about it.
She also has friends who agree that it is shocking that her mother is treated
that way. I believe that to fully forgive, we may need to express our anger.
Anger that is not expressed will build up over time and either result in an
outburst of rage, or in sabotage. Unforgiveness is a very common form of
sabotage. It keeps the victim being a victim, and tends to set the offender up
to continue to offend. Anger is an important emotion. It is often a clear signal
that our boundaries have been stepped over. Firstly, if our anger has been
suppressed for some time, we may need to find a safe way to deal with it as our
anger may have built up in to rage. After that, we need to learn to express our
anger in a constructive way. We may need to forgive ourselves and others for
feeling angry. These are steps to forgiveness. If we omit any step, we will not
fully forgive. We will need to go back and perform that step, and progress on
towards full forgiveness. That may involve feeling angry again - that is OK. You
can forgive yourself for feeling that way!
|Forgiving those who do not meet our expectations - Appreciating people's contribution. I wanted each member of our team to send me a written report. I found that not all team members were willing to do that. One contributed a little coloured sketch, and suggested that we all wear a coloured heart emblem on Friday 13th. I discovered how much I have allowed my own expectations of what I want people to do stand in the way of me accepting and appreciating their contribution.|
Friendship and forgiveness go hand in hand.
Friendship with oneself is all important
because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world. If I can't forgive myself, I can't fully forgive others and I can't truly be a friend.
I can forgive him but he won't forgive me.
How can I get him to forgive?
You may also be making it more difficult for the person to forgive you if you are expecting that person to forgive you. If he does forgive just to satisfy your expectation, his forgiveness may be inauthentic. It may not be a wholehearted complete forgiveness.
What can I do then?
You can let go of your expectation that he forgive you and let him forgive if or when he is willing and able to forgive. You do not need to wait to start working on yourself.
I say this because at times forgiving is not easy. It can take time and effort to deal with any pain, grief and anger or resentment we may feel. Only after having dealt with these feelings is genuine forgiveness possible. Often people expect the other person to forgive first, but to me it does not really make much sense to wait until then. I know that I can choose to forgive anybody, though it may take a lot of work for me to become ready to do that at times! The other person may never forgive, or they may. I believe the chances of them forgiving me are much greater if I forgive first.
Gandhi as an example
My daughter suggested that I study Gandhi to learn more about forgiveness. I have noticed how Gandhi treated people with respect, even though they did some things he hated. He did not stoop to hating the people. He forgave the people and hated some of their actions.
It is not the big things that I find hard to forgive
It is the little things that are "in my face" every day.
I can forgive the person who attacked me years ago. I can forgive others who hurt me. But I find it almost impossible to forgive the person at my work who says such terrible things about the patients where I work.
On one hand we can want to be respectful of all people. On the other hand we may want to get on with our workmates. What do we do? We do the work of forgiveness successfully with people in our past, but do not feel successful with those we consider are still committing injustice. Every day when I am at my work I face the same dilemma.
Gandhi was willing to forgive. The way he handled the dilemma was to forgive the person and at the same time to not tolerate the injustice. He refused to participate in any injustice. I myself admit that I tend to want to strike out at those who I consider are being unjust, and sometimes take great delight at seeing justice come to them.
We can choose to not participate in gossip. It takes courage to risk the approval of our workmates. However if we value respect for all people, compromising that value may cost us our personal satisfaction and our vitality.
Forgiveness, like fitness, is a way of life
By Peter Pullar
Before this year, I was resigned to the fact that I was carrying a few pounds of extra fat around my waist. I do ride my bicycle nearly every day, and enjoy doing a workout at the gym. Hardly anybody actually told me I was fat but I felt dissatisfied with how I looked.
This year I chose to be willing to do whatever it takes to get fit and healthy. I purchased a book written by a very experienced honest trainer and did many of the practices that he recommends. I set achievable goals and reduced the amount of fat in my diet. I started eating much more fresh vegetables and less bread, white rice and pasta. I also did a regular cardio session - half an hour of running or exercise bike, two or three times each week. I started to see results that were far beyond what I ever believed I could achieve. I have so much more energy, and I like the way I look. I feel good about myself and proud of having done the work to achieve the results. I have discovered that I was previously not as fit as I thought I was. I am enjoying my healthier lifestyle so much more than my previous way of living that it is easy for me to maintain my fitness.
Forgiveness is similar
Before June this year I was resigned to the fact that I had fairly shallow relationships with people. I have done some personal development work and am regularly involved in various programs.
Since being on the team of the forgiveness game, I have been doing the practices of the game including forgiveness exercises, forgiving myself and forgiving other people. I have researched about forgiveness and followed some of the programs. I have discovered that I was not as forgiving as I thought I was. When I told some friends that, some of them responded "you have noticed!" Not only was I unforgiving of some other people - family, friends and workmates. I was also very unforgiving of myself. Since doing more of the work of forgiveness I feel much more alive, satisfied and peaceful in my life. I am enjoying much more of a connection with people and feel less isolated.
There is just one major difference between physical fitness and forgiveness. I have to pay money for gym membership. I had to pay for the book about becoming fit. With forgiveness, all the resources that I have used have been provided free by the generous people who love to have more forgiveness in this world.
"Forgive and Forget? We Don't Think So!"
by Susie and Otto Collins
In every relationship you're involved in, it's inevitable that
something will happen in the relationship that will cause you to be
upset or angry with the other person or the other person will be
upset with you. Many of us try to forget what has happened to us
without really taking the time to address the issue. We believe that
in most cases, you really don't forget and here's why.
Have you ever had the feeling that the harder you try to "forget"
something, the more you end up focusing on it?
If someone says to you, "Don't think of the color blue" "Don't think
of the color blue" "Don't think of the color blue," no matter how
hard you try, you probably can't stop visualizing or thinking
about the color blue.
The same thing happens when you try to "forget" a negative situation
that has an emotional charge to it. No matter how hard you try, you
just can't seem to do it. You think you've forgotten but it's come
back up in other ways.
We believe that instead of forgetting, you have to forgive and let go.
Many people write to us wanting to know how they can forgive when
they have been wronged--a spouse cheated on them; they've been abused
in one way or another; or maybe their feelings have been hurt and
they don't feel loved or valued.
What we have found is that the process of healing a relationship
requires more than forgiveness. You must also let go.
But let go of what?
In almost all cases when you are having a difficult time forgiving
someone, you are holding on to an attachment of some kind or another.
The attachments most commonly manifest themselves in the need to be
justified, the need to be honored, the need to be right, the need to
be vindicated, the desire for revenge, and the inability to move past
So when you are holding onto an attachment, what you are actually
doing is holding onto a position which is serving you in some way but
it is not moving you forward in healing the relationship.
Eckhart Tolle in his book "The Power of Now" talks about how to let
go of negativity and we think that the same holds true for letting go
of attachments-Tolle says to let go of negativity "by dropping it.
How do you drop a piece of hot coal that you are holding in your
hand? How do you drop some heavy and useless baggage that you are
carrying? By recognizing that you don't want to suffer the pain or
carry the burden anymore and then letting go of it."
Just decide to do it.
Susie and her sister moved their mother from her home of 50 years to
an assisted living Alzheimer's facility. At the beginning of this
process, their mother had anger, hurt, and resentment toward her
daughters and her new situation.
From the time of taking their mother's car away from her, Susie
and her sister began practicing letting go of their mother's anger,
while allowing her to feel her feelings. They continually practiced
forgiving the words of anger that were directed toward them and just
sent her love.
Susie practiced a "Thirty-Nine Day Prayer of Forgiveness" given to
her by Shaman Connie Parkinson to help with this situation with her
mother. She's used it before to help heal a broken relationship.
Here it is--along with an explanation--and we urge you
to try it. It really works!
"Every day, for 39 days, all alone and in private, you say
(Name), I thank you for all you have done to me and those
I love. I ask your forgiveness for all I have done to you. Let
us begin a new relationship.
(Your own name), I love you. You are an exceptionally
wonderful and beautiful person and I approve of you.
This prayer is extremely simple, It's extremely hard, it's
extremely effective. By thanking the one who has injured
you, you are putting yourself a little bit in that person's
place, and you are recognizing that everyone is driven by
impulses we are not to know, and that everything that
happens to you is for your growth and your good."
By asking forgiveness for yourself, you are recognizing that
you had a part in the relationship. By telling yourself that
you love and approve of you, you are renewing strength
in the one human being in your life who can truly help you--
The 3 is for the triune spiritual effect of will, action, and
manifestation. The 9 brings an ending to your grief and
anger and resentment against the person. The prayer
itself opens you to a new understanding of both yourself
and the one who injured you. The only thing you are
trying to change is yourself and your emotions. As for
the relationship, wait and see. You could be surprised
how you'll feel toward this person at the end of 39 days."
Along with this exercise, if you want to move toward forgiveness in your life, here are two questions for you to answer that will help you in this process:
*Who do I need to forgive?
*What step do I need to take to begin this process?
We encourage you to start today to do what you know that you need to do to begin letting go of what you have been holding onto and moving into creating the life and having the love that you want.
Susie and Otto Collins are married, life partners who are Relationship and Life Success Coaches, and authors of several books on relationships, including "Should You Stay or Should You Go?" "No More Jealousy" "Creating Relationship Trust" "Communication Magic" and "Attracting Your Perfect Partner." In addition to having a great relationship, they regularly write, speak and conduct seminars on love, relationships and personal growth. To read more free articles like this or to sign up for their free online relationship tips newsletter visit http://www.collinspartners.com
Forgiveness is one of the steps of the 12 step recovery program.
There are other steps to be taken first before getting to the step of forgiveness.
With most cases of addiction, both the person with the addiction and those affected - family, friends and workmates - need to take the same steps. Forgiving does not mean condoning destructive behavior or allowing abuse to continue. Forgiving does include letting go of past hurts and resentments. Forgiving allows us to be able to move on to a better outcome much more quickly and easily. It is an action that you can take yourself any time. You can forgive yourself. You can forgive the other person. When I find forgiving myself difficult (which happens often for me) I usually find that I am blaming myself for what happened instead of taking responsibility for doing something about it. Blaming rarely produces desired outcomes, love or affinity. When I stop blaming, I can then forgive.
Prizes to be won.
You can win a prize by entering the writing competition for Forgiveness news. Your original written articles, drawings, posters, sound recordings or anything else that can be put into the newsletter can be submitted. All suitable articles will be published in forgiveness news. See www.achancetowin.com to enter.
Bobby Runningfox has sponsored one of the competition prizes.
Why is it so hard to forgive?
"I have been trying to forgive him for what he did, yet I still feel stuck."
Often forgiveness can be very difficult if I am unwilling to take all the steps in the process of forgiving. A common difficulty is being unwilling to express anger and rage. I was unwilling to say what I thought to my mother. I was concerned that she may get upset. I thought it was bad to do things that may upset her. I did not really enjoy spending time with her. I did not feel the freedom when I was with her that I felt when I was on my own. There were so many things that I held myself back from saying to my mother when I was talking to her. I eventually did start saying what I really wanted me to say. My mother felt hurt. She felt angry, and said "you are saying I was not a good mother." I felt shocked. I felt guilty for saying things that I had not said before. I felt very uncomfortable as I said "I am not saying that you weren't a good mother." I explained to her what I meant to say, and she responded openly. I now see that many forms of expression were not accepted in my family. We were not allowed to say "bad" things. We often did not express our true feelings if we felt anger, hurt or rage. I learned to hold my feelings in. Even to this day often am often unwilling to acknowledge, feel and express these feelings. Without that expression, the forgiveness is more superficial. It is not complete forgiveness unless I am willing to go deeper.
A chance to win
Several sponsors are awarding prizes in our competition for the most impactful stories about forgiveness. The most suitable of these will be published in Forgiveness News. Put your entry in
Created from nothing in a few days
On 16 July 2004 I thought about creating this newsletter and registered forgivenessnews.com.
The next day I have this web site up and running, and am writing about forgiveness - or would be if I had not mistakenly deleted some important files when publishing to the website.
I will have articles written by people who teach forgiveness as well as those who are discovering about forgiveness. I believe that I am learning about and teaching forgiveness, both at the same time.
Forgiveness improves your smile.
As I progress through the process of forgiveness, I have noticed that people smile at me a lot more than I have previously noticed. Some of my friends who are also writing forgiveness letters and doing other work on forgiveness also are getting more peace and joy in their lives.
"Sharing Forgiveness" team member has breakthroughs
Have been practising the forgiveness exercises and have had the most amazing
breakthroughs in energy since doing the letters and realizing that there may
be some patterns that have been there for some time.
How I have been hanging on to resentments and recriminations and the
difference it has made to just give them up. The presence of love in the
process of doing these letters and other affirmations whilst playing the
love and money game has been amazing. Seeing where I undervalue or lack in
trust of myself and others and the process of forgiving myself and others is
opening up new horizons in relationships. I have actually given up being an
automatic make wrong machine. The impact of this on myself is that I feel
lighter, and more fun is in my life and the impact on my friends is that
they are able to contribute more to my personal development. The
possibility I have created for myself and my life is the possibility of
love, generosity and peace and that is who I am
Why isn't my mind as forgiving as my body?
I cut my finger when I was using a trimming knife. It was only a small cut, and it healed completely in a few days. Yet I had thoughts about how careless I had been for much longer. My body has also healed with time from some bigger injuries. A broken bone was healed in a few months yet some things that my mother did, I had not forgiven her for over half a century. Just little things like not giving me the sort of sandwiches that other boys enjoyed in their school lunches. I didn't take responsibility for doing anything about changing the situation at the time. I was acting as a victim. I never said anything to her about it. I could have requested something different from my mum. Or at school I could have swapped a sandwich or two. I chose to blame her instead for my not enjoying my lunch times. I could have healed my pain much earlier in my life. She hated wastefulness. To throw out perfectly good bread just because it was not fresh would have been inconsistent with her values. I could have acknowledged her before she died for being true to her values. I could have forgiven her for not giving me the luxury of really tasty lunches. By forgiving her earlier in life I could have freed myself to enjoy more little luxuries in my own life. I can forgive myself for discarding stale bread!
Unforgiving father causes traumatic experience for his daughter.
Some years ago at a family function at a reception centre, I saw a member of the family discard a wrapper on the lawn. I thought he was being inconsiderate, but did not say anything to him about it. Over the years I occasionally gossiped about him, and never objected to others gossiping about him. Some years later he died. My daughter was away at a school camp at the time. It was a few days after the funeral when she returned from camp. When I told her about the death, she was shocked. She cried. I immediately realized what I had done by not telling her. Actually I had felt uneasy at the funeral, where stories of happier years and fond memories were told. I had judged him, and discarded him in stead of valuing him as a fellow human being and part of our family. I had not forgiven him for such a small thing as dropping one piece of paper. While I do not condone littering, I have learned that I was being sleazy by not talking to him about the wrapper but talking to others instead. I was being callous and self-righteous which caused others pain and heartache. I do not condone what I did either. If I had have forgiven him, I too could have appreciated him, and saved my daughter from what she suffered. It would have been so much easier for me to forgive him than it now is for me to forgive myself for what I did.
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Karl Kohlhase offers
I guess I would suggest the song "My Regret" (mp3 file 4.7MB) off of my "Though the Dark" CD. You can download my 2 CDs for free from my site.
I think you are absolutely correct about how freeing forgiveness can be for the soul. It's like Jesus said. "The truth shall make you free."
I find it helpful to call to mind how much I, personally, am in need of forgiveness, and how much I actually have been forgiven in Christ. This enables me to let go of thoughts of vengeance and bitterness when I am wronged by others.
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