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Sometimes the words and actions of people who have hurt you may feel so vicious that the thought of forgiving them seems like an impossible human feat. No matter how hard you try, you may feel that you cannot reconcile your feelings about them, nor understand how anyone could act in such unkind ways. It is only human to feel angered and upset when we are on the receiving end of someone’s cruel words and actions. What is self-destructive is not that we have these feelings – it is that we hold onto them. Most of us tend to hold the illusion that forgiveness is something that we are being asked to give to an undeserving person, so one of the best ways to prepare yourself to be a forgiving person is to see forgiveness in a more truthful light.
Forgiveness always begins with self.
Believe it or not, the person you most need to forgive for any situation in which you have been hurt is yourself – not because you are “wrong,” but because you have made choices which have not been aligned with your soul’s need for inner truth and self-respect. By forgiving yourself, it becomes easier to forgive others and to move out of the victimhood perception. It’s all part of our spiritual growth.
Forgiving someone does not mean you are endorsing
anyone’s harmful behavior.
You may find it very liberating to realize that you do not need to feel warmly toward people who have hurt you, nor do you need to understand their actions, in order to forgive. You may even make a healthy decision that it is not in your best interest to be in the physical presence of people who have hurt you deeply.
The way people act is a reflection of how they feel about themselves,
When someone behaves in a harmful, manipulative way, it is very important to understand that they are projecting from THEIR reservoir of fears. The way they are treating you is exactly the way they feel about themselves. This is why self-love is so essential in that it forms the foundation for how we treat everyone around us. When we focus on someone else’s negative behavior by responding the same way, we compound the problem by reinforcing their fears and our own. We then step into the darkness of the other person’s world of fear, rather than bringing illumination to the situation. Instead of inviting the other person to our space of peace, we hurt ourselves by stepping into their chaos.
We learn and grow from our relationships.
No matter how angry we may feel toward someone, there are no accidents; there is a reason for every single interaction we have with anyone, whether pleasant or not. They are teaching us, and we are teaching them. We can perceive even our most painful experiences as growth opportunities by asking ourselves, “What am I experiencing through this person that I need to learn?” The things that irritate us about someone else are a reflection of something we need to see within ourselves in order to mature in our spirituality. We may realize that this person is reminding us our need to develop more self-esteem or exposing our own need to be more patient and forgiving. It could also be that we recognize that what this person is doing that is causing us pain is the same thing we have to someone else in the past. The important thing is that when we view our relationship issues in this way, we are learning from, rather than judging the other person.
When you withhold forgiveness, you are likely to repeat
negative relationship patterns.
When you withhold forgiveness and choose to ignore the messages that are coming to you in the form of relationships, the universe will continue to present you with people and circumstances based on the same theme until you become aware of what you need to know. It is as though you are in a play and the same actor exits and comes back on stage again wearing a new outfit. Once you accept the lessons you are learning through your relationships, you are likely to free yourself from living through the same painful emotional patterns over and over again.
When you forgive someone,
you no longer allow them to control your life.
If you are holding back on forgiving someone, chances are you are making them the center of your attention. This means that you continue to re-experience the self-damaging emotions of pain, anger, and resentment every time you think of that person, which is probably most of the time. Why give anyone that kind of power over your life? Take back your power to live your life with all the potential that exists in present time.
Forgiveness is a form of neutral, unconditional love.
Forgiveness is not a warm, fuzzy emotion. It is a neutral, compassionate emotion that acknowledges that we are all connected as one human family. When you choose to forgive someone, you are acknowledging that every single person on earth, no matter who they are or how they conduct themselves, is part of humanity and, therefore, a part of who you are. In other words, you stop focusing on the objectionable physical actions of others by looking at a soul level, beneath their negative behavior.
The bottom line is that forgiveness is something we do for OURSELVES! It is the most effective way we can free ourselves from self-defeating old patterns from the past and step into the infinite potential that we can only discover in present time. When we do this, we are blessing ourselves and everyone in our lives by placing a greater priority on love and inner peace than on revenge and self-righteousness.
In next week’s blog, Part 2, we will discuss a simple exercise that will empower you to make forgiveness a part of your daily life.
Love and Light
Click this link to order the downloadable audio meditation, “Free Yourself Through Forgiveness,” narrated by Sandra Brossman.