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Archive for April, 2012

I heard this quote the other day, “Forgiveness does not change the past, it enlarges the future.”  It struck me as a wonderful way to express the importance of forgiveness and how forgiveness is something you really gift to yourself.

International Peace SIGN

How can we have world peace when we do not have inner peace?

Have you not, at some point in your life, heard yourself say, “I will never forgive them!” Forgiveness, or the lack of it, is something that most of us use as a tool to punish someone else. Crazy don’t you think, for the truth is that the only one that gets harmed is you. Consider one of the people on your non-forgiveness list and ask yourself just a few questions such as:

  1. When was the last time you saw them?
  2. Were they aware that you are upset with them?
  3. Do they know they are on your non-forgiveness list?
  4. How is this affecting them?

The last question may be the most important. I have come to realize that most of the friends or family members who make my list usually don’t know about it. Heck, they may no longer be among the living. So when I stop to take a look at forgiveness or the lack thereof, I am the only one who knows. Now that is just crazy because in fact, rather than hurting the other person, which is the usual motive behind non-forgiveness, it is hurting me.

Okay, time to re-assess this whole forgiveness thing. Here it is – if you have someone whom you have not forgiven, you are not hurting them, you are hurting YOU. It is you who continues to carry the anger, the hurt or the grudge, not them. It is you who feels the heart ach or stomach churning, not them. So what do you do about that. Forgive them?

That just doesn’t seem right does it? Or does it? Remember, forgiveness is for you not them.

Years ago I read a wonderful book on forgiveness by Dr. Jerald Jampolsky. One of the things he shared which really helped me is that forgiveness doesn’t mean that you agree with the actions taken by the other person. It’s simply that you forgive them and understand that they, like you, are human and prone to making mistakes. That helped me a lot because I felt that by forgiving I was condoning what they had done. The next thing he suggested was to make a list of all those people whom I had not forgiven. I can remember thinking that my list wouldn’t be very long so I began writing my list on a very small piece of paper. Once I got started, the names came pouring out and as you will have guessed, I needed a lot more paper. It is not that I am an angry person, I just allowed myself to pour it out, all those people I had felt harmed by in my life. Somehow just the act of naming them helped and I felt a huge relief.

The next step was to actually work on the forgiveness piece. This is where I learned about Ho’oponopono, an ancient Hawaiian tradition that helps you to clean up past memories and move toward forgiveness. It works like this – after writing down your list, you focus your attention on all these people and say the following:

  • I love you.
  • I’m sorry
  • Please forgive me
  • Thank you

How does this work. By focusing your attention on each person and repeating this ‘mantra’ you replace the mental chatter that was filling your head about them. You allow yourself to release the transgressions you believe they committed against you and create space within you for love, generosity and more.

Oh, and by the way, the person who is often in need of the most forgiving is YOU. Haven’t you noticed how hard you are on yourself and the exacting standards of perfection to which you hold yourself? You may want to start your forgiveness journey by practicing on yourself first.

It is time you know – why would any of us want to waste time on emotions which drain us when we could be filling up with love, joy and abundance.

Until next time….

Betty

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