I am starting the year with forgiveness. Both by doing it and writing about it.
It’s a most powerful way of starting fresh, of starting over. It’s not the most pleasant or easy thing to do, but it’s necessary if we are to truly move on.
It is often said and for good reason that we forgive for our sake and not the offender’s sake
Lack of forgiveness — also known as holding a grudge, carrying bitterness, staying angry over something and with someone — is a surefire way of carrying that something or someone with us all the time. It is clearly giving away our power and yet it is so good at disguising itself as a sign of (false) power. Somehow, we tend to think that by staying angry and unforgiving, we protect ourselves from that thing or person. But the truth is, we are instead allowing whatever it is to hold power over us. It colors the way we react and see the world. It influences our feelings and decisions. Hence, it is a most insidious form of enslavement. This is why it’s in our best and highest interest to forgive.
Here are some usual suspects in the people-we-need-to-forgive department and why.
Ex-loves. But, of course, ex-loves — they who had so much ability to hurt us precisely because we cared about them (their opinion, their regard, their attention) a lot, if not too much. For this, it helps to acknowledge that we did choose to let that person into our life. We have to work at forgiving them their transgressions, both real and perceived, and at forgiving ourselves for our lapses in judgment and especially for the lack of self-love that allowed for any form of abuse. Forgiving and bidding a thorough farewell to our ex-es this way heals us and paves the way for a new and better love experience to come in.
Family members. These are people who likely have great influence over us, especially during our most impressionable years. When family members hurt us because they don’t act or treat us the way we expect them to, they can leave wounds that we carry on well into adulthood. Each family is different and there’s no reason to be ashamed or beat ourselves up about how our family is and how our family members are. Our task is to deal with our own family issue/s and work towards forgiving those family members we perceive to have done us wrong or harm or who continue to do so. There’s no escaping this work because we have to heal from the foundation if we are to thrive and flourish in other aspects of our life.
Ex-employers/bosses. Most of us have authority figures who scarred us for some reason or other. Here, it’s good to see the situation from a more mature and objective perspective, acknowledge our role in what happened and in the dynamic, and let it go once and for all. Let us get the lesson/s for our career and personal life instead, thereby turning those lemons into lemonade.
“Friends.” Former friends and fake friends fall in this category. There will be times when people we considered friends will not act like such or show themselves up to not be real friends after all. This is really a lesson in people’s motivations, in how people can change, and on how different we all are — that is, we cannot expect our treatment of and feelings for others to be returned to us in the same way and amount. Some friendships do have seasons and people do make mistakes. We have to learn to discern whether it’s one or the other, see how we can salvage the friendship if that’s what we want to do, and to move forward sans burden or grudge.
Bullies, gossipmongers, other “bad” people who’d done us wrong. There has been much talk of bullies in social media lately and many of us have had experiences of bullying behavior (among other unwanted and unwarranted bad acts and behaviors) in our life. Given that we have done what we can to curb the other party’s bad behavior and confronting as and when able, what’s next is to understand that this is really mostly to do with that person’s problem and not ours. Then there’s the need to look into whatever it is in us or our behavior that could be changed or improved to prevent a similar thing happening in the future.
It is often said and for good reason that we forgive for our sake and not the offender’s sake.
In fact, we can and we’re better off forgiving even if no apology is given. Not that it’s easy, especially if the offense and the consequences were grave. This is why we can forgive the same person and offense as many times as needed. Because we may think we’re done forgiving someone, and then weeks, months, even years down the line, we find ourselves feeling the same anger, guilt, frustration, remorse, bitterness — any or a combination of those feelings that may come up stemming from the incident.
Let us choose to forgive again when that happens. There is no quota on forgiveness. And let’s accept the feelings that come up when we do forgive. There is no one way to forgive and to feel afterwards and it’s all good. What matters is the attitude and act of forgiveness. Do it and watch yourself get unstuck and ready to embrace a life that’s (more) peaceful and free.
Finally, seek the right kind of help if you think you need it, such as Life Coaching. I am a Professional Life Coach and can guide you through powerful forgiveness exercises and conversations through my Work Smart, Love Smart Coaching. You may get details of my service in my website www.lifecoachemguevara.com, and sign up with me for a Free 60-minute Strategy Consultation.
Forgive and be free. Have a light, bright and joyful 2019!