"To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love.
In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness." -- Robert Muller
Forgiving can be really difficult. Why? Letting go is not something we are taught. We learn in a competitive world that the one who is "right" acquires - the best grades, sexiest spouse, luxurious home, most money, glamourous lifestyle, attention and celebrity. Being right about a point of view is even worth fighting for. Who wants to be wrong?
We learn that having things - a new car, designer clothes, exotic holiday, prestigious career - will make us happy. Does it? Sometimes. Until you want the next "thing". We are not schooled in the idea that letting go will make us happy.
We cling to our beliefs about the right way to live, express ourselves and relate with each other.
As the saying goes: would you rather be right, or happy?
Why forgive? It gives us another option - greater authenticity. I am all for a life of prosperity, successful accomplishments and enjoying the material wealth that is available to us. If we believe that such a life is necessary for us, then we could be heading for heartbreak, especially in this current climate.
"When you forgive it takes you from the place of the victim to that of a victor." -- Unknown
Changing our beliefs, being willing to let go, may not come easily to you. Creatures of habit, we hold on to our beliefs, even when they limit us. If you are attached to a past wealthier lifestyle, changing it hurts. Turmoils now in the world demand that many do change.
If you are having difficulty letting go of the past, please be gentle with yourself.
This story of an English vicar, unable to forgive the killers of her daughter, and choosing to resign her post illustrates how sometimes, it is just not possible to forgive.
Do we further condemn her? No, I think she deserves our greatest compassion.
"Be assured that if you knew all, you would pardon all." -- Thomas A. Kempis
For 10 years, I held a vision that 15th March be celebrated annually and globally as International Forgiving Day. More about it in this article: Choosing To Forgive
What happens when you forgive? A space is created for the new to come in. We cannot change what this or that government did, or did not do; what a loved one said in a moment of anger; our lack of patience towards an elderly parent; the rows that triggered a divorce. We can learn the lessons, receive the blessings and move on.
"The forgiving state of mind is a magnetic power for attracting good." -- Catherine Ponder
Forgiving is one of the most profound acts of loving I have ever experienced. The most challenging has been forgiving myself - forgiving my failures, my shortcomings, disappointments and misunderstandings.
Imagine that you were free from the past to enjoy fully the present moment. What if, no matter what happened, even yesterday, you would let go of attachments and expectations (what you thought should be taking place) and could really make the most of today. You are free. This is a new start.
"One of the secrets of a long and fruitful life is to forgive everybody everything before you go to bed" -- Ann Landers
You might like to experiment with completing these statements, either in your mind or in writing:
I forgive myself or judging _________ (myself, another person, situation) for __________.
"To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you." -- Lewis B. Smedes
Take in a deep breath and as you breathe out say to yourself:
I forgive ________ and fill in the space whoever or whatever you would like to forgive, and let go.
As you release an attachment, allow yourself to grow more peaceful.
"The ineffable joy of forgiving and being forgiven forms an ecstasy
that might well arouse the envy of the gods." -- Elbert Hubbard
Forgiving - not another burden to shoulder
Have you noticed that the word shoulder includes "should"; that when you are putting yourself under pressure, your shoulders become tense? If there is something you cannot forgive, better to accept it. Be open to the possibility that one day this too may change.
"I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice." -- Abraham Lincoln
During the years I have been exploring forgiving, I have discovered many inspiring stories of forgiveness and deep healing taking place, in seemingly impossible circumstances. Here is the latest:
"Forgiveness is a rebirth of hope, a reorganization of thought, and a reconstruction of dreams. Once forgiving begins, dreams can be rebuilt. When forgiving is complete, meaning has been extracted from the worst of experiences and used to create a new set of moral rules and a new interpretation of life's events." -- Beverly Flanigan
Have you ever found the courage to forgive in difficult times? Have you experienced not being able to forgive? How do you think forgiving could help you to overcome present trials?