None of us are perfect. We have all caused someone to experience pain, sadness or anger at some point in our lives. It’s part of being human.
But, it seems that the experiences that affect us the most are those that find us on the receiving end of that causal relationship. It is our response to how we have been treated in the past that defines our experience. WE CHOOSE.
We choose how that other person’s actions cause us to feel. That choice is ours… not theirs. The only thing they might have chosen was the action they took towards us, and in some cases they probably had no idea that those actions may have resulted in our having a painful experience. But, if you think about it, we own that pain. And, if we decide that we don’t want it anymore… WE CAN RELEASE IT. We do that through forgiveness. The process of forgiveness returns the power of that situation to us.
It’s hard to see this, because most of us consider the act of forgiving as releasing someone from their accountability for the action or actions that hurt us. This is not the case. It is simply the process of releasing the hurt so that it no longer controls our life experiences. It is your saying, “I have made the conscious choice to not allow your actions to cause me pain anymore, or affect the quality of my life”.
“To forgive does not mean that we condone or justify what has happened to cause suffering to us or others. Forgiveness is not for others, but for our own well being. It allows us to release the burdens of the past so that we can love again. It also says that we will not allow that to happen to us our anyone we love again in our lifetime.” ~ Jack Kornfield
“It is not ‘forgive and forget’ as if nothing wrong had ever happened, but ‘forgive and go forward,’ building on the mistakes of the past and the energy generated by reconciliation to create a new future.” ~ Carolyn Osiek
There were many times in my past where I let anger consume me. To the point where I couldn’t sleep at night, I was trying to find ways to “get back” at the people who hurt me, and I shut a lot of wonderful people out of my life in the process. I had more bad days than good because I could not let go of the hurt they caused. Then one day I woke up and realized in the process of hanging on to the anger, resentment and feeling that I needed to have revenge… I was allowing the person (or people) who had “wronged” me to control me. I was letting their actions toward me determine how I was experiencing my life. That was a big awakening moment for me. I was out of control, my life was out of control… and by my own choice. Wow.
The way I process forgiveness doesn’t always involve a direct communication with the person who caused me pain. I simply envision a giant pink ball of light (which is the healing color for love)… I take all of that anger, resentment, pain, guilt… whatever feelings or memories from the situation and I visualize taking them and placing them into this ball of light. Then I envision myself handing it back to the person who gave these to me. I return them to their rightful owner with loving kindness and tell them that this belongs to them, and I will no longer let their actions affect the quality of my life.
I realized as an adult that most people who hurt us, or have in the past… have not done so on purpose. They have conditioning from their own past that has caused them to behave this way. We have the opportunity to break the cycle and create a more positive experience for ourselves and those around us through forgiveness.
We are all human. We all make mistakes. It’s how we learn from them that determines the kind of person we will be. Lastly, don’t forget the importance of forgiving ourselves too. We took ownership of that pain and as a result probably caused some along the way to those around us… we need to learn from it and release it. And, make a promise to live the rest of our life conscientiously.
Love and Light,