Forgiveness Sake… For Goodness Sake!
As the New Year begins, we take inventory of what we have. Hopefully we are not carrying debits on our energy. If so then perhaps we need to let go of some burdens that are taking up energy we need to create other experiences that are life-giving and positive and not life-draining and negative. Forgiveness is an art and a practice. It is for us, not for the wrongdoer, even though some of us might need to feel like generous benefactors to the culprits in order to create another debt they will owe us…and of course this is called a tit for tat… “I gave you forgiveness, now you owe me.!”
The truth is that forgiveness is for us and only us. We do not have to even let the wrongdoer know we are going to forgive them. It is an act of self-love to release our energy and make it available for another worthwhile endeavor that offers a better gain. That is more life sustaining not draining. IT is easier said than done, since most of us in theory want to forgive and let go, but few of us practice it to where we really gain back the energy.
Forgiveness is not lip service, when our heart is still heavy. It truly is a release of the burden of the negative and hurt energy we have received as a result of someone’s actions that may or may not have been intentional.
For starters, if we have good will, or caring for a person, we usually give them the benefit of the doubt that they did not do it on purpose and it is easier to let it go. When we have good will and they do it on purpose it is harder, but our caring gets put to the test, do we have greater caring or do we keep count: each of these postures reflecting our level of moral development. Love and caring, if you please, do not count the cost, yet, self-seeking ways look to gain and it is called being interested in a return such as one expects in a business investment. And let’s face it, if we do not have good will whether it was done on purpose or not, it is the hardest act to perform.
Here are some information from the course by Joan Borysenko on Soul Care:
Robin Casarjian founder of the Lionheart Foundation, wrote a book called: “Forgiveness: A bold choice for a Peaceful Heart.” From a program she developed, called Houses of Healing she describes what forgiveness is and what it is not.
Forgiveness is NOT:
1. Pretending or ignoring your feelings or acting as if everything is fine when it is not.
2. Acting like you have forgiven when deep down you are still resentful.
3. Handing over your power or showing weakness because true forgiveness strengthens us and frees us.
4. Condoning or accepting negative or hurtful behaviors of others
5. Telling someone you forgive them, that is a choice. You can forgive without contact with the other person
6. Trusting someone again who has hurt you because trust has to be earned.
7. Putting yourself in a situation where you can get victimized again.
8. Forgetting what happened.
9. A lofty ideal.
Forgiveness is for us, it frees us, and it is not about the offender. P. Wong, psychologist, says that forgiveness is an act that is against our instincts of revenge and hate and the odds of getting hurt again.
Forgiveness takes time and it will often rivet. Sometimes you get closer and then you move backward. But studies show that when we choose to hang on and retell the story to ourselves as to why we do not want to let go or forgive, the retelling the story itself “re-traumatizes” us and the story gets bigger and stronger….(Stanford Forgiveness Project)
Check out www.forgiveforgood.com
From multiple evidenced based studies on forgiveness some general guidelines follow
to practice and live out forgiveness.
- 1. Acknowledge exactly how you feel. Do not sugar coat or make more awful (awfulize), just feel what really is.
- 2. Tell your story to someone you trust to get heard and validated and recognize what the price is to holding onto the grudge.
- 3. Do not wait for an apology. TAKE action. Change your attitude.
- 4. Measure what you gained in this situation of the transgression…insights to help you grow in self-understanding, empathy and compassion. We might discover our own negative self- talk, judgmental thoughts, anger and self-blame and can use this as an invitation to grow in self- awareness.
- 5. Amend your grievance story after gaining your unique insights so that you can also appreciate your courageous choice as it is easier to stay depressed or angry.
- 6. Make a positive plan to get what you need and want.
Feel the light heartedness that comes when you let go and release the energy for other good things, “for goodness sake, forgiveness sake.”
Dare to think and act different this New Year, as you evolve to higher ways of being… forgiveness sake, for goodness sake!!!!
Maria Hilda Piñón, author of The Willows of Corona, a novel, and Candles in the Dark…poems to grieve, hope and love again.