Forgiveness is a powerful tool. As a not-so-simple man said eons ago, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”
In those simple words I am constantly reminded that forgiveness is not just an essential part of being human, forgiveness is a very powerful tool for letting go.
Forgiveness plays a part in every major religion out there. It is also a crucial part of the human condition. But we must also remember, forgiving others is just one step along the path of humanity. The next step lies in your ability to forgive yourself.
The dictionary definition of forgiveness is the complete and unabsolved release of past transgressions without any expectation of payment in return.
It is an interesting definition; but it leaves out two key elements that are important in the modern world. First, it fails to include the act of self-forgiving, and second, it fails to account for transgressions that may happen in the future.
After all, forgiving yourself is a key part of getting rid of the regret and remorse you most likely carry with you from the past. Forgiveness is also an important part of starting over and starting anew. If you are always thinking about something someone did in the past, how are you going to trust them in the future?
The answer to both lies in your ability to forgive…
“You ripped my heart out, but I forgive you” “you cheated on me, but I forgive you” “you hurt me, but I forgive you.” Do these sound familiar? At what point will you say, “I forgive you, but enough is enough, and this time we are going to do things differently.”
How many times have you found yourself berating yourself with words like, “I am so stupid, I can’t believe I just did that””, or “I am so out of my league, what am I even doing here? We are going to fail miserably.” As versus how many times have you heard yourself say, “Okay, so I messed up. What happened, happened and there is no way to get it back. So, I forgive myself, let’s let it go and move on.”
The truth is, no matter how much you forgive publicly, you still harbor some guilt or shame or resentment on the inside. Until you forgive yourself and those around you completely, your words will never have the power they should. And in the end it will sound more like “I forgive you, but you’re still kind of wrong,” or, “Okay, I forgive myself, but I’m still an idiot for not seeing the truth.”
Either way, it is still okay. Forgiveness is such a powerful part of who you are, that even partial forgiveness will help to clear the air. Just do not forget to act on it.
If you truly want to get ahead of the game, learn to forgive unabashedly and completely; and yes, even for things that have yet to occur.
You know what your own faults are. You also have a pretty good idea about the faults of those around you. Why carry them around? Why not forgive them in advance and let it go? You might be surprised at how good it feels, freed from the weight of anticipation.
Starting now, forgive yourself of the inevitable. While you are at it, forgive those around you.
That does not mean you have to accept things as they are, you simply have to welcome them as a very real part of being human, and focus your energy on fixing them, rather than holding blame.
With forgiveness, you will quickly find how much easier life can become.
When you stop anticipating what others might or might not do, and just let it happen, your temper will flair up less. When you forgive yourself for whatever slips may occur, you will find that voice of doubt will take its leave.
Learn to acknowledge life as it is for all its faults, and it will simply begin to flow.
And isn’t that what you want?
Be well this week, and forgive.