When people think of forgiveness, they often relate it to the act of forgiving another person who may have slighted them or mistreated them in some way. Where the true power of forgiveness can be felt, however, is in the ability to forgive one's self for thoughts that bind them to unhealthy habits, fears or beliefs, or even forgiving 'God' or your Higher Power for events or situations that were never in your control.
Forgiveness is an act that defies our nature to be defensive; in and of itself, these defensive behaviours served us well when Sabre Toothed tigers were lurking around outside the cave front, threatening to eat our food and our children, but in today's day and age, these reactive behaviours no longer service us. What we have evolved to requires a much more evolved way of thinking, and part of that thinking process is the refined art of forgiving.
To forgive is to let go of any expectations that the past once held for you. Forgiving means that acceptance takes its place; accepting that one is powerless to change that which one cannot change, and to accept all that is with love and trust that all is exactly as it is meant to be.
This is a really hard concept to wrap our primitively wired brain around; exponentially perplexing when there is emotional attachment to other beings involved.
Trying to remove one's Self from the equation of wrong-doings and reactions takes much insight, reflection and introspection. These are skills that we should be focusing on in our hectic, busy, materialistic and consumer-driven lifestyles, and teaching our children, who face a rapidly changing future for their children and their grandchildren. Focusing on that which we can control releases us from being imprisoned by that which we cannot. Acknowledging things that we are unhappy about or dissatisfied with is healthy, but dwelling there and obsessing or ruminating about something that one has no control over is a waste of perfectly good energy that could be used to manifest some amazing miracles into one's life.
The most profound thing about forgiveness is that it is comprised of the exact same energy that the manifestation of hate, revenge, and anger are borne from; so now ,knowing that, if one had a choice of taking that one seed, and just through conscious choice, growing an apple tree or a thistle weed, why would you not choose to grow the apple tree?
Approaching life with a heart open and filled with love is how these seemingly impossible changes to our concrete ways of old-thinking miraculously occur. This starts with an awareness of the negative thought train that starts in the brain. Once that can be immediately identified, the brakes can be applied before that train runs out of control and derails into a twisted, ugly mess.
Choosing to be content and peace-filled counterbalances the busy lives in which we all live. Making conscious choices in how we perceive events in our life is the starting point to manifesting these choices. It isn't long after that the body and the brain will prefer the 'feel good moments' that come with those thoughts, and automatically want to go there, naturally, on their own. It's a journey worth traveling and a healthy lifestyle change that would do the world some good.
"The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong." - ~Mahatma Gandhi
When we choose to not forgive, and to strap ourselves to resentment, pain, hurt and vengeance, we create a bind that is heavier than steel, and twice as strong. We become exhausted, mentally and physically from having to carry around the weight of this burden. It takes away our smile, our happiness, or hope, our spirit. It scars our heart and our soul.
Letting go is the most freeing act you can do. This doesn't mean you have to cut people out of your life; you're not letting go of the person, necessarily, but rather your own anger and negative feelings. Sometimes people mess up and all they need in order to turn things around, is forgiveness. Even the worst perpetrators you can imagine are worthy of forgiveness. Forgiving doesn't mean you are forgetting.. it is simply a release of the toxic feelings that don't serve you well. This is a fine line, however; you want to be sure you're not enabling bad behaviour or risking your health or safety by keeping certain people in your life. It really is about finding that healthy balance; done with a great deal of insight and level-headed thinking and action out of a place of love.
Understanding on a deeper more spiritual level that everyone has their own journey through life makes letting go of these negative emotions a little easier. It takes a bit of faith and self-confidence to 'let go' and forgive.
In the world of addiction recovery, there is a saying that is "Let Go, Let God". This is a very powerful message in that it teaches those in recovery to let go of the negative feelings that keep them active in their destructive and toxic behaviors; shame, guilt, anger, hatred. Letting go and having faith that all is as it should be, releases the individual from having to carry that burden.
It can be the most liberating act to forgive someone. That simple act, done from the heart, can instil relief and peace to the wounded soul almost instantly. It then becomes clear that this is what the soul wants us to do.. forgive.
Find the strength to forgive those in your life for events and situations that were hurtful and evoked pain. One day perhaps they can offer some further insight into the 'why' and the 'how' behind actions done, but it all starts with forgiving.
~ Love and light
"The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, … their oneness, with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the universe dwells Wakan Tanka (the Great Spirit), and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us.
This is the real peace, and the others are but reflections of this.
The second peace is that which is made between two individuals, and the third is that which is made between two nations. But above all you should understand that there can never be peace between nations until there is known that true peace, which, as I have often said, is within the souls of men."
~ Black Elk, Oglala (The True Peace)
Registered Psychiatric Nurse, Supportive Energy Therapy Practitioner, Yoga Instructor, Chartered Herbalist, AcuDetox Specialist, Personal Trainer, Entrepreneur, mom of three..
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