Forgiveness involves the head and the heart.
It is not an easy process by any means.
Forgiveness does not mean excusing, condoning, forgetting or ‘being a push over.’
Rather, forgiveness is about ensuring that you are in the greatest position possible to focus on your future rather than somebody else’s past decisions.
What is Forgiveness?
Forgiveness is a choice.
It is a deliberate choice to release feelings of anger and resentment.
For example, an event took place where somebody said something that made you feel angry and resentful.
Forgiveness is the choice that you make to get rid of those feelings of anger and resentment.
Your reasons for having feelings of anger and resentment are unique to you and nobody can ever take that away from you.
However, it is really important to make an effort to understand how forgiveness can help you propel your life forward as opposed to being stuck in the past.
Why Should I Forgive?
Forgiveness is something that is in your control.
Changing past decisions is something that is not in your control.
It can be super tough to understand why we should forgive, especially if your life has been thrown upside down because of somebody else’s decisions.
You may be feeling angry, upset, hurt and even confused as to why somebody would make a decision that would impact you to the extent that it has. This is OK.
It is important to acknowledge your feelings and accept them for what they are.
Once you have reflected, acknowledged and accepted your feelings it is then important to turn to forgiveness.
Forgiveness can help you free yourself from resentment, anger and bitterness.
It can help you acknowledge those feelings, value those feelings and actively release those feelings out of your own interest.
But I’m So Angry!
I get it.
You might be thinking- hold on. What they did was SO bad. UN-forgivable.
Let’s break it down and consider the following example:
Your parents have recently divorced.
Your dad has chosen not to be with your mum.
You are unsure what your living arrangements will be.
You have so many questions.
You think to yourself that this is incredibly unfair.
You begin to resent your dad for making such a big decision that has so many ripple effects.
How could he do this?
You’re angry, upset and confused.
Initially, you hold so much resentment towards your dad that you no longer want to sustain a relationship with him.
You think, this was his decision, he doesn’t deserve my care, love and attention.
Now, think about who this may benefit.
Tip: absolutely nobody.
This is where forgiveness comes in.
Having some sort of relationship with your parents is super important, if possible.
So too is letting go of all the anger that is likely to cause you a heap of stress in years to come.
In this scenario, choosing to forgive your dad for initiating a divorce does not mean that you think that his decision was the right decision to make. It also certainly doesn’t mean that you agree with his decision.
Instead, what forgiveness means is that you can focus on the future as opposed to the past.
You can focus on how you will sustain a relationship with your dad, despite being upset that he chose to leave your mum.
It means that you can focus on achievable goals, your loved ones and your ultimate happiness to the greatest extent possible.
Now, I am well aware that not all situations play out like the scenario above.
All situations are unique; however, it is important to apply the universal principle of forgiveness to whatever your situation may be.
Is Forgiveness A One Time Thing?
When you really think about it, no.
You choose to forgive daily.
Once you forgive, there is no magic switch that turns off all of your negative feelings.
You are likely to continue to experience feelings of anger and resentment, especially when things get tough.
Here, it is super important to focus on what you can control.
Forgiveness is about you.
It is about ensuring that you are in the greatest position possible to focus on your future rather than somebody else’s past decisions.
You’ve Got This
Forgiveness does not mean that you excuse, condone or agree with behaviour that has occurred.
Instead, it means that you are choosing to disallow feelings of anger, resentment and bitterness to take over your life.
Although not being in your shoes, I aim to understand and honour your unique position in this world. Please feel free to contact me by submitting a contact form here.