Forgiveness begins when we realize we are not alone in whatever we did wrong.
Remember, every mistake you make has been done thousands of times by other people. You created no new evil or managed no new failure.
What you did was react in a common way to human difficulties.
While you may have done things that were unkind or unskillful, they are in the past, and through forgiveness we can learn and practice enhanced methods to act.
We can learn to take things less personally through understanding we are human and will make mistakes. Each of us has the potential to be unkind or fail at certain things. No one is immune from that aspect of being human.
Every mistake is a common one and has been made before. We can forgive, learn, and grow rather than continue to beat ourselves up and stay stuck. Shame, embarrassment, and guilt are emotions that do little to help us grow.
Forgiveness is easy when we understand that we all make mistakes. An important step in forgiving ourselves occurs as people stop blaming their past actions for how they feel. Some became a victim of both their actions and the way they reacted to what they did.
Change Your Grievances into Forgiveness
Another step in forgiving ourselves occurs as we change our grievance story into a forgiveness story by reconnecting with our positive intention. We can do this just as well when we are upset with ourselves as with our best friend.
The grievance story focuses on the offense and how bad we feel about it. It rents a good deal of space in our mind as we tell ourselves and others the bad things that happened and our inability to cope.
- Even though my good friend Fredrick was a successful businessperson and had a stable marriage, he thought of himself as a failure because he did not stand up to his father all of his life.His grievance about standing up to his father colored his opinion of himself. Fredrick would distinguish any praise he received as a joke, as, if the person giving him a compliment only knew what a wimp he was they would never praise him.
- Another woman, named Lori, was depressed over the loss of her husband, the loss of her job, and her sense of failure. Losing a spouse and job is bad enough, but Lori made it much worse by condemning herself. She thought that death was out of her control but a better-paying job was not.Lori was correct except for one huge error in thinking. Nothing in your past can be changed. Only the present is under your current control. Only the present could be changed.
- Lastly Terri, had an affair that dominated her self-talk for a long time after she ended the affair. She condemned herself for ending a marriage that had been broken for years and referred to herself as a bad person rather than as a woman who, under stress, made a poor decision.
3 Points To Consider About Forgiveness
One of the biggest mistakes most of us make in our minds about forgiveness is that it somehow lets the “bad guy” off the hook. It doesn’t. Forgiveness is simply the healing of your own mind and heart.
Holding anger, resentment and hatred toward another injures your mind and heart; therefore, it follows that releasing those emotions through forgiveness would bring healing. Here are some points to consider about forgiveness:
- Forgiveness is for people, not despicable actions. Some actions are unthinkably horrible and absolutely unforgivable. Human beings can be worthy of forgiveness, even if their actions are not.
- Forgiveness does not absolve the wrongdoer of the wrongdoing. Forgiving someone is merely the decision to release the pain, fear and anger from your own mind and return to love. You can easily see the relationship to grieving here.
- Forgiving someone does not imply approval of their behavior or wrongdoing, nor does it assume that they will not do harm again in the future.