Forgiveness is easier said than done, and yet we know deep down it’s the right thing to do. Judge not lest ye be judged. Right? After all, what we do unto others ultimately comes back to us. That’s Universal Law. So why is forgiveness so elusive?
For most of us, forgiving is difficult because it requires venturing into the far recesses of the heart, where we have safely hidden our wounds as a practicality- in order to move on with our lives. Over time we become masters at stuffing our emotions way down where they are unseen and out of our way. After all, who wants to waste time living in the past when there’s so much to be done in the moment?
Perhaps, we’ve been taught to be tough- to grin and bear our misfortunes like a badge of courage. We’re told pain is part of the process of growing up. But this false bravado belies the truth that we unconsciously view ourselves as a victim. There is no doubt that we have experienced every kind of wound possible- from unfairness to betrayal and brutality. Our hearts cry out for justice, love and acceptance and yet we surreptitiously hide feeling helpless, abandoned, and alone in order to protect our inner child as others cope with their own concerns. And, yet, how often do we seek revenge or silently hope for a chance to see someone else getting what he or she finally deserves? Do we admit gloatting with satisfaction at another’s misfortune in return? What evil thoughts of our own lurk under the smile that portrays, “I’m fine,” in spite of it all?
Self pity is not a like-able companion, so we easily slip into denial. But as anger, guilt, betrayal and resentment linger, our ability to experience love and joy fades. Denied or hidden pain renders us feeling unfulfilled and hopeless. As though the light has been snuffed out. Only grey remains. Many self-medicate in reaction to this internal suffering through addictions of all kinds- food, drugs, pornography, and myriad self-defeating behaviors. Others opt to over-achieving- a more acceptable outward expression, hiding an inward pain.
Steps toward Forgiveness…
Acceptance. In order to arrive at a place where forgiveness is possible one must grieve, fully acknowledging the pain trapped within a deeply wounded heart. Opening to the emotion. Crying, journaling, talking to someone who will listen… releasing what has been buried deep within. In this way we step out of denial and open the door to being able to forgive.
Letting Go. Once you fully accept the horrible thing has happened to you- or that you have done- the time will come to purposely let it all go. There is healing in the story and also in releasing it. Give up the guilt, the justification, and the blame. Let yourself off the hook and others, too. It may take time and practice to stop identifying yourself as a victim, but in the instant it happens, the heart begins to heal. To continue identifying with the pain is to keep hurting yourself. Love yourself enough to let go. No one else can do this but you. Surrender.
Make Amends. Accept an apology, if it is given. Accept the situation for what it is, if a sincere “I’m sorry” is never offered. Perhaps boundaries are needed for Self love, but not barriers to keep out love. Let the Heart be your guide, not your mind.
See the Mirror. As an integral part of the human drama, which takes place in a dualistic world, we incarnate to play the necessary roles- both good and evil- in order to help each other evolve. Our lessons- both joyful and painful- provide opportunities to know ourselves and understand our place in the universe. Our reality is a reflection of ourselves, in some way, shape or form, and in forgiving others we are also forgiving ourselves. Forgiveness, although extended outwardly to others, is ultimately our own gift.
Expand Perception. Embrace the wisdom of the sages that we are ONE expressed as the many and that our soul orchestrates experiences in order to bring us back to Source. We rise above the facade of appearance, to see beyond the veil of illusion that reveals all existence as an expression of the divine. We are powerful creators and changing our perception in each moment provides the freedom to release anything that no longer serves you. Open to the freedom of experiencing expansive love, joy through Forgiveness.
We are held prisoner of our pain until we set ourselves free. Within the Heart you will find forgiveness is key.