“It’s not an easy journey, to get to a place where you forgive people. But it is such a powerful place, because it frees you.” Tyler Perry
Do you carry anger, resentment or hard feelings towards another? How does that really feel in you heart? Does the person you have these feelings toward even know how you are feeling? For me, all of this feels dark and heavy. It is not a feeling that is fun to carry around day-to-day.
To forgive is to have the chance to rewrite your own story. Do you really want the actions of others to define who you are? Of course the actions of others affect our lives. But do those people deserve to have a starring role in your own story? Forgiveness is not for the other person, it’s for you.
In my own life, I have had to do some major forgiving. It’s been one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. It’s much easier to linger in that angry, blaming place. That is the place where that person still resides in part of your psyche. Now, if it is a family member or a current friend, their presence in your life continues but that doesn’t mean their actions have stay in the forefront of your thoughts.
To keep the relationship, it means having to dive deep into other qualities about them that you love and embrace, all the while doing active forgiveness of the action that caused you pain. For me, it’s meant creating a mantra.
First, picture the person you are forgiving in your mind.
Then select a mantra…for example:
- I love you and I forgive you
- “Person’s name” I don’t like your actions yet I forgive you
- I am freeing my heart of (this person’s)actions
In the times in my life when I have needed to forgive, I have chanted these mantras to myself when out for walks, or when I used to jog. People would wonder why I didn’t use headphones and listen to music while working out. Little did they know the work that was taking place as I exercised.
Active forgiveness can also be done during meditation, while you are driving, before you get out of bed in the morning or before you fall asleep at night. There is no timeline for active forgiveness. It could take a week, a month or even a year. The point is to take the time needed to take back ownership of your story, your life and your heart. You are worth the work of forgiveness. It is also important to take an inventory of your own actions. Have you done things that have created pain in other people’s hearts? It might be time to check in and see how your actions have resonated with those you love. We are all a work in progress and forgiveness is part of it.
“True forgiveness is when you can say ‘Thank you for that experience.”‘ Oprah Winfrey