Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Lighten your load

Forgiveness. It really doesn't change what happened in the past, does it? However, it profoundly affects what can happen in the future.

What's done is done. That cannot be changed. How you see it and remember it can change—or at least the emotional charge of it can change. And you will be changed if you forgive or are forgiven. That's perhaps the most important part of it all. You will change. 

Carrying around the emotional load either of having been wronged by someone or of having wronged someone yourself is a heavy burden. It can feel like carrying a 500-pound gorilla on your back all day every day. So how can you even measure the relief of putting down that burden?! It's an incredible "lightness of being." It's a wonderful way to lose weight!

In addition to the lighter burden, you no doubt will have learned lessons from the experience itself and from the act of forgiveness as well—lessons that may change how you do things in the future. So in many ways, forgiveness expands the possibilities in your future.

Some time ago when I finally forgave someone for hurtful things they'd said to me in the past, I felt much lighter and freer. In addition, I learned some lessons about conversations with those I love: about asking direct questions rather than assuming I knew what was meant by a comment, about when to simply let comments roll off my shoulders because they weren't meant to hurt me so much as they were a reflection of the pain of the other person, and similar lessons.

Is there someone you need to forgive today? Or do you need to ask someone else to forgive you? Don't put it off. You'll feel so much lighter today. And the experience will expand your future, too.

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