Friday, September 26, 2014

Forgive: Lighten up

There's nothing quite like forgiveness to lighten your load. Are you carrying around something today that requires forgiveness? Perhaps it's a wrong or slight by someone else. Or maybe you need to forgive yourself.

Whatever it is, I encourage you to do everything in your power to begin the process of forgiveness. Yes, forgiveness is a process. Some people say they instantly forgive someone who hurts or harms them. More often, however, it happens incrementally. You forgive someone for the harm they did to you. Then one day your anger flashes once again as you think of that act. So you forgive them again. You do this as often—and for as long—as you need until you feel free of the weight of it all.

Forgiveness benefits your health and well-being. Typically, it doesn't change life for the person who hurt you (though there are times someone really waits for that word of forgiveness from you). It profoundly affects you, however, as you let go of a heavy load of baggage that you've been carrying around. I cannot say it any better than does Mark Nepo in The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have. He says about forgiveness: "Forgiveness has deeper rewards than excusing someone for how they have hurt us. The deeper healing comes in the exchange of our resentments for inner freedom." Ah, yes. Inner freedom.

It needs to be pointed out, too, that forgiving doesn't necessarily mean forgetting. Some acts are so hurtful and horrendous that it's not possible to forget: such things, for example, as sexual abuse or murder. Forgiving such acts may require you to seek help from a professional. If that would help, I encourage you to do so. You'll feel so much lighter, even when you just begin the forgiveness process.

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