By Rosalind Sedacca, CDC
With a new year looming before us, there’s no better time to reflect on ways we can let go of hurt, guilt, anxiety, anger and other emotions that destroy our inner peace and harmony. One of the most effective ways to heal from within is through the power of FORGIVENESS!
Forgiveness is a decision to let go of resentment, pain, hurt as well as thoughts of revenge. Forgiving doesn’t mean you are forgetting or denying the pain and hurt. It means you are releasing the grip it has over your life. It means you choose to focus on more positive facets of life for your own well-being. Forgiving does not mean you deny the other person’s responsibility in hurting you, nor does it minimize that pain.
We don’t forgive for the other person. We forgive because of the value it brings to us!
Through forgiveness you can better understand that no one is perfect — that we all make mistakes. Forgiveness enables you to come to terms with your inner turmoil by letting go of the destructive thoughts you may be harboring inside – thoughts that cause you distress and discomfort.
To forgive means you take back control of your life and dissolve the hateful thoughts that follow you wherever you go.
How & Why Forgiveness Works
Here are some key points to understand about forgiveness and why all mental health practitioners consider it a major step forward in coping with life’s harshest experiences:
1. You forgive for its value to you – regardless of whether the other person “deserves” to be forgiven. It is about regaining your personal power.
2. You forgive because it feels better inside you. It also makes you “a bigger, better” person.
3. When you reach a state of forgiveness, you reduce the awkwardness of being together at gatherings — relieving tension and uncomfortable moments. This can be especially valuable for family members after a divorce.
4. You experience a kind of emotional and spiritual peace and healing when you forgive. The offense loses its power over you and stops being the object of all your thoughts.
5. Forgiveness begins with a decision to stop harboring resentment and enables you to finally move on with your own life.
6. Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. It is not something you do for someone else. It is ultimately an internal decision and inner process.
7. With forgiveness, you give up playing the powerless role of victim.
8. An important step in the process of forgiveness is remembering the experience and seeking deeper understanding of its emotional impact on you. Then you decide to end the impact from a position of personal power!
9. The sense of personal power enables you to rise above the painful event and move it into your personal history, not part of your future life.
10. Through forgiveness, you become your own ally — an agent of change in your own life. It introduces you to a new way of experiencing hurtful events without holding on to the pain.
11. Forgiveness begins when the victim starts to look at the accused as a fallible, imperfect human being who in many ways is not much different than him/herself.
12. The conscious act of forgiving will increase your self-esteem, reduce your anger and inhibit your anxiety.
Healing Is a Choice You Make
Forgiveness starts by making a decision to forgive. That decision frees you to let go of the old hurts. You give yourself permission to release the negative emotions associated with that other person and choose to not let their past actions hurt you anymore. The healing choice is yours to make.
Unless you forgive others, your feelings of resentment, hurt and humiliation will continue being an active part of your life. Unless you forgive yourself, your feelings of guilt and shame will continue to entrap you!
Don’t forget to forgive yourself right now for any actions you took that you may regret. We all would do better if we knew better. Now that you do know better, make a conscious choice to behave in more positive and productive ways. Your future actions will reflect on your new perspective about yourself, your family and those you interact with in today’s complex world!
Using Life Lessons To Create a Brighter Future
Every experience in life – good or bad – can be a teaching for us. Consider your lesson in forgiveness as a vehicle for personal growth. This means getting in touch with what you learned from the experience so you never repeat the same mistakes again. With this understanding, all mistakes become stepping stones for enhancing your growth — rather than sources of pain and despair.
To get the full benefit of insight, think about what you have learned from all your past/present experiences.
1. Write down each of the lessons you have learned
2. Acknowledge the benefits of having had those lessons (every experience can be a teachable valuable moment if we look at it that way)
3. Vow to not repeat the lesson again
4. Appreciate the wisdom you have gleaned from your past and acknowledge yourself as a wiser, more empowered, better person as a result
5. Close your eyes and fully experience how that acknowledgment feels within you. Congratulations! You are experiencing true personal growth!
Martin Luther King – “We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.”
* * *
Rosalind Sedacca, CDC is a Divorce & Parenting Coach and Founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network. She is the author of How Do I Tell the Kids About the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children – With Love! To get her free ebook on Post-Divorce Parenting, and learn about her coaching services, programs and other valuable resources on divorce and parenting issues, visit https://www.childcentereddivorce.com
© Rosalind Sedacca All rights reserved.