There is no upper level class in forgiveness. Many of us do not know how to get over betrayal, disappointment and harm.
It happens in life.
There are people who harm other people and we weren’t taught how to deal with it.
Sometimes they do it on purpose, other times…you just happen to be a person in the way to where they are going. Almost guaranteed, it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with the person who has caused you harm. It is how you react that affects you.
“Forgiveness does not change the past but it does enlarge the future.” Paul Boese
Never mind revenge! I would like to say that revenge never enters my thoughts…sometimes it creeps in…but then I think that life has it’s own way of paying back…and we don’t need to expend the energy or take the low road. What we feel is probably natural, actually acting on it would just make everything worse.
Forgiveness makes hate a thing of the past. There is no need for hate. Hate is an awful thing to carry around with you.
“Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you deny the other person’s responsibility for hurting you, and it doesn’t minimize or justify the wrong. You can forgive the person without excusing the act. Forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with life.” Mayo Clinic
Through the years, I have carried some hurts longer than others. It was one really bad hurt, that caused me the most pain and it also taught me how to handle hurt and forgiveness.
In retrospect, I could have left it behind the minute it happened…but I didn’t – I carried it for years. It seeped into my thoughts almost daily.
It took me 3 years and a very important strained relationship. I was driving in my car, lol…90 & Fort (I was almost home) a prayer popped into my head (the Our Father) and at the same time the thought of forgiveness occurred to me. It was like the brightest light bulb.
I thought about it for 30 seconds and then I did it. First I forgave the person who “wronged” me…and then I forgave myself for my reaction. Forgiving myself was the biggest relief. Until I went through the steps of forgiveness, I didn’t realize that what was bothering me most was my reaction and of course, the repercussions of my reaction. Most people would say it was understandable, but it wasn’t smart and it took away my power.
Resentment prolongs anger, strips you of your power, causes emotional pain and keeps you from strong relationships. TWEET THIS
This was 7 years ago. It was a huge life lesson for me. The biggest plus in what I learned, is that I never go to bed with resentments.
I would like to share what I learned and how I now deal with being “wronged”, whether it is perceived, implied or reality.
When someone does something that hurts me I:
- look at their reasoning and see it is all about them and not me (this gives me empathy too)
- forgive the offending party
- review the boundaries I set and what I could have done differently
- acknowledge any part I had in what happened
- forgive myself
- set up new boundaries that will protect me in the future
- let it go
Releasing your resentment releases your anger, brings you closer to God, empowers you to build relationships and feel good about yourself. TWEET THIS
Guaranteed, it is easier to forgive than to live with resentment, anger, bitterness and shame. It is also easier to forgive than to become a victim.
IF there is an offense, part of the act of forgiveness, has to be to either remove yourself from the person or situation – or to set up boundaries to prevent it from ever happening again.
A pro and con list is in order here. What are the pros and cons of the relationship. You must put yourself out of harms way.
- Sometimes things happen – like someone excluding you or bossing you around – that you realize doesn’t really hurt you at all. Once you release any ownership of another person’s bad behavior, it may even be something you can live with and move beyond.
- When it is someone who does not add value to your life in any measurable way – well that is the easy one, you extricate yourself from the personal or business relationship and let them have at it.
- If it is someone who adds value – but sucks up more than you can (or are willing) to give – that is a tough one, especially if the value is in a relationship. No one can make that decision for you – a pro-con list is especially good for you.
- If it is someone who you want in your life, no matter what they do (like a family member) – you have to set boundaries to protect yourself.
We probably all have a little or a lot of all of these situations. Setting boundaries can be a whole book…a blog couldn’t cover it all for us.
“The joy that comes from realizing that suffering in our lives comes from the meaning we have given it is unlimited.” Mastin Kipp
I believe that there is incredible healing in forgiveness. Forgiving someone can take years of burden off your shoulders…not to mention your soul. It restores relationships, enables new beginnings and allows us to move on to better things.
Forgiveness is an important skill and gift you give yourself.
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