Honoring the 12th Anniversary of the International Day of Forgiveness.
Those of you who read The Power of the Possible or listened to my talks know how much and how often I write and speak about forgiveness. I do it because I have come to a profound understanding that forgiving and letting go is the only way to be free of whatever had happened to us in the past that is still causing us pain.
We will never be free otherwise. No matter how many successes we have created nor how good it all looks on the outside. Deep inside, something will be missing. We will always feel as if we are wearing a mask afraid to be found out. I’ve come to understand this deeply, on a gut level, through my own personal experience and also through the experiences of those around me, friends, family, clients. I also know that the very idea of forgiveness is still surrounded in controversy. Can everything be forgiven? Where do we draw the line? Some people get incredibly angry at the very mention of forgiving, believing it must be earned, deserved, asked for. Does it really? Here is something to think about: One woman, a victim of a horrendous crime, said to me that she had forgiven her abuser out of selfish reasons. “I simply couldn’t go on living with this pain inside me,” she said. "I had to let it go." “You did it out of self-love,” I said. “This is not selfish. This is courageous and powerful.” Another woman, a survivor of an indescribable abuse, told me that the experience had turned her into a raging, dangerous person that she had been for many years. When decades later she began to understand that her own destructive behavior was the result of what had happened to her in the past, she also began to see the probability of similar (or worse) things having happened to her abuser as well, making him capable of that level of cruelty. And while this does not excuse anything, it makes understanding and therefore forgiving and letting go more attainable. “We are all capable of everything under different circumstances,” she said. “To deny it is to keep perpetuating the cycle of violence.”
Both these women had found their healing through understanding of their own humanity. Both of them made a choice to forgive. Both of them have become the advocates of forgiveness. And if anything has to be earned, they have earned that right. They had forgiven their abusers and they had forgiven themselves. Themselves??? But they were the victims… Haven’t you noticed that no matter what happens to us, we always blame ourselves first? Asking the same question again and again: “Why did it happen to me?” “What could I have done differently?” Just think about it. I know you will agree. And let me tell you something else that you already know: Revenge brings no healing and no peace.
To quote Nelson Mandela: "Revenge is the poison we drink hoping it will kill our enemy."
An eye for an eye hasn’t worked in ages. All of it simply continues the same circle of pain.
Time doesn’t heal all wounds, (like we have been promised). Forgiveness will. There will always be accountability and consequences to actions, but this is a different matter. Yet, only forgiving yourself leads to not repeating the same mistakes. And only forgiving others leads to finally being free from what they had done to us. So we stop carrying them on our backs every minute of our days.
I have recorded a 6-Part video on Forgiveness.
It is on my website, on my YouTube channel. http://PowerOfThePossible.com
Watch it. I cover a lot there, in detail, and with examples.
If forgiveness does not come easy to you, this will answer many of your questions and will help you move forward.
And remember, I have recorded 2 Forgiveness Meditations, and the link to download them is pretty much on every page of my website. They are my gift to you. It is the gift I pass forward, because I too received them as a gift. They have changed my life.
I wish the same or more for you.