Just thinking about forgiveness makes me pout. The little neglected girl in me does not want to forgive. She wants to console herself with righteous indignation.
I resist the thought of forgiving myself for past mistakes. Even worse is the thought of forgiving others for what I see as trespasses against me. I tend to hold onto things: items, emotions, memories. Even my body holds onto scars from decades ago. It is hard for me to let go.
A few weeks ago I attended a forgiveness workshop at Bodhi Spiritual Center facilitated by Mark Anthony Lord. The workshop participants took part in several exercises to explore the concept of forgiveness.
The Biggest Take-Aways
- We often see forgiveness as a task we must accomplish. A burden we must carry until feelings attached to the memory can be released.
- Forgiveness IS NOT for the benefit of the other person (or people). It is for you, it gives you back your power, energy, peace of mind and freedom.
- The most important person to forgive, for everything, is yourself.
The final assignment was to complete a 21 days of forgiveness exercise. I had to ask myself would I be willing to set myself and the others free? As of the date of this article, I have not started the exercise. I think about it everyday (like I used to do about actual exercise) but I am not ready to forgive.
According to Una Hearne, “Forgiveness is a practice, it requires being conscious of our thinking and changing thinking that isn’t working for us. There are no rules in any kind of inner personal development, it is a unique journey for each person. What works for one person might not work for the next. Try everything and use what works for you. The first step is a choice, a decision – Do you want to change the effect that something in your past is having on your life today and transform it into something that affects your future positively”?
21 Day Forgiveness Practice
1. Create a list of people and organizations who you feel have wronged you in any way. Ask yourself, “Who or what am I holding hurt, resentment, pain or self righteousness around”? After completing this list, write at the bottom of the page, “I accept for everyone on this list great happiness, success and may only good come their way”.
2. Set your list at your bedside and every morning and every night place your hand on your list and declare “I ask that forgiveness set me and the following free. I accept for everyone on this list great happiness, success and may only good come their way.” No need to list off or read the names on your list.
3. Declare and hold high your intention of freedom and healing and you will be transformed.
We make forgiveness into a duty; a box on a checklist to be ticked. But the reality is that forgiveness is nothing like what we have been taught. And forgiveness really has nothing to do with being a good person. In fact, forgiving is empathetically understanding those who have wronged you. It is understanding that all wrong doing is a product of pain, and those committing the most heinous acts are in the most pain of all.
- 5 Myths You Have Been Taught About Forgiveness (Lonerwolf.com)
- Forgive Everybody for Everything (UnaHearne.com)