‘The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong’-Mahatma Gandhi
I believe that forgiveness is something you practice consistently. It is a skill that needs to be learned.
Forgiveness means that you are no longer blaming or punishing yourself for what happened in the past.
This means you are no longer:
- Wishing it were different.
- Replaying the moment in your head constantly so it takes over your clarity and how you present yourself to world.
- Struggling to let go of a hardship or a difficult time in the past.
The power of forgiveness is about being able to ‘move on’ in your mind and let your heart heal.
I speak from experience when I share that as long as you continue the act of ‘wishing things were different’, you are going to feel an enormous amount of pain or guilt.
Forgiveness is about freeing yourself emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. It’s an incredible act of grace you can give to yourself.
‘Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future’-Paul Boose
We’ve all struggled to let go of hardships from the past.
- Maybe you came out of a bad breakup (spouse, partner, or friendship).
- You treated someone poorly in the moment or was treated poorly by someone else.
- You made a huge mistake at work.
- You were fired/terminated from a job that you needed or loved?
- You made a bad financial decision.
- You tried a new business venture and it failed.
- You should have approached something or someone important to you in a more sensitive or kind way?
- Maybe someone was not kind or loving toward you?
- You feel responsible for someone else’s suffering or misgivings.
- You are trying to break free from a difficult challenge in the past.
But how do you let go of all of that negativity or those difficulties from the past and move on?
This means letting go of:
- What went wrong in the past.
- Negative experiences.
- Pain from the past.
- Who was right…who was wrong.
- Who is to blame.
- Replaying in your mind, why it didn’t work out.
- Why you were treated the way you were in that moment.
The above list of ‘letting go moments’ is extensive, but in my experience, one of the only ways you are going to forgive is if you stop wishing things had been different.
Putting the work into accepting the fact that you cannot change what happened in the past.
But this is a choice.
A choice that will take time to transform in your mind and spirit.
Once you choose to stop wishing things had been different, this will swing your power and energy to today and the future.
Stopping yourself from ‘wishing things were different’ will free you from the ‘anchor’ that you have been dragging around for weeks, months, or even years.
This will prepare you for an EPIC comeback!
‘Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future.’ -Louis B. Smedes
Even though forgiveness is a vital spiritual and mental practice, forgiving someone does not mean you will instantly (or ever) trust someone again.
Forgiveness and trust are separate matters.
When you forgive someone, it doesn’t mean you condone their behaviours, and it certainly doesn’t mean you will tolerate the lack of respect or in some cases abuse any further.
Forgiveness is not something you do for the person that wronged you…
It is something you do for you because you are worth it!
It is a gift…a gift of mental, emotional, and spiritual freedom.
‘It’s not an easy journey, to get to a place where you forgive people. But it is such a powerful place because it frees you.’-Tyler Perry
My book recommendation this week is by author Katharine Schwarzenegger Pratt called ‘The Gift of Forgiveness:
Inspiring Stories from Those Who Have Overcome the Unforgivable’
The author shows us how to forgive through powerful storytelling and what we can learn from those who have struggled with forgiveness.
Here is a list of practical tools to help you break free from the past so you can make room for the future you deserve and so desperately desire.
- WHAT DID YOU LEARN?
Asking yourself what you learned from a moment in time instead of ‘who’ you should blame or what you should have done or said in a past situation, will help you find the courage to let go.
Part of my Sunday journaling routine is to reflect on the past week by asking myself the following questions as part of my learning journey:
Was there an upsetting, negative, unusual, hurtful, uncomfortable, or harmful situations that occurred this week?
Did I make a memorable mistake this week?
If yes, summarize your behaviour and how you felt.
- How/where could I have shown up better in this situation?
- What part/aspect of the situation was in my control?
- What did I learn about myself in this situation and what are the learning points that I can bring to similar conditions in the future?
After performing this self-reflective exercise…
FORGIVE YOURSELF AND LET IT GO!
This means decoupling your emotions from the week, so you can start Monday with freedom.
This freedom will allow for clarity and better decision-making.
Instead of starting the week from a place of scarcity, self-hatred, and carrying all of that baggage from the past, you have already processed all the things that happened to you.
By letting go consistently, you are building your courage, resilience, and commitment to your future.
‘Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself.’-Tony Robbins
2. How Will I Treat Myself Moving Forward?
Once I have identified my learning points from a mistake or negative situation or altercation, I try to be kind to myself and take care of my emotional and mental well-being.
In the past, I have performed my own personal self-reflection and realized that I had a part to play in many of these negative situations.
- It was my fault for not taking care of my emotional well being.
- I wasn’t being heard at work, so I just conformed.
- I didn’t say ‘no’ to that assignment and did not set boundaries, so I failed.
- I didn’t stand up for myself.
- I didn’t plan or organize well enough.
- I highjacked my personal values by going against what I truly believed.
- I didn’t perform a proper risk assessment of the new venture and lost money.
- I didn’t ask any follow- up questions and just assumed I knew the answer or what to do or say next.
Instead of beating myself up and replaying those moments in my head over and over, I ask myself the following question:
‘True forgiveness is when you can say ‘Thank you for that experience’. -Oprah Winfrey
HOW DO I WANT TO TREAT MYSELF NOW?
- What are the new rules for caring for myself, so that I do better in the future?
- Who am I now?
- How have I matured and grown as a result of this mistake or negative situation?
My advice is to be kind to yourself by re-enforcing positive self-talk. A lot of what stops or prevents us from forgiving ourselves is how we talk to ourselves.
If we allow our mind to take us back to that dark place, then we allow ourselves to get beat up over and over. It becomes difficult to move past it.
We need to change the conversation with ourselves by NOT letting the past dictate our future.
The Weekly Journal/Self Reflective Routine of asking yourself…
What have you learned? and …
How do you want to treat yourself moving forward…?
Will allow you to thoughtfully process and forgive yourself or others.
Allowing this processing time will help you disrupt and kill the negative self-talk that erupts when you make a mistake or are involved in a negative situation.
This processing time will stop the endless loop of negative self-talk and the overwhelming chorus of noise filters whose only goal is to attack good thoughts and energy.
That noise can be shut down by incorporating a Sunday Self Reflective Routine that acknowledges you want to do things differently by breaking free and letting go.
Forgive yourself in that situation because you learned.
Forgive other people in that situation because even if they didn’t know or acknowledge, you learned.
Make space every week (I recommend every Sunday) to debrief the prior week…
Detach from mistakes and the mental and spiritual weight that it brings and let it go!
If you are doing this exercise for the first time ask yourself if you have any weight from the last couple of weeks, months or years that is weighing you down and disrupting your clarity or keeping you from achieving your goals and dreams?
Start to release some of this tension using your new Sunday Routine.
It will take some time, but you are worth it, and it will change your life!
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I sincerely wish you the best on your journey to enhance your life!
George Andreas, Founder