"Oh, the thinks you can think." -Dr. Suess
This is my first task of Sharing from my community's 28 days of generosity. Get your calendar HERE.
For some reason I think about this phrase from one of my girls' bedtime stories whenever I think about the word forgiveness. I have been pondering about this word. It's a subject matter that we all deal with in some way at some point in our lives. To write on this subject is not an easy task at all. But I have been thinking a great deal about how to be successful in achieving it. I have talked with numerous of my go-to friends about the subject matter, and they all had lots of interesting points which were all very different from each other.
There are so many factors when it comes to forgiveness. Everyone has their own story, their own pain, their own truths and their own lessons to learn or not learn. How does one really achieve forgiveness? I like how C.S. Lewis says that people like to talk about forgiveness like it's a "lovely notion" but then when you ask them about their struggles with forgiving then it doesn't seem like such a romantic idea at all. Most people don't want to go there.
Through my own experiences and from very wise people in my life, I have come to a new understanding of what it is really about and how to reach it. Of course, this is a nut shell version in my own words. There are countless books on the subject matter and from a philosophical viewpoint of forgiveness you only get more questions instead of answers. Plus, I still have lots to learn and experience in life. I am no guru in the subject matter but just wanted to share some thoughts with you all which also helps me understand it better.
For one, forgiveness starts with compassion. Compassion has to start within yourself.
- Be kind to yourself and not overcritical
- It's ok to suffer and have short comings. We are all human!
- You must be mindfully aware.
Once you work on yourself and LOVE yourself for real, then you can extend compassion to others. In offering compassion to others, you are able to forgive. How can you forgive others when you can't even forgive yourself?
Forgiving others is really all about you. It's about releasing the burden that you carry about an injustice that was done. I am not saying that it erases any crime that happened or holding someone accountable or that you have to be friends or even that you have to be liked. That is not the same thing as forgiveness. Forgiveness is about getting out of victim mode and becoming a survivor, someone who is accountable & empowered. In forgiving, it allows us to change our painful memories of the past into new hope for the future. It's so cool to create a fresh perspective on remembering the past.
Forgiving is also something that you must choose. It is not an inherent human trait. It is a wonderful feeling to be truly forgiven!
Forgiveness and Acceptance are also very similar. Sometimes you must accept. You can forgive in your heart but some things you can not change about people because they aren't willing to do the work. You can not force people to do anything.
What if someone won't forgive you? Even if you feel they have no 'real' reason. What if someone won't make amends to you? You can't force them to forgive you. You can't make them be sorry for causing you pain and not forgiving you. Everyone has their own unique situations. Trust me - EVERYONE does! My mom gave me a great example of coming to terms with someone who would not make peace with me. She said it was like we are in a labyrinth or a maze. Just because I was able to find my way out faster doesn't mean that the other person was as quick as me. Each person has their own journey through the labyrinth and have their own speed for learning about life and self-compassion. I choose to love myself. I choose to have compassion for people who don't have it for themselves. I choose to forgive - I mean really forgive.
|I love this visualization!|
The good news is that YOU have control over your own thoughts. I have learned that it is really all about yourself. We all have our 'stories' that get attached to the lesson. What I have discovered is that you have to delete these stories because it's really about the lesson. This story of your pain or this person that did this thing to you is a just the vehicle of the message. I have learned from so many wise teachers in my life that sometimes things can be perceived differently. The bad thing or person is the teacher. You must be aware and mindful to see things in a different light!
Learning and Loving. Compassion and Forgiving. They all go hand in hand.
If you have had an experience of forgiveness (either forgiving yourself, forgiving others or being forgiven), I invite you all to light a candle in honor of yourself and in honor of others who come to mind after reading this. Then, blow out the candle. I think it is the perfect way to send love without depleting your energy.