There is an old saying that goes like this: “You can’t love another until you love yourself.” The Living the Virtues Series that I have been writing about is supposed to help you accept, forgive, and love. Last month, I wrote about acceptance. This month, I am writing about forgiveness. I believe that if you do not wholly accept and forgive, you cannot move on and truly love yourself and others. I have learned from observing and working with clients that you have to love yourself in order to see the uniqueness and accept that in others. The majority of the time, most people are doing the best they can with who they are. They do not wake up in the morning expecting to inflict harm or pain on you, but it happens. You must learn to let go, forgive, and move on.
The quote I chose to work with today is from David and Bruce McArthur: “Many people are afraid to forgive because they feel they must remember the wrong or they will not learn from it. The opposite is true. Through forgiveness, the wrong is released from its emotional stranglehold on us so that we can learn from it. Through the power and intelligence of the heart, the release of forgiveness brings expanded intelligence to work with the situation more effectively.” I do forgiveness therapy in my office, and most of my clients have gone through it. I have come to realize that if someone comes to me for sports improvement, it is likely that there is an underlying “forgiveness factor” that is being played out in their sports. You must learn to forgive yourself first, then you can move on and forgive others. I use this exercise on myself and clients as well. Before going to sleep at night, scan through your day with your eyes closed and think on every contact you had with another human. If you come across a moment where you were abrasive or came across more harsh than expected, forgive yourself. If you find that it was not you but others that were rude, inconsiderate or oblivious, forgive them. This works for both small and large scale actions. Look at what you have learned from each situation, forgive, and move on. The process of forgiving others doesn’t mean that you condone their behaviors. It means you have taken them into total acceptance and pardoned their offenses.
The first part of the quote speaks a valuable truth. Many people go about their lives building this wall of unforgiveness. They have built up in their minds that they need to remember, so that the lesson learned can be applied to their lives. This is neither healthy nor right. Carrying around that kind of thought pattern weighs down every single cell in your body. It has the potential to make diseases ravage your body. When you learn to forgive yourself and others, there is a release, just as mentioned in the quote. Your heart releases, your mind releases, your cells release that negativity from your body. This is not an easy step to take, but it has the potential to open your eyes to a becoming a more positive and intelligent person.
Last week, I wrote on forgiving yourself. I gave you a few affirmations to practice for the week. This week, I will give you affirmations to help you to forgive others: “As I forgive myself, it becomes easier to forgive others.” “I forgive everyone from my life in the past and love myself into the future.” “As I follow the path of forgiveness, life becomes clearer, I feel better about my future.” Practice saying these throughout your day, aloud. Allow their meaning to really sink into your subconscious. Then, when you are getting ready for bed, practice the above exercise to help you forgive and let go. Remember, holding onto those hurtful things will only bring you down. If you have questions or comments, please feel free to contact me. Thank you for reading. InJoy your day!