A newsletter reader asked if I would write about forgiveness. I said sure. So let’s jump in. Maybe they said or did something to you. Maybe you said or did something to them. Or, maybe you said or did something to yourself.
You may have heard the saying, ‘forgiveness isn’t for another person, it’s for you’. I agree, and here’s why.
You are with you 24/7. Of course, during sleep and dreaming time who knows where you are, but for your waking hours, you’re with you.
That means your amazing mind is running commentary all the time about your life. If you’re paying attention to that commentary, you will probably find some pretty negative thoughts about yourself and other people in there.
If the case of you thinking someone wronged you in some way, you will have thoughts about that person. Those thoughts will cause emotions. Probably some pretty darn ugly, snarly emotions that will go with those ugly, snarly, thoughts. And that’s okay. You need to be in tune and aware of what’s happening with you (and not diminish it). This is what you think of them and this is what you feel. Honor it.
If you decide to forgive them, it does not mean that you are saying what they said or did is okay or acceptable. You may not even trust them anymore. And that’s okay too. But, once it is over you get to decide (to choose really) if you want to keep beating them up in your mind. Because that’s what you’re doing.
When you replay something someone has said or done to you repeatedly, you keep what happened in the past alive in the present. And guess what, that only affects you. You are the one choosing to keep the story going. That person may not even know what you are thinking or feeling about them in this moment. But boy you sure do. And those thoughts and feelings will affect your overall well-being in the present.
If it’s something you did or said to someone else, you get to decide how long you’re going to beat yourself up for it. Again, this affects your overall wellness right now. If you said or did something you wished you hadn’t, you forgive yourself and learn from it.
The same goes with your relationship with you. Maybe you didn’t honor yourself in a way you told yourself you would, and you’re thrashing you with a wet noodle mentally for it. We are our own toughest critics.
Forgiveness is always a conscientious choice. And you don’t have to ever forgive if you don’t want to.
But at least you know that in the end, you forgiving someone else (or yourself) will affect you and your well-being the most.
Forgiveness isn’t black and white. It can be a process, and can take time. No one said it was easy either.
With thoughtfulness, however, I think you can make the best decision for you.
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