‘True forgiveness is when you can say, “Thank you for that experience.”‘
– Oprah Winfrey
Psychologists generally define forgiveness as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness. Read that again; regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness. Just as important as defining what forgiveness is, though, is understanding what forgiveness is not. Experts who study or teach forgiveness make clear that when you forgive, you do not gloss over or deny the seriousness of an offense against you. Forgiveness does not mean forgetting, nor does it mean condoning or excusing offenses. Though forgiveness can help repair a damaged relationship, it doesn’t obligate you to reconcile with the person who harmed you, or release them from legal accountability. Instead, forgiveness brings the forgiver peace of mind and frees him or her from anger. Forgiveness empowers you to recognize the pain you suffered without letting that pain define you; enabling you to heal and move on with your life.
Here is your Embrace Change challenge for the day: Think of someone who has challenged you, hurt you, betrayed you, saddened you or misunderstood you. Think of that person. Think of the feelings that are tied to that person. Feel those feelings. Do the feelings linger? Do the feelings sit unsettled in your stomach? Do you instantly feel your heart race? These are all signs that you need to forgive, accept the situation, and keep moving forward. You are not responsible for anyone except yourself. Forgive the situation and the person in order to free yourself. Think of this person in a new, warm light. That simple warm light signifies you are forgiving them. I want you to think of one positive quality about this person, and let that quality shine. There is good in everyone. And there is a lesson in every hurtful situation. Think of the lesson, the warmness, the good; rather than the hurt. Today, send that person warm, loving, kind thoughts and be okay with wishing them well from afar. Keep moving forward on this amazing journey with nothing holding you back. You got this.
“Life becomes easier when you learn to accept an apology you never got.”
– Robert Brault
– Jessica Smith, B.S.