“I am forgiven, and I am free.”
Submitted by Gina Green
We all need to do forgiveness work. Anyone who has a problem with loving themselves is stuck in this area. Forgiveness opens our hearts to self-love. Many of us carry grudges for years and years. We feel self-righteous because of what they did to us. I call this being stuck in the prison of self-righteous resentment. We get to be right. We never get to be happy.
You may say, “But you don’t know what they did to me; it’s unforgiveable.” Being unwilling to forgive is a terrible thing to do to yourself. Bitterness is like swallowing a teaspoon of poison every day. It accumulates and harms you. It’s impossible to be healthy and free when you keep yourself bound to the past. The incident is long gone and over with. Yes, it’s true that they didn’t behave well. However, it’s over. You might feel that if you forgive them, then you’re saying that what they did to you was okay.
One of our biggest spiritual lessons is to understand that everyone is doing the best they can at any given moment. People can only do so much with the understanding, awareness, and knowledge that they have. Invariably, anyone who mistreats someone was mistreated themselves as a child. The greater the violence, the greater their own inner pain, and the more they may lash out. This is not to say that their behavior is acceptable or excusable. However, for our own spiritual growth, we must be aware of their pain.
The person who is the hardest to forgive is the one who can teach you the greatest lessons. When you love yourself enough to rise above the old situation, then understanding and forgiveness will be easy. And you’ll be free. Does freedom frighten you? Does it feel safer to be stuck in your old resentment and bitterness?
Sit in front of your mirror. Close your eyes, and breathe deeply several times. Think of the many people who have hurt you in your life. Let them pass through your mind. Now open your eyes and begin talking to one of them.
Say something like: “You’ve hurt me deeply. However, I won’t stay stuck in the past any longer. I am willing to forgive you.” Take a breath and then say, “I forgive you, and I set you free.” Breathe again and say, “You are free, and I am free.”
Notice how you feel. You may feel resistance, or you may feel clear. If you feel resistance, just breathe and say, “I am willing to release all resistance.”
This may be a day when you can forgive several people. It may be a day when you can forgive only one. It doesn’t matter. No matter how you’re doing this exercise, it’s perfect for you. Forgiveness can be like peeling away the layers of an onion. If there are too many layers, put the onion away for a day. You can always come back and peel another layer. Acknowledge yourself for being willing to even begin this exercise.
As you continue to do this exercise, you’ll find burdens melting off your shoulders. You may be surprised by the amount of old baggage you’ve been carrying. Be gentle with yourself as you go through the cleansing process.
Excerpt taken from Experience Your Good Now
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