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Forgiveness

by Dana Frost on April 10, 2015

“I’m sorry.”
 
“I forgive you.”

Whether given in an audible voice or witnessed silently, they are the most powerful expressions of freedom a person can experience.

“All the world is full of suffering, it is also full of overcoming.” Helen Keller

To be human is to be hurt by someone, at some time. 
We cannot escape this loss of innocence.
You will be treated unfairly and hung out to dry by confidants.
You may suffer at the hands of a criminal.
And depending upon when and where you were born, your race, your family and your country, you may experience what feels like an unjust amount of injustice for one lifetime.

Of critical concern to the rest of your life is how you respond to the pain.

Some people live decades drowning in bitterness.

Resentment takes up residence in their life,

Like a boa constrictor,

It cripples.
 
It confines.  

And chokes

The life right out of a person.

Only the wild things of the past life reside.

Stale and rancid.  

There is no greater burden than carrying un-forgiveness.  It’s worn like a heavy weight upon the shoulders.  

(Can you feel it?)

But there is good news, at least in my school of life. 

It’s the road less traveled.

It’s called the walk of forgiveness. 

And it’s available to all who have been injured.  

Forgiveness is the story of over-comers. 

You can smell them a mile away.  
They carry an aroma of freedom, fearlessness, hope and happiness. 
There is no burden on their back.
They stand tall and proud.
They are not nursing narratives from days or years gone by. 
Those who have forgiven inspire. 
They seem happier, lighter in their step, more hopeful and compassionate.  

History shows us forgivers like Nelson Mandela.  Corrie ten Boom.  Victor Frankl.  Jesus.  

The past is the past for a reason.
It’s past tense.
Already happened.
Doesn’t need to be repeated because it’s 
Completed.
Sealed.

Unless we nurse the hurt by telling the story on repeat over and over and over again.  

The painful story and our perceptions which change over time live a thousand lives and we suffer the loss of real time possibilities for the future by maintaining a posture in the past.  

My most recent root of bitterness took root six years ago when we repatriated to the USA.  
My husband was so very happy and I was not.  
He was excelling at his job.  
Continuing his education at a prestigious institution.  
Growing in physical fitness.
Being rewarded with upward mobility and income.  

I was not so happy.
I really did not like my new life in the USA.
I had to restart my coaching practice from scratch.
The multiple years of stress from our adoption took a toll on my body and emotional wellness.
Eventually, I had a full-blown health crisis.  

Our intimacy suffered.  
I pointed my finger and blamed him.
It was ugly.
I had lots of stories roaming the inner world of my thoughts.
Some I nursed until my blood boiled.
My list of grievances were numbered, but they didn’t make me feel better, only worse.  
On a few occasions I wondered if our marriage would make it.  

It did.

But the turn around started within me and the recognition of my resentment and bitterness.  
My clients will tell you one phrase I repeat often is “you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.”  
We cannot move forward into our promised land if we do not know and see the truth of our situation.  As painful as it might be or feel.  

I made a conscious decision to take responsibility for my own happiness.  

It started by defining what I really wanted.

I wanted a vibrant marriage. 

I wanted to feel exuberant as I had in the past.  

I didn’t want to feel burdened.

I wanted to feel healthy again.  

I knew I was a strong woman as everything about my life witnessed to my strength, determination and courage.  

Through the sage advise of a coach, I started communicating clearly what I wanted with my husband.  
I noticed that he always responded.  
This is a guy who has my back and cares about me.  
I silenced the painful stories in my head by replacing them with what I wanted. 
I recognized most of my stories were just stories and they were fictional at best, carefully crafted by my ego, whose ultimate goal was survival. Only not my soul’s survival, but the ego’s survival, which pitted me against everyone else.  

 The ego is too prideful to forgive or admit wrong-doing.  

The soul is not.  

Your soul is capable of forgiveness.  

In fact, forgiveness or admitting one’s wrong doing or being is the only 100% effective balm for turning the tide of bitterness and resentment.  

If we refuse to release ourselves from the past, the past will cling to us like chewed gum on the soles of our shoes.  

It’s a sticky, messy reminder E V E R Y day.  

Un-forgiveness anchors our bodies and souls to the past, to the very act, person or trauma from which we desperately seek release.

Regardless of what has happened in your life, you can live free of bitterness and resentment.  

Take time to do a clean sweep assessment of your thoughts and heart. 
What are you keeping account of?  
Who triggers negative emotions in you?
Who or what preoccupies your thoughts in a way that feels negative or de-energizing? 
What happened in the past that remains a trigger?

The answers are evidence of lack of forgiveness.

You have the choice to shift your energy from victim to victor.

Facing the truth is the first step.  I know it may feel like an insurmountable first step but it’s not.

I recommend writing the truth out on a physical piece of paper.  Old school!

Sometimes, as was the case for me, my truth wasn’t even true.  It was my ego’s carefully crafted story.  
Many times we must face painful emotions.
Don’t let this scare you away from forgiveness.
Find someone to help you sift through the emotions so you can feel them and then release them.  
All feelings are valuable.  No need to push them away or shove them down under.  
If we create space for our feelings and acknowledge them, they are not stubborn to let go.
They are seen, heard and easily release.   

There are times to contact the perpetrator and say, “I forgive you,” and there are times when it’s uttered inside your own heart.  
Only you will know the right way to forgive in your unique situation. 

Please do not allow the past to define decades of your one precious life on this amazing earth.  

There’s simply too much good to be experienced.  

Breathing in and breathing out abundant love to you and yours.

Blessings,
Dana

Victor Frankl “When we are no longer about to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”  

*Note to parents:

Teaching forgiveness at an early age gives your children a significant advantage in relationships.  

Our insistence our children  say “I’m sorry” and “I forgive you” followed by a hug when harmony had been broken,  was not lost on our children as they matured.  Reflecting, they confess it shaped their ability to admit wrong doing and to restore relationships quickly once ruptured.   
Practicing forgiveness demystifies it and makes it a natural part of relationships. 

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