Forgiveness can seem like a heavy topic.
For many of us, it’s easy to see when others should just let go and forgive. But when we reflect on our own grudges we tend to have a laundry list of reasons why our situations are “different”.
Maybe we feel we need to make a point. Or perhaps we feel if we let this one go, who knows what the person will think is okay to do to us next?
And grudge or no grudge, who really does know what any one will do next? It’s actually a little comical to think that our anger towards someone will somehow teach them a lesson to be kinder in the future.
Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of reading about forgiveness. It’s a core principal in The Course in Miracles. The philosophy rings true to me.
Forgiveness is essential for happiness.
I mean, really, how many happy people do you know that can easily list off their resentments? When we carry around baggage, it takes us away from focusing on something else. Maybe it’s being present in the moment or letting our creative mind flow.
Whatever you put your energy towards will grow in size and importance. Focus on bitterness, you become more bitter. Focus on love, you see it all around you.
So how do we truly forgive?
You can read a million self-help books, talk to counselors, and journal about it till your fingers hurt, but the reality is you just have do to it.
Forgive the other person not because you are a better person, but because whatever they did to offend you is just a reflection of things you are struggling with and YOU deserve forgiveness, too.
For example, say your boss says some rude comments to you. Instead of getting angry right back, forgive them.
Then take a moment to consider what in their ego triggered your ego.
Maybe you look for their praise so you can feel good. Or perhaps you lost a job once, and their anger triggers fear that you might lose this job, too.
Maybe their tone reminds you of your mother, or husband, or that person you couldn’t stand in college.
No matter what your reasoning is, it doesn’t really matter. All of those thoughts literally hold no weight. They can’t make you less valuable. And you spending time generating negative feeling towards them won’t make them less valuable.
While this might sound like a ‘nice’ solution, I can tell you agree or not, when you do it, it works.
Over the past few months, when I feel anger, I acknowledge it and let it go.
This simple change has shifted my world dramatically.
I definitely regress at times, too, but I’m starting to really see that when I forgive- big or small- a weight I was carrying around is lifted. The more I experience this, the more I find it easier to forgive.
So why not give it a try? It can seem impossible at times, but after you do it for a while, it seems shockingly easy. And the side effects are better than any magic potion. I’m sleeping better, I’m laughing more, and I’m throwing less pity parties.
The return on investment is exponentially good!