THE GIFT OF FORGIVENESS

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." ~Reinhold Niebuhr

In my 45 years of life, I have not met anyone who has lived a life unscathed by hurtful words or actions of another.  In fact, I find that I am my own worst enemy. The words and actions I give to myself or to others can cause tremendous hurt and pain. They can also cause feelings of distrust, vengeance, resentment and injury to a person’s self-esteem/self-worth. Forgiveness of one’s self and forgiveness of others is so vital to a life of peace and serenity. If  one doesn’t practice forgiveness, they end up paying the highest price by choosing a life without serenity.

What is forgiveness?  Generally, forgiveness is a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge. The act that hurt or offended you may always remain a part of your life, but forgiveness can lessen its grip on you and help you focus on other, positive parts of your life. Forgiveness can even lead to feelings of understanding, empathy and compassion for the one who hurt you.  Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you deny the other person’s responsibility for hurting you, and it doesn’t minimize or justify the wrong. You can forgive the person without excusing the act. Forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with life.~Katherine Piderman, Ph.D., staff chaplain at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn

Who wouldn’t want to live a life consisting of healthier relationships, greater spiritual and psychological well-being?  How about a life with less stress and hostility?  Yet, it seems in the world we live in today that it is easier to judge, criticize and hold a grudge than it is to embrace another with an understanding mind, a compassionate ear, and a peaceful heart.  It is never too late to change directions in one’s life, to change from a negative path to a positive one.  It takes commitment to change from old ways that only bring about negativity in all aspect of one’s life, i.e. failed relationships, stress, anxiety, resentments.  It takes thinking before acting and acting before reacting.   When you choose to forgive yourself or another, you are making the choice to not be a victim.  This is very empowering. Once you no longer see yourself as a victim, you allow yourself to live a  life that is not guided by anger and hate.  You choose to no longer be defined by past hurts and offenses, but instead choose to live a life of compassion and understanding.

If I have harmed anyone in any way
either knowingly or unknowingly
through my own confusions
I ask their forgiveness.
If anyone has harmed me in any way
either knowingly or unknowingly
through their own confusions
I forgive them.
And if there is a situation
I am not yet ready to forgive
I forgive myself for that.
For all the ways that I harm myself,
negate, doubt, belittle myself,
judge or be unkind to myself
through my own confusions
I forgive myself.
(A Buddhist Prayer of Forgiveness) 

Forgiveness is not always easy.  In fact, it can be down right challenging.  For some people, it is difficult to forgive with sincerity.  Words can easily be spoken or written, but integrity only appears when thoughts, words and actions are harmonious.  It is especially difficult when someone doesn’t feel they have been offensive or hurtful.  This I have experienced in my life and I have found that talking to a friend or writing about it in a journal, diary, etc., has been most beneficial. These actions keep me from getting stuck in drama and negativity.  I always try to keep in mind that as long as I can forgive with complete sincerity and honesty, I am, in fact, giving my life and the Universe the best of me.  I choose to live a peaceful life.

In conclusion, may we always be reminded that it is important to make the most of every second of every minute of every hour of every day of  life.  One doesn’t know when one’s life on Earth may be over or the life of another.  When the opportunity to make amends presents itself, TAKE IT!  It may be the last opportunity.  It is also important to remember that not everyone will be receptive, willing or able to accept forgiveness.   Sometimes reconciliation should not take place, especially if  a person was physically attacked or assaulted.  Even in those cases, forgiveness is still possible.  It  isn’t about getting another person to change.  Forgiveness is the key that releases you from the jail of chaos and conflict into a life of emotional and spiritual hearing.   You cannot force someone to forgive you, nor can you force someone to accept your forgiveness. Each person has to come to a life of honesty and integrity in their own time.

One Response to THE GIFT OF FORGIVENESS

  • This is such an important topic, and you really let your soul speak out in this one. I love how you pieced the words together that made complete sense to me, I can totally relate to this.

    Brilliant writer, great work, I look forward to more from you! 🙂

    Feel free to also check out some of my poetry and writing 🙂