“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”
-Lewis B. Smedes
Last month on the blog we took a deep dive into the important and life-changing principles of self-love (read more HERE). This month we’ll take on another concept: forgiveness.
The truth is that forgiveness goes hand-in-hand with self-love; you cannot truly forgive yourself and others if you don’t feel, deeply and truly, that you deserve the freedom that comes with forgiveness.
Embrace Forgiveness and Release the Past
For many people, there’s a need to release the past and let go of things that have happened (or not happened) so they can have gratitude for what’s going on right now, in the present moment.
I understand it’s not always easy. I personally just released a huge piece of pent-up resentment and hurt around my dad that had been wallowing somewhere inside me for years. It was tough. And over the years, at times I had truly believed that I’d released it only to find that it was still there. Fortunately, this time I was able to let it go.
And believe me… it is incredibly powerful to let it go! It’s such a freeing feeling, which underlines an important point: the practice of forgiveness doesn’t mean you’re “letting someone off the hook” or “excusing poor behavior.” Not at all!
Forgiveness isn’t for the benefit of others – it’s for your own benefit.
As we forgive and shift the constricted energy around our heart center, we allow love to come in. The anger and resentment, the pain, the defensiveness; all those tough emotions block love from coming in and keep us separate from the people who want to love us.
Forgive others so that you can experience more love, joy and freedom in your life.
How to Choose Forgiveness
Many of us unconsciously hold the belief that our anger protects us – if we forgive someone, we might be susceptible to allowing that person back in our lives. We might secretly fear that we’ll fall in love with him again or put ourselves into an unhealthy or undesirable situation.
Understandably, that belief creates a barrier to forgiveness. But the reality is that when you forgive someone, you’re just dissolving the negative emotional bond to the person or incident. You’re simply releasing yourself from the prison of fear, resentment and defensiveness.
If you’re ready to shift forward into a paradigm of love, freedom and forgiveness, here are some questions you can ask yourself:
- What do I get out of holding on to the hurt?
- What is my payoff from refusing to forgive?
- Who would I be if I didn’t feel like a victim in this area?
- By hanging onto the negative emotion, what part of my life am I not taking responsibility for?
Sit with these questions and allow the answers to arise naturally. There’s a lot worth looking at, and when you do, it might bring up some emotions – but trust that there is something very beautiful underneath.
I’m talking about freedom, my Sparkle Sister. And it’s yours for the taking:))