HOW TO FORGIVE AND FEEL RELIEF. You Got This!
SUPER SPRING TIME
It is so great to see plants popping out of the ground again. I LOVE SPRING! We get to see all new life bloom around us. Roger and I are already planting seeds in the ground this week for an early veggie harvest.
That ol’ the seasons of life metaphor hit me again this morning.
You see, spring is associated with planting; new birth; a new beginning.
Everything we say, think, or do right now can be thought of as a seed and it will grow into something bearing good fruit or bad fruit.
So, I got thinking today, “What seeds am I sewing in my own life today? What trees, or fruit, am I planting inside of me, and around me, this spring?”
I, for one, LOVE GOOD FRUIT! And as you know, you can’t get good fruit from a bad seed…
And this spring is the time to clean out the bad seeds that have been planted in your home, in your friendships, with your spouse, your children and in your work.
A few days ago, I felt the need to reflect on forgiveness after a consultation with a young lady. Anger, resentment, hate and an unforgiving heart are simply not good seeds to be planting, and she had planted an ORCHARD of bad seeds!
And the amazing outcome of that hour long session?
She was ready to pull out all those weeds and bad seeds. She was ready to take responsibility and to start the process to forgive and to let go so there was room to plant good seeds in her life, her relationships, her self-esteem, her work.
I have had plenty of opportunities to forgive and to be forgiven myself. One of those times in my life was almost 25 years ago this summer.
In my twenties, I had four young children and ran a cleaning business Special Touch.
Our slogan was We brighten your home, we brighten your day, and we always leave a fresh bouquet!
Yes, we were BUSY! Who didn’t want fresh flowers AND a clean home?
We were at the height of our business, cleaning new homes, remodeled homes, damaged homes, and had 17 wonderful, just-like-family employees.
When we returned from a week vacation with the kids, we found two of our long-term staff members had started their own business and had submitted a bid to our national builder. The builder thought two of our just-like-family employees were representing Special Touch, my business, so they were given the $55,000+ year job!
We were shocked.
Painfully so as these two ladies were our friends, our family!
And this became one of those times when I had to work on that simple to spell, hard to do word... FORGIVENESS.
It took many months to let go of the sadness, anger, ok….RAGE.
But, forgiveness came, and time started to heal, if not fully erase, the sad memories.
About four years after the fact, I felt a powerful desire to stop at one of the ladies homes. The blinds had been drawn for over two years. Her home, being on a busy highway, was one I passed by to go to and from in my weekly, if not daily, travels.
I’ll never forget her look of stunned shock when she answered her door to see me standing there. I will also never forget just how unhealthy and unhappy she looked. Not unhappy to see me, just unhappy in general.
I had one purpose for being on her doorstep four years later and that was to RELEASE her.
I told her simply, that I had long since forgiven her. The relief that flooded her entire being in that moment prompted me to add that it was past time she forgave herself, too.
My forgiveness of her actions years ago had freed me.
Yet, while I didn’t know this until years later as I stood at her door, the guilt she felt had held her captive.
I learned, through that visit, that both ladies who’d been involved in stealing business from us had lived those four years with deep regret, frustration and poor health.
Happy cells are healthy cells, so you can only imagine what's happening internally to the cell when we hold onto anger, resentment, pain and let it seep into bitterness.
So, What Is Forgiveness?
Translated in Arabic, the word becomes untie. That has become my favorite description of forgiveness.
To Forgive = To Untie
If you are like me and want to step into this new spring by planting the RIGHT seeds and pulling out those weeps that no longer serve you, the following are a few points that may help you on the path to forgiveness.
Stop Telling The Story.
You know who the storytellers are, they relate to the bad experiences over and over and over.
FACT: The more you tell the story, the more stakes you pound in the ground confirming that you have been wronged. Forgiveness (and personal growth) will never come when we keep retelling the story….
Realize that your enemy may not deserve to be forgiven, but you deserve to be free.
Every time you see in your mind the person or name of he/she who has wronged you -
Or anytime you drive by the area you were hurt –
Replace those thoughts with thoughts of kindness or well being.
Simply think of something that makes you smile or your favorite holiday memory or start humming your favorite song.
Once you do this enough, each time you hear the word or the person’s name, you will have less and less ill feelings until you feel them no more.
(This is a process. This can take time. Allow yourself that time to heal, to forgive, without judgement.)
The person who wronged you is still someone’s wife, husband, child, brother, friend....
Ann Landers said
Hate is like acid.
It damages the vessel in which it is stored and destroys the vessel on which it is poured.
Wake Up In Love With Life!
The more we wake up and give gratitude, the less we harbor ill feelings towards anyone or anything!
The two can’t coexist in the same space - gratitude and un-forgiveness!
Send Them Love. Now, this might seem like a weird foo-foo-y step. Sending love to those who have wronged you?
As insane as it may sound, it WORKS! TRUST me, I have used this so many times, and it helps me more than anything.
Sending love FILLS you will peace. When you are at peace, you can’t also be mad, hurt, angry, bitter, frustrated, sad...or in a place of un-forgiveness. Try it today.
Who do you need to send love to?
Ponder that question each morning and then send a little loving thought their way.
It can look something like this. “Bless her. Heal her. Bring joy into her day.”
These are only a few tips to forgiving.
No matter what you find to use, know that many of those around you are doing the same thing, trying to forgive others.
And perhaps, they are trying to forgive YOU!
I will end with three FANTASTIC words - LET IT GO
and part of my favorite poem by Martin Luther King Jr.
Hatred paralyzes life,
Love releases it.
Hatred confuses life,
Love harmonies it.
Hatred darkens life,
Love, illuminates it.
Start this spring by planting healthy seeds in your life, in your garden and in your mind. The following seasons will yield the greatest of harvests when you do!
May the garden of forgiveness bring forth a beautiful tomorrow!
one who has been forgive, and one who forgives.