I have been pondering this issue for some time now. I know how important it is to forgive because of the suffering resentment causes to myself and others.
Resentments rob me of my peace of mind and take away quality of life. Emotions like rage, hatred, regrets and guilt can make us sick emotionally. Forgiveness releases us from being sick, emotionally. Forgiveness is as important to us personally as it is to the other person.
Forgiving does not mean we are not holding others, or ourselves, accountable for what happened. It simply means we are releasing the toll anger and hatred have on our souls. Forgiveness bridges the gap… that separation from our loving can cause.
I have a motto, “I forgive to be forgiven…”
But what about forgetting? When a painful event occurs, we do not usually forget about it. Childhood trauma or abuse is a good example because it leaves its scars on our hearts. So I have to ask myself the question, “how can I be at peace with my memories?”
One tool I have used is compassion. I ask myself “what happened to that person to make them act like that?” I can ask myself the same question, “what happened to ME to make me act like that?” Then I can apply loving to the place inside that hurts so I can heal. Compassion means we have come to a place of understanding ourselves and others and that we accept we are all human with our own thoughts, hurts and habits.
Another tool I use is to re-frame issues into blessings. What this means to me is that I look for what I can learn and grow from in the situation. I ask myself, how has the situation given me wisdom, raised my consciousness, or helped me be a better person?
Going for the learning is more helpful because I will become more accountable for my own behavior and I will share what I learned in some way with others.
“All of life’s problems are opportunities for growth, learning, and creative problem solving….”
– Ron and Mary Hulnick,
President & Vice President, University of Santa Monica