Forgiveness. . . What's it for?Larry James
We often think of forgiveness as something that someone who has done us wrong must ask of US. There is always another way of looking at something. My thoughts on forgiveness suggest that you focus on offering forgiveness TO the person who has wronged you. To not forgive them is like taking the poison (continuing to suffer for what they did or didn't do to you) and expecting THEM to die!
Someone once said, "To err is human, to forgive is Divine." Believe it!
Forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself. It is not something you do FOR someone else. It is not complicated. It is simple. Simply identify the situation to be forgiven and ask yourself: "Am I willing to waste my energy further on this matter?" If the answer is "No," then that's it! All is forgiven.
Forgiveness is an act of the imagination. It dares you to imagine a better future, one that is based on the blessed possibility that your hurt will not be the final word on the matter. It challenges you to give up your destructive thoughts about the situation and to believe in the possibility of a better future. It builds confidence that you can survive the pain and grow from it.
Telling someone is a bonus! It is not necessary for forgiveness to begin the process that heals the hurt. Forgiveness has little or nothing to do with another person because forgiveness is an internal matter.
Choice is always present in forgiveness. You do not have to forgive AND there are consequences. Refusing to forgive by holding on to the anger, resentment and a sense of betrayal can make your own life miserable. A vindictive mind-set creates bitterness and lets the betrayer claim one more victim.
There is nothing so bad that cannot be forgiven. Nothing!
Some will argue that in the case of child abuse, the Holocaust, Saddam Hussain, etc, the abuser has no "right" to forgiveness -- such blessings can only be earned -- that forgiveness only leads to further victimization. Such acts are heinous and dispicable and with time (and in many cases, therapy) they can be forgiven. Every day you may have to forgive again.
I believe that to withhold forgiveness is to choose to continue to remain the victim. Remember, you always have choice.
When you forgive you do it for you, not for the other. The person you have never forgiven. . . owns you! How about an affair? Just because you choose to forgive, does not mean you have to stay in the relationship. That is only and always your choice. The choice to forgive is only and always yours.
When you feel that forgiveness is necessary, do not forgive for your "their" sake. Do it for yourself! It would be great if they would come to you and ask forgiveness but you must accept the fact that some people will never do that. That is their choice. They do not NEED to be forgiven. They did what they did and that is it - except for the consequences, which THEY must live with.
The hurts won't heal until you forgive! Recovery from wrongdoing that produces genuine forgiveness takes time. For some, it may take years. Don't rush it. It helps to focus your energy on the healing, not the hurt!
HEALTHY love relationships are not possible without forgiveness! You cannot have a loving and rewarding relationship with anyone else, much less yourself, if you continue to hold on to things that happened in the past. Regardless of the situation, making peace with past love partners, your parents, children, your boss or anyone who you think may have "done you wrong" is the only way to improve your chances of a "healthy" relationship with yourself or anyone else for that matter!
It is not possible to truly be present and available to a new relationship until you heal the hurt and upsets of the past.
Forgiving someone else is to agree within yourself to overlook the wrong they have committed against you and to move on with your life. It's the only way. It means cutting them some slack.
"What?" you say! "Cut them some slack after what THEY did to me? Never!" Let go! Move on!
Non-forgiveness keeps you in the struggle. Being willing to forgive can bring a sense of peace and well-being. It lifts anxiety and delivers you from depression. It can enhance your self-esteem and give you hope.
Forgiveness is a creative act that changes us from prisoners of the past to liberated people at peace with our memories. It is not forgetfulness, but it involves accepting the promise that the future can be more than dwelling on memories of past injury.
There is no future in the past. You can never live in the present and create a new and exciting future for yourself and your love partner if you always stay stuck in the past.
If you are at war with others you cannot be at peace with yourself. You CAN let go. . . and forgive! It takes no strength to let go. . . only courage. Life either expands or contracts in direct proportion to your courage to forgive. Your choice to forgive or not to forgive either moves you closer to what you desire or further away from it. There is no middle ground. Change is constant.
Want peace of mind? Forgive. The same energy you use to hold on (to not forgive), is the same energy you need to create a new and exciting relationship TOGETHER; a relationship anchored in unconditional love.
Forgiveness helps you move forward. No one benefits from forgiveness more than the one who forgives!
Give yourself the gift of forgiveness. The very word forgiveness is built on the root word give. Forgiveness releases your partner from your criticism and also releases you from being imprisoned by your own negative judgments. It is not surrender, but a conscious decision to cease to harbor resentment. In affect, it takes the poison our of your body. It cleanses your system of the poison that will surely fester and cause illness and continued misery if not released. You cannot take the poison and expect someone else to die. They will go on with their life and you will be the only one to continue to suffer.
Forgiveness is the key to your own happiness. Forgiving someone else takes moral courage. It ends the illusion of separation, and its power can change misery into happiness in an instant. Forgiveness means choosing to let go, move on, and favor the positive.
Forgiveness is a form of love within the context of a personal crisis. To forgive is, in a sense, to love one's enemy. When forgiveness is given because you think you should, it no longer is forgiveness but an act of self- interest.
The act of forgiveness constitutes a mental bath, letting go of something that can only poison us within.
Robert Enright, a developmental psychologist at the University of Wisconsin defines forgiveness as "giving up the resentment to which you are entitled and offering to the person who hurt you friendlier attitudes to which they are not entitled."
Mona Gustafson Affinito says, "Forgiveness means deciding not to punish a perceived injustice, taking action on that decision, and experiencing the emotional relief that follows."
Research has shown that people who are deeply and unjustly hurt by others can heal emotionally and, in some cases, physically by forgiving their offender.
Forgiveness breaks the cycle of hatred, resentment, anger and pain that is often passed on to those around you.
Forgiveness. What it's for? It creates the freedom to create a new future beginning now!
Copyright © 2004 - Larry James. Adapted from the book, "How to Really Love the One You're With."
• If you would like to talk one-on-one with Larry James about relationship issues related to this article, you are invited to arrange for a private coaching session by telephone. Go to Personal Relationship Coaching for specific details.
NOTE: Since "forgiveness" is an absolute necessity for demonstrating a healthy love relationship with yourself, your significant other or your friends, we encourage you to "Celebrate Forgiveness" by reading up on the topic of forgiveness on the following links. . .
Practicing Forgiveness - An inventory of forgiveness resources.
Read an article by Arizona Republic reporter, Jo-an Holstein called, "Let the Healing Begin." Larry James was quoted in the Nov. 6 article of The Republic's "Fit & Well" publication distributed in Scottsdale, AZ.
Bruderhof Forgiveness Guide - Your guide to the best forgiveness resources on the web.
The Forgiveness Web - One of the most comprehensive forgiveness resources.
To purchase any of the following books on forgiveness, just click on the link or the book cover!
Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers (Career Assurance Press).
Author Larry James is a professional speaker. He presents "Relationship Enrichment LoveShops" nationally for singles and couples. More About Larry James
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Message in Bottle stuff here! - MasteryTV stuff here! - AudioGenerator stuff here!
Nightingale-Conant stuff here! - Isagenix stuff here! - Discount Dental Plan here!
More Hot stuff here! - Links!
Copyright © 2004 - Larry James