“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”
– Lewis B. Smedes
No, it isn’t some trick and no it isn’t some life changing product. Its something that we all are capable of doing but often choose not to do or choose to hold on to until it begins to consume us.
What is it?
It sounds so plain. So plain and overstated that you may want to stop reading, but I urge you to read on.
I recently found an undelivered letter I had written to an ex-boyfriend of mine many, many years ago. Within that letter, there was pain, anger and definitely no forgiveness throughout. It was two months after our break up and I still could not let go of the anger I felt toward his actions. I told him that I knew I would be ok in life but that he most likely would not. I told him that he was a liar and a cheat and that his behavior as a person sucked. I held on to the anger for months. I had almost completely moved on from what had happened between the both of us but I still could not fully gain control of a small part of me that was not willing to actually forgive. I told myself I had forgiven him and carried on as if I had forgiven him, but I truly had not.
Years later I found myself occasionally thinking back, not of the fond memories but of the moment when I chose to be angry and chose to react with that anger. I started to question if I had forgiven and I realized that I hadn’t and that a not so feel good moment had actually managed to latch on to me for this long. I didn’t want to live my life that way. I had moved on in all other aspects of my life and was actually grateful for the fact that I did not stay in that relationship for longer. I told myself I needed to forgive myself first of all and then him.
Forgiveness is an interesting feeling and action. When we choose not to forgive we are not only not forgiving the other person but we are not forgiving ourselves for feeling the things we feel and in return we are not validating what we feel. In a way we are telling ourselves that we must still feel angry about the past, we are telling ourselves that we still need to hurt for the past, in a sense we are telling ourselves that if we forgive we are no longer holding that person to the wrong that they did. By doing this we continue to treat ourselves like victims and the longer we stay victims the longer it will take us to realize our greatness.
When we finally choose to forgive ourselves for holding on to the past we make a conscious decision to no longer treat ourselves as victims, we stop associating ourselves with the old us that once was; this is empowering. After you realize this within yourself, forgiving the other person is no longer a decision you have to make, it is already made. That person no longer holds anything on you. You will free yourself of the pain and the anger.
So, can forgiveness help you change your life? Yes, it can. But you must make a conscious decision to forgive yourself first. Letting go isn’t the hard part, it is telling yourself that you no longer have to be a victim to your past.
Start forgiving and start making a change in your life.
When has forgiveness made an impact on your life?
Photo by isabel bloedwater
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11 thoughts on “How Forgiveness Can Change Your Life…. Starting Now”
Forgiveness truly is a complex issue. I think many times we fool ourselves into believing that we have forgiven others when in reality we just bottled it up. But it is like how you said, we can only truly be free from the hurt when we actually do forgive others.
True forgiveness isn’t easy. It takes time and commitment. However, if you choose to go down that road, you will lead a much more abundant life.
A year ago I vowed to forgive everyone who had ever hurt me in my life.
I didn’t call them but I wanted to forgive them in my heart.
It took time, I needed first to understand them, which is hard when you are angry at them.
But I did, I started to understand that it wasn’t personal, they were hurting to or were afraid.
Finally I forgave everyone which just took a load of my heart.
All of a sudden the world was brighter and I was happier.
Its probably the hardest thing in the world to do, I think a big part is the loss of trust. For me, I was so angry for years and for the first few it was at the person then it was at myself for trusting that person. I lost a lot of time being angry, time I could have used to become the best person I could be. Now, I have forgiven, but even bigger then that I forgave myself. I give myself person to trust again, openly to everyone and not let their actions be a reflection on me or how I live my life. Its a struggle and I wish I had that huge weight lifted by every day, its getting lighter> I think you have to retrain your heart and brain to trust again, but I have to do it for myself and for my little family.
I agree. It is one of the hardest things to do but one of the freeing when we’re actually able to do so.
Great post my friend and I also have written on forgiveness on my social networking website for women called MakeGirlfriends.com.
I often tell people that it’s very easy for me to forgive because if my divine forgives me every day then why should I put myself higher than HIM and not be able to forgive. This idea helps in the forgiving process.
I recently had to forgive my ex-husband for having and affair with a “so called” friend of mine – so I not only forgave him but also forgave her – for they are both not worth the energy.
In love and light,
I’m so glad to hear about your strength in forgiving and like many of you said, it is one of the hardest things to do! But one of the most rewarding spiritually. Thank you for your comments.
I agree with you Arianna. The best way to change your life, starting with your mood and feelings, is by forgiving things, situations, mistakes, people and eventually, ourselves. When we forgive, we love. Unconditional love attracts more of the same and life becomes miraculously good.
What a great topic & article, Ariana. Even after deciding that we’re ready to let go, forgiveness is hard work. Some part of us wants revenge, justice, vindication; and it’s so very hard to let go when that’s not an option. I think it’s important to remember that forgiveness is a journey which we don’t usually complete in one day. We have to learn to be loving and patient with ourselves, realizing that it may take time to slowly but surely heal. And with that healing, forgiveness is a natural side effect.
I never understood the importance of Forgiveness until now.I’ve personally experienced how hard it is to let go off the past.Thanks for sharing your life experience and helping us in understanding the power of forgiveness.You really are a strong woman because forgiveness requires a lot of strength.
I wrote on this subject myself the other day.
In some ways, finding a faith was a kind of forgiveness of the past, but I didn’t fully understand it until I got the full aspect of true forgiveness. It is an ongoing process and it is possible to lapse or re-lapse at times. I’m so glad so many people write and re-write on this subject to keep it fresh.