The Freedom To Forgive!

forgiveSo, this forgiveness thing is real!  Who knew?

True confession, I’ve been going through an exercise lately about forgiveness and where I have stubbornly, selfishly refused to apply it.  I mean, I can go back a very long way and find instances where I have held on to garbage as part of my identity (read, my woefully troubled past) and refused to forgive.  The truth is that refusing to forgive is only chaining me to those memories and the bitterness that goes with them.  There are people whom I have refused to forgive who have no idea that I hadn’t forgiven them.  I doubt they were too terribly tortured by my stubbornness!

So, if those folks were largely unaffected by my forgiveness, then who does it benefit for me to forgive them?  Who feels freed by my forgiveness?  To whom is the forgiveness a gift?  You see where I’m going here.  As I move through this exercise and allow it to become a transformation, I realize that I’m changing.  Instead of clenched fists, I’m standing and talking open-palmed.  Instead of hoarding, I’m giving.  Instead of dreading, I’m anticipating.  Instead of doubting, I’m believing.  Instead of hating, I’m loving.

So, how am I forgiving?  Quietly.  I decided that, since forgiveness is a very personal and frankly selfish act, I would come to forgiveness privately.  I mean, let’s be honest.    {Tweet That} Basically, I am forgiving individually, intentionally, and permanently, and it didn’t occur to me for quite a while that self-forgiveness is a part of this.  Here are seven steps that I’m using:

  1. Identify an emotional pain that you carry regularly.
  2. Strive to remember your earliest memories of that pain (For some pain this is easier than others).
  3. Reconstruct this memory as thoroughly as possible.
  4. Pinpoint the cause of the pain as accurately as possible.
  5. Accept that you are not required to carry the resentment that results from that pain.
  6. Accept that you are free to sit that memory down in your past and leave it there.
  7. Walk away.

Now, I’ve started to envision what interaction with certain people would look like if it ever happened.  It’s easy for me to paint a picture of what it would have looked like before forgiveness (as it has happened many times), and it’s liberating to imagine what that looks like in a post-forgiveness framework.

Other than my own, I’m not naming names here, but I have a list, and I’m working through it.  It’s healthy, and it’s opening my heart up for far greater room for far greater experiences.  I Forgave For Being Treated As Disposable.  I would love to hear what you’ve forgiven! Go ahead!  Give it to me like this:

{Tweet That!}

It’s not always easy.  It is sometimes.  Other times, we’ve allowed ourselves to get too cozy and comfortable holding on.  It is always possible, and I encourage you to seek and find forgiveness.  It works!  Tomorrow Begins Today.

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