By Cathy Neville, LPC and Aisha Simmons
Perhaps you came by your hurt feelings honestly.
Someone damaged you and you retreated. Someone angered you and you lashed out.
Whatever the circumstances… mistakes, misunderstandings, and misery happened.
Can you pardon the parent who neglected you?
Can you harbor no grudge towards the lover who betrayed you?
Can you turn the other cheek in the face of someone else’s irresponsibility?
Forgiveness is Willing Sacrifice.
“Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive.”–C.S. Lewis
For many of us, forgiveness doesn’t happen without a push.
We consider it only when we’re finally desperate for peace beyond our pain.
After all, you may have once thought your resentment would teach your offender a lesson.
You might have believed that breaking ties, killing communication, or nursing ill will would furnish a strong dose of what he or she deserved.
Instead, your need for justice or apologies simply kept you a permanent victim and your violator remained a perpetual villain.
Somehow, holding on to all that hurt and negativity became an exhausting, depressing, endless endeavor.
Maybe now it’s time to willingly sacrifice your right to hit back.
Forgiveness is Deliberate Love.
“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies. –Martin Luther King Jr.
Because you’re worth the resulting peace and liberation.
You need it.
You’ve suffered long enough.Forgive yourself.
Absolve yourself of your fear, fretting, loneliness, and nasty attitude.
Recognize that your suffering is now just a lesson, not a leash to hold you back.
Forgive him, her, them, the world, whoever hurt you.
Forgive with an enthusiastic and empathetic desire to be well.
Compassionately and tightly close the door on the past.
Because you truly want what’s best.
Even if justice, transformation, or apologies never materialize the way you hoped.
Forgiveness is Acceptance and Promise.
“Forgiving does not erase your bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we cannot change creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future.”
–Louis B. Smedes
Forgiveness restores and reconnects the seasons of your life.
You have permission to fearlessly move forward.
You can put down the past and pick up a future full of human kindness and potential.
It’s okay to want better. It’s good to want more.
Forgiveness offers more freedom, more love, and more relationships.
Forgiveness says that you were wounded but that you are more than the sum of your hurts.
It is power over trials and trauma for a merciful fresh start.
Forgiveness is Work and Growth.
“Cry. Forgive. Learn. Move on. Let your tears water the seeds of your future happiness.”
– – Dr.Steve Maraboli
The lessons of forgiveness are often woven into the process itself.
To forgive, you have to get out of your own way.
To forgive, you have to accept that you have feelings about what happened.
But refuse to be confined by those feelings and emotions.
To forgive is to learn to be loving– genuinely, authentically loving,
despite having been heartbroken, unloved or unprotected.
To do any of this stretches you, I know.
But do it for yourself.
The journey of forgiveness nurtures understanding and endures growing pains.
Allow compassion and loving-kindness to flourish.
Make forgiveness your best work.