Forgiveness – Freeing and Comforting
I’ve heard a lot about the importance of forgiveness. You probably have too. But what I heard this past week about a benefit of forgiveness, I had never heard before. And it might change – well – everything.
Story: The effect of forgiving your bullies
A friend shared with me his experience of breaking through and being able to forgive some bullies who had given him a very hard time in middle school. He said he found the experience of forgiving them freeing and comforting. I said I could understand the freeing part, but could he tell me more about how it was comforting to him.
To me his insight was nothing short of remarkable. He said that after being able to truly forgive the cruelties he had endured, he felt that life has opened up to him in a whole new way. If he could forgive that, something he thought he might never be able to forgive, then what else could he do that he thought he couldn’t do. — This one experience may make a huge difference on how he lives the rest of his life and what he believes is possible for him.
Call to Action and Why This Matters:
Think of every grudge and negativity you hold onto, every injury you haven’t been able to get over, every injustice you have endured, and situations that make you angry or exhausted – as pebbles in your backpack. And that backpack is on your back all the time. —- How fast can you run? How fast can you move forward? How agile are you? How well do you sleep at night? How quickly can you adjust to changes in your life’s direction – all while carrying that heavy backpack?
Isn’t it time to lighten your load – at least a little?
1. Free yourself from some of the pebbles in your backpack. There are probably some easy ones you can do on your own – starting now. Here is one suggestion on how to get started.
- Choose a time and place where you can be uninterrupted and at peace: a beautiful setting in nature or a quiet nook in your home, or ….
- If you like, add some pleasing and calming music.
- Sit down with a pad of paper or just your thoughts. Imagine putting down the backpack next to you and opening it up.
- Pick out a small pebble and examine it. Feel it and experience what old hurt it might represent. Writing may help this process.
- Decide whether to hang onto it or to let it go.
- If you decide that you are done with that old hurt, drop the pebble or throw it far away.
- If you decide you are not done with it, that you might still need it to keep distance between you and the other person whom it involves, then put it back in your backpack. You can always take it out again later.
- Look for other pebbles that you might be done with.
- Rest and be grateful for your accomplishments. Every pebble you remove is one less you have to carry – for the rest of your life.
- Each time you let go of a pebble, you strengthen your forgiveness muscle. It’ll allow you to do bigger pebbles and rocks over time. My friend had been working on his forgiveness muscle for a long time before he was able to let go and forgive those bullies, and he didn’t do it alone. Be patient and gentle with yourself.
2. Know that there is also another backpack of pebbles that you carry. It contains all the pebbles of the times when you have been hurtful to others. The process of acknowledging your wrongdoing and forgiving yourself is similar. In addition you may need to make amends, ask for forgiveness, and find a better way to interact with that person if they are still in your life. You may need to set boundaries. Whether or not the other person forgives you does not matter. All you can do is your part. They have to deal with their own backpacks.
3. Find comfort in your growth and your ability to do things – things, which you couldn’t do before. Know that each time you do something you couldn’t do before, it may carry over into other aspects of your life. Now other things may become easier as well. Think of it as training to lead the full life of your dreams.
Taking it Farther:
In my experience you will get to a point where the pebbles and rocks are just too big to handle without the expertise and tools of a trained person: a coach, a therapist, a counselor, an energy healer. I regularly work with people who help me empty my backpack. Whatever modalities you choose, find those that work for the problem you are trying to heal. Sometimes a combination works best. A hammer works best with a nail, a saw solves a different problem, but you cannot build a house with only one tool. – Now, forward this to your friends.
If you feel ready, share this tip with the people in your life with whom you are ready to throw away the pebbles between you.
Want help? I’m here for you. Tired of struggling? Get relief! Get coached to help you get unstuck and take your life to the next level – starting now! Ready to get started? Call Edith at 847.913.3900