How forgiving are you?
What is forgiveness? Often, we talk about forgiveness as the absolution of a wrong someone else has done. And yet, forgiveness is really more about us — it is letting go of anger or resentment you feel towards someone whom you perceive has wronged you in some way. If you are holding on to resentment, does that harm the other person? Not really — but it can cause real emotional and even physiological damage to yourself.
Holding a grudge is living in the past — wishing that the past were different. The past is the past; it cannot change. Being in a swirl of emotion about the past doesn’t help move us forward; instead, it makes us a prisoner of the past, “stuck” at that point in time. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that what happened to you in the past is OK — it simply means that you acknowledge it, recognize that it is in the past, and choose to release your resentment about it so that you can move beyond. Forgiveness moves you from the role of victim (from having something “done to” you) to sovereign; when you forgive, you claim your power.
This week’s Challenge: This week, I will identify instances where I wish the past could be different, and then release that hope — so that I can focus fully on the present.
Avoiding being Excusing (overuse): Forgiving means acknowledging the actions of someone else, and then letting go of any resentment you feel around that. If you overuse this character trait, though, then you skip right past the acknowledgement and minimize the behaviors you perceive as hurtful. If you start to do this, you’re not really forgiving at all — you are just avoiding facing the circumstances. While forgiving releases you from the power a past incident carries over you, excusing can amplify that same power because you are rationalizing — which may even invite more instances of similar events in the future.
“It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody.” ~ Maya Angelou
Commendable Trait: Forgiving
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