The Power of Forgiveness

Being vulnerable is messy, scary, and uncomfortable.

It can be both the most painful and also the most rewarding way to truly connect with others, and I think it’s something that we all need to do more often. One of the most vulnerable acts is the act of forgiveness. People hold on to resentment, pain, and hatred but they do not realize that the only person that they’re hurting is themselves.  As I’ve talked about in my other posts, I believe that we should always strive to be authentic with our emotions, and part of being authentic is to allow yourself to be truly vulnerable, and you need to start by being vulnerable with yourself. Even though this topic is far to vast to cover in a four point list, here it is. Here are four ways to authentically forgive yourself and others.

1. Observe your pain 

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To find the innermost reason why your own or someone else’s actions are causing you pain, you need to observe that emotion within yourself. Let yourself emotionally visit that which hurts you, and just let your self think about the things which are so easy to run from. Observe your thoughts as you let yourself open up to that hurt. So often, we run and hide from that which causes negative feelings, thinking that will somehow make the things go away or make them better. However, whatever you avoid you only lend more power to in your mind. So, right now, close your eyes and visit those thoughts you have tried so hard to ignore and simply observe what you are thinking. You would be surprised what you might realize just from doing this, and how healing it really is to just let yourself feel the past. You will never rid yourself of this pain until you let yourself truly feel it, sit with it, and know how it makes you feel.

2. Learn to find Comfort in not having control 

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You cannot change the past. Stop, do not read on until you really think about this. You absolutely, 100%, can never change the past, it is impossible. We can attempt to find ways to compensate for this, things we do to think that we can somehow make the past better. However, whatever terrible thing that happened years ago, will always be just as terrible as it was years ago. So whoever hurt you, you cannot change what they did. Nothing that you do right now can change the hurt that happened to you in the past. If you are the one you are trying to forgive, realize that you cannot change any actions you have taken in the past. Those who live in the dark parts of their past become depressed, just like those who live in constant mental turmoil about their futures become anxious. All we have is right now. All you can do is go along on this ride of life right now. In 10 years, will you want to look back and know that you made peace with your past, or will you want to carry it with you like a moldy sack attached to you, constantly there but not at the forefront of your mind? You must make peace with the fact that we are not magicians. We barely have control over the present moment, but at least we can control our own minds and how we feel in that moment.

3. Spread ‘Light” Within Yourself and to Others

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Care for yourself as you would imagine a best friend would care for you. When you’re learning to come to terms with these dark things that have happened to you, it is imperative that you spread light. Do good things for yourself that lift your spirits. Read by the lake with bare feet while the dew is still on the grass in the early morning and breath in the fresh air. Know that right now, everything is okay.

The best way to spread light? Do completely selfless acts of kindness. This past thanksgiving, I donated hundreds of dollars of food to a local shelter. When I walked in with box after box, the man inside, a very religious gentleman, asked me “why are you doing this?” My only answer was that I wanted to make others happy on this holiday. I did not report this on my taxes, nor did I want anything in return.

Now don’t just read this and then think to yourself “oh, well that’s a nice thought,” and then go about your business tomorrow. I want anyone who’s reading this article to do a selfless act of kindness tomorrow. Yes, I know that most charitable acts makes us feel better about ourselves, but that’s an unavoidable ‘selfish’ aspect. So tomorrow lift someones spirits. Anyone, anywhere, and it doesn’t matter how you do it. Just make someones life better tomorrow with the aim purely being to help them.

4. Be at Peace 

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Once you have allowed yourself to feel the pain of what you are forgiving, once you realize you cannot change your past, and if all the while you spread light, you will eventually be at peace. Sometimes, people actually enjoy feeling the pain of something from the past and spread that pain to others because they have not found a way to come to terms with their past. We must never take this route. We must forgive. As I said at the beginning of this article, being vulnerable with yourself is one of the hardest things in the world. We naturally want to avoid these things, but in order to grow as a person you must allow yourself to feel these difficult emotions.

Once you have processed the past, simply let it be. Yes this happened, yes that person was mean, someone hurt your friend, whatever it was, just let it be the past. The past is all it ever can be.

One you’re at peace you are free to go on and spread more happiness and light throughout your life. Never hold onto pain or hatred because it blocks you from helping others. We, collectively on this earth, have all been hurt at some point. We need to start comforting, inspiring, and breathing life into each other. Live in the present and give all the love you have to give.

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39 thoughts on “The Power of Forgiveness

    • Agreed. The mind gets stuck sometimes. Fix it. Fix it. I heard someone say “rule #11. When the job is done, walk away.” As you mentioned, you cannot change the past. So very true. Great post sierrajoyy.

  1. This post was so true. 😀 We need to realise that denying our past only makes it worse. If we decide to accept it and tell God you’re sorry for what happened, he’ll forgive and forget without hesitation and in order to keep ourselves from being hurt from our past, we need to let God flood us with His love. Because if He loves us, why should we have anything inside of us besides for love? 😀

  2. definitely, this is a way to begin to forgive. selfless acts of kindness. hmmm. I’ve been doing those all my life. I used to take homeless people into my home and try to help them find jobs to get them back out of my home. That didn’t work so well. They broke me. Not one of them actually went out to get a job until I kicked them back out. And one, who I truly wanted to help, is still living under the bridge. Now I have to forgive myself for not helping the way they needed. I can’t afford to donate food and/.or money to others. If I do, then we do not eat. I’m one of those who has to visit the food bank now and then to survive. The things I do give are smiles, hugs, emotional support, etc, to those who are trying to better their lives. I also find that ‘stepping into the shoes’ of those who have hurt me is a good way to begin forgiveness of others. Trying to understand where it comes from helps. Forgiving myself for bad choices? That’s where I have a problem. And I’ve made many bad choices in my life, out of anger, stubborn refusals to believe I’m wrong, or revenge. There’s a lot in this article that is good. it’s a great beginning to understand your own past and feel the emotions so you can come out the other side. Remembering is only the beginning, though. It takes a huge amount of self love, positive self-talk and other coping tools to reach a point of forgiveness, either for others or for yourself. This is definitely helpful, though, to someone who is foundering in the past and can’t seem to find a way out. 😀

    • Thank you so much for reading! 🙂
      I would take a different perspective on what you did for those people. You truly can never know how your actions affect others. Perhaps you bringing them into your home will inspire them to do the same 10 years from now when they have a job and have figured their lives out. People *do* change! I’m so glad that you help others by doing positive acts, and I think you’re really on the right track with that!!

      Why do you think you can forgive others yet have trouble forgiving yourself? One of the things that I did not mention in my article, simply because I didn’t have room, is that to forgive yourself you need to see signs of growth from the mistake you made. Just like i believe those people you helped can change from the help of others, I think that we can also change ourselves for the better. Take one step at a time to deeply look at the things you’re in the process of forgiving yourself for and then take action to be a better person based on those things. 🙂

      I’m so glad that you took the time to read my post, I really appreciate it. Thank you for the feedback! 🙂

      • You’re welcome. I enjoy reading different perspectives on how to better ourselves, since I sometimes plain run out of ideas. lol No, you can’t know how your actions affect others. However, I’m a co-dependent. I will help others until I’m the one who needs the help. I’m currently working on setting boundaries for that. It’s difficult, because I truly do love other people and want them to be happy. My problem is I make my own happiness contingent on theirs. Again, I’m working on it. 🙂 And yes, people do change. I love it when I hear from them later on, and I do at times, and their lives are better because of something I did.

        However, I have to take care of myself first, because I can’t help anyone if I’m so far down I can’t get up without help. There is a balance to this that I’m slowly learning. And there’s something to be said for the tough love approach. If you help someone long enough, you just end up enabling them to be helpless. The line? Dunno for sure, but I think, if I can help without hurting myself, then there’s the line. I will help, as long as I gain no harm from it. Or my immediate household.

        Trouble forgiving myself is my major issue at this point. I obsess over things I’ve done, get that hollow feeling in the pit of my stomach that makes me almost physically ill. Co-dependent people tend to think they are not lovable unless they make everyone else happy. If they make someone unhappy, then it’s like the world falls apart. I’m working on it. (I have a LOT to work on) It also has a lot to do with poor self-esteem, and the internal belief that they are not worth forgiveness. We know in our heads that this is not true, but to convince the heart is a different story.

        Yes, you’ve stated the process pretty well. Look at yourself, decide that you are worth forgiving, and see how far you’ve come from the person who did the bad things. See yourself in a positive light, and toss out all those negative things you think about yourself. Difficult, but not impossible. And it’s possible for even the most conniving little wench to become a wonderful human being. I keep telling myself that, if I think others can change, can be better people, then why do I believe any different about myself? It’s an ongoing process.

        Thanks for your thoughts, and for the post, as well. Again, I like to hear different opinions, and I revise my own constantly. I strive to maintain an open mind, because that’s how one matures and grows, even if one is fifty years old and a little set in one’s ways. 😉

      • Thanks for the post! I reblogged this because I have been dealing with some serious demons lately. Keep on inspiring ❤

  3. Well done! Thanks for reading mine & letting me know about yours. What’s crazy is that after my post last night, I decided that today’s topic would be about making mistakes and forgiving yourself. Would you mind if I post a link to yours within my post?

  4. I especially enjoyed the section on spreading light within yourself and to others. I must ask, what do you think has influenced you to develop this philosophy?

  5. This post was awesome really, and couldn’t have come at a better time. Reading this was so insightful for me I especially have gained a new perspective from both point 1, because for one I simply have low tolerance for negativity or unnecessary emotional lows so in a sense I do run from situations that cause such. But I will stay and visit next time I face one of those situations and be as vulnerable as I know how.

    Thanks for sharing and also I appreciate you visiting our blog Simply Life In Christ and commenting.

    Be Blessed

    LaTrice

  6. Very nice! I couldn’t agree with you more really. I not to long ago got over a long term relationship and couldn’t figure out why i was still so upset and way day it just hit me it was forgiveness that was missing. So you defiantly hit home with this.

  7. Great post. I personally need some time before i can forgive.. though i knew that it’s more for me, and my peace of mind..

  8. Thank you for giving all the tutorials about the healing nature of forgiveness. Forgiveness in itself is a luxury but many have not sat to think and weigh the options of damages that hating and bitterness cause. They do not see the threat of inner death that heart wrenching hurt poses. Everyone must get the chance to read this. God bless you.

  9. Great points! You’re right, it’s a huge subject to cover in four points, but you did well! I particularly like point two, letting go of control and not dwelling on the past. Unless the past is used to help a person or others, leave it behind and look forward….this includes successes as much as failures. “Be creating new stories instead of dwelling in the past,” a loose paraphrase from my pastor.

  10. Reblogged this on Fluxstruck and commented:
    I found this post by fellow blogger and thought it to be exactly what I have been discovering within myself lately. I have to say- discovering what has been dragging you down is definitely not a comfortable feeling. I have cried multiple times within the past few months just realizing how much of myself has been living in a way that I really wish I wasn’t. A lot of that has to do with forgiveness. Me forgiving people from my past for treating me certain ways that have me so secluded and to myself. I have to forgive myself for letting those things get to me. I also have to forgive myself for yielding so much expectation from my self and other people-because of those things that I have yet to let go of.

    I always knew that no one is perfect-I experience that all the time with myself-but was I truly practicing what I was preaching? No- and I admit that. There are a lot of ways I thought I felt-good ways-about life and living-but I was truly hiding from a lot of things that need to be mended incredibly.

    This fellow post is insightful and has a lot of good points of this whole process of forgiving and letting go.

    , the Flux

  11. The ultimate answer to forgiveness is to not judge in the first place. Ah, to arrive at this place forever. Well written and very thought provoking. Thanks! hugs, pat

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