today, some thoughts on forgiveness.
like most of these subjects, i could write a book, but in the service of brevity, i’ll just share a few high-level ideas.
lets being with the WHY of forgiveness.
unforgiveness keeps you anchored to the mistakes of others. uh, no thanks.
it’s also toxic and manifests itself in the form of anger, resentment, substance use and other harmful behaviors, and not taking advantage of opportunities when they present themselves. and that’s just a short list….
basically, when you are unwilling to forgive somebody, consciously or not, you stay small.
you ability to grow is severely stunted when you carry unforgiveness.
do you want to be a small bitter guy? doubt it.
FORGIVENESS IS A GIFT
you’ve probably heard it: “forgiveness is a gift that you give yourself”. i used to bristle at this statement but, alas, it’s true.
forgiveness is a gift you give yourself because it allows you to open back up.
you have been closed off by an injury someone else caused you – it’s protective – but being closed off and shut down well past the time of the actual injury only harms you.
forgiveness allows you to grow again.
forgiveness is a choice. you can either “get bitter” or “get better”.
forgiveness is a journey. it takes time and unfortunately you don’t have complete control over the timeline.
forgiveness is a process. it includes three primary phases in forgiveness: decisional, emotional and spiritual.
forgiveness is a skill. like any skill, the more you practice forgiveness the easier it will be.
DECISIONAL FORGIVENESS – we have to first decide we are going to forgive.
a note about the starting the process – i.e. decisional forgiveness – you don’t have to be totally sure about it. you don’t need to be 100%. you only need to be 1% willing. just 1%.
it may even be the decision to “sort of entertain the possibility” that i’m willing to forgive this person.
EMOTIONAL FORGIVENESS – coming to understand, or gain empathy for the offender
SPIRITUAL FORGIVENESS – “coming to understand that nothing wrong ever happened” – colin tipping
in summary, as upside down as forgiveness can be, it is truly is a gift you give yourself.
forgiveness is a path to freedom for yourself.