I’ve spoken about the power of forgiveness before and given techniques to facilitate that, but what exactly is forgiveness?
The dictionary defines forgiveness as “ceasing to feel resentment against.”
The Greater Good website says more specifically that it is, “a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve it.”
So given those two, very similar definitions, you can see why it’s such a powerful force.
A “conscious” act- it is a choice. A choice to release the past and move forward. And what does that do? It frees you up. It allows movement where previously there was stagnation or stuck energy. Where previously there was dark, the light can now enter. Where you were once a prisoner, you now have wings.
I will also add that it’s not just about resentments, sometimes it’s about “mistakes,” regrets, angers- anything you are holding onto and not releasing; towards yourself or others.
So why don’t we do it more often?
Well, sometimes we’re not aware that something needs forgiving; we just know we feel stuck. Other times, we hold those resentments etc. close to our hearts as protection against future pain or as the righteous indignation that “They did this to me and I am not letting them off the hook!” Ahhh, but who is really on the hook? Them? Think again.
That righteous anger may feel good, but where will it get you? Remember would you rather be right, or would you rather be happy? Sure, you can keep holding them accountable, and thereby making yourself the victim in your life. The danger there is believing your victim story, which then renders you to feeling powerless, and wallowing in self-pity or rage. Can love enter into those spaces? No it cannot.
If you say you want love and healing, you need to be willing to release those old places of refuge. Self-pity, victim, martyr, blame- they can feel like old friends, “Hey I know you!” To release them takes courage. To say, “I’ve hidden behind my blame because I’m afraid to truly let love in. I’m afraid it’ll hurt.” That’s step one: recognition and acknowledgement of your part.
Next step: choice; do I really need this? What purpose is it serving? Is it allowing, or preventing happiness and am I really ready to let this go? Once you answer those questions, then you make that choice. “Yes, I choose to release these resentments, or this pain, or this slight, etc.”
Final step: forgiveness. “I choose to release, I choose to be free. I am holding others accountable under the faulty pretense that they are holding me back but really, it’s me. I choose forgiveness.”
Remember, you can’t change what you won’t own within yourself. You need to take responsibility for everything in your life because it’s YOUR life! There is no they, there is only you. So give yourself the gift of freedom regardless of what’s going on with them and set yourself free. Forgive: everyone and everything, and especially yourself for allowing it on some level, even if it’s deeply unconscious.
The world is changing fast right now; give yourself the gift of forgiveness to step more fully into your greatest, actualized self.
(For further information and techniques about working with forgiveness, go to my blogs from September 26th, 2018, or January 16th, 2019)
I just came back from a mini vacation in Hawaii. It was fabulous and I made some observations:
• I’m probably speaking to the choir to those who read my blog but I am amazed by people’s lack of awareness and courtesy towards others, and especially towards the planet.
If you see trash on the beach, please pick it up! It harms the oceans and sea animals. Be cognizant of your belongings and any plastic etc. that you have.
• The people cleaning your room or doing ground work, they’re people, not objects to boss around. Be kind. Say thank you. Show appreciation. It takes but a moment to be courteous.
• Be curious. Ask people questions. I made friends with people and learned new things I wouldn’t have known otherwise. And by friends, I mean, struck up conversations. I didn’t hide in silence. Or my phone!
• Investigate your surroundings and stretch yourself. My friend and I would take little adventures into the unknown to explore. As an example, I’m not big on snorkeling, I get freaked out by fish- silly I know- but I did it to remain open to new things. And I’m so glad I did. We saw some amazing fish.
Awareness, courtesy, curiosity, and stretching yourself: if you go through the world in these energies, you never know what wonders will await you, and you will simultaneously be conscious of your impact on your environment and the people around you. The world has so much to offer, be mindful in your response.
Remember when you were a kid and you couldn’t wait for summer vacation: the chance to be outside, to have freedom, and to play? That was the best! So why did it end?
Yes you grew up, jobs happened, responsibilities- and you forgot, forgot the play and freedom of summer. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Even if you have a full workload, you can find a moment to breathe, to be outside, to do what summers are for.
This year, I treated myself to season tickets for the orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl. Reminds me of summer picnics with my parents watching the Cleveland Orchestra at Blossom, an outdoor venue. It’s a gift I’ve been wanting to give myself for a while and I finally did it.
I also made the commitment to be outside more. To read on the patio, to sit outside in the evenings, and to lay in the hammock. This is how you make summer last- you savor the moments.
So what are you doing this summer? How are you treating yourself? If you’ve forgotten to acknowledge summer, let your inner child out to play. Go swim, run barefoot in the grass, have a picnic, watch the sunset, or watch the fireflies if you’re on the East Coast.
Allow yourself the freedom to be! Create the time. Love yourself enough to put yourself first regardless of what’s going on. The magic of summer is here.
I want you to remember something:
You have a choice. You can choose to let what happened to you at any point in your life define you and rule you, or you can choose to overcome it, rise above it, and shine.
This is your choice, no one else’s.
There are plenty of people in the world who have overcome incredible obstacles to be huge, bright lights, and there are people who allow their pain to define them.
Will you be defined by your light, or by your darkness?
Make the choice, the time is now.
To continue with the theme from last year around the Fourth of July, today I want you to simply notice where you do not allow yourself freedom in your life. Do you withhold love: from yourself or others? Do you try to control everything/everyone because it feels scary to step into the unknown? Do you punish yourself and withhold things that would feel good? Do you allow yourself pleasure?
Now you may say, “No, I give myself plenty of freedom.” But do you? Do you really allow yourself the freedom to explore, grow, imagine, and branch out into something you’ve never done before? When you really look, how much do you restrict and confine yourself to what you know? And that may simply be the stories you tell. You’re so used to it, that you don’t give yourself the freedom to see that there could be another way.
There’s a difference between adult freedom and adolescent freedom. Believe me, your inner adolescent would love you to define freedom by their terms and have you just go crazy without responsibility, because to them, that’s what freedom means. But that’s not what I’m talking about. You can’t say, “Well Tina told me to allow myself pleasure so I’m going to go out and get drunk and overeat and be careless.” Nope, not giving you permission for those things. Notice that for a second – are you still defining freedom through the eyes of your adolescent? Does freedom mean shirking all responsibility and allowing yourself to overindulge, or not be mindful and instead, be thoughtless, neglectful, and reckless? If so, to any degree, then your adolescent is running you.
How can you define freedom from your adult? That freedom is, as I mentioned above, growing, expanding, and letting go of the ways you have limited yourself through control or martyr etc., or where you still punish yourself for something that happened in childhood. Have you bloated the responsibilities of your inner judge and allowed them to restrict you, limit your imagination, and keep you a prisoner to the past? Strip them of their power, you can do that! Unlock those handcuffs, open that jail cell, step into a life filled with more love and light than you have allowed up until now. You are the only one holding yourself prisoner.
It’s time to be free.
With every firework explosion tomorrow night, release more of who you are not in the ways in which you’ve limited and denied yourself, and as those lights cascade down, let them fill you with incredible sparkle to become more, to grow, and to expand into the real you.
Me, just sharing ways to make you the best you can be!