Stop and think about it for a minute. Is there anyone in your life that you need to forgive? If so, holding on to it is one of the most destructive things you are doing to yourself. That’s right, to you. When we are in the position of needing to forgive it usually means, “someone has done us wrong”. For many of us, we hold on to that because it makes us right and them wrong. There is a misguided feeling of power that goes with this feeling. The problem is that we can become a slave to it and it can effect all areas of our lives without our even being consciously aware.
How many times have we held onto a grudge when the other person isn’t even aware of the fact that we are upset? They have long moved on but still we hold on to the feeling letting it churn inside. Sometimes we don’t forgive because we believe if we forgive them it will let them off the hook and it condones whatever they have done. Forgiving them does not let them off the hook; it lets us off the hook. What ever they did to you is something they have to live with. Sure it can be painful, but it is more painful to hang on to it and continue to give it life.
Many years ago, I was betrayed by someone who had “done me wrong”. In reality, she had betrayed herself more than me but being a sensitive soul, it still effected me deeply. Little by little, I started not trusting people. I wasn’t even aware that I was doing it. It became a low-grade level of pervasive stress. I began to wonder in the back of my mind if others would do what they told me they would. I had never been like that before this and I really didn’t like the feeling. I chalked it up to getting older and needing to be more mindful. Periodically, the old hurt would run through my mind begging to be set free but I held on. I was never going to let myself be fooled like that again.
Then one morning, I was laying in bed, reviewing the day and I became aware that I was worried if an upcoming event would happen as planned; I worried if the plane would be on time; I wondered if the purchase I had paid extra for early delivery would get there on time. It suddenly dawned on me how much of this stress was about trust. When did I get this way! I never remembered feeling like that before and I recognized how much irritability I was feeling in that moment. Over the next few weeks, I began to really examine this behavior, and as time went on, I was able to trace it back to the betrayal that had happened to me. I was doubting and not trusting others in my life over what this one person had done. The only person who was suffering was me. Gratefully, over time I was able to get back to trusting fully again, but it would have never happened if I hadn’t experienced the power of forgiveness.
It’s important to realize that forgiveness isn’t something that always takes place in a moment. TRY THIS instead of the previous sentence: It’s important to realize that forgiveness is something that often takes time. Sometimes it takes a while to let go of what happened. That’s not to say that it can’t happen in a moment. If it is your intention to forgive, you will, whether it takes a moment or months.
The New Year is a time again when many of us begin to set goals and begin thinking about what we want to accomplish or complete. As you set your upcoming intentions for this year, check in and ask if your need to forgive is holding you back in any area of your life. It just may be the thing that sets you free to succeed in ways you hadn’t imagined.