TV=Transformation through Virtues: A new series for Global MVP. A nonprofit, started by me, to create World Peace by helping us think of ourselves more virtuously.
Happy New Year!
Are you one to set goals and make changes in hopes for a better life? Regardless of whether you do or not, it is certainly the time of year where we talk about it!
How about trying something bold, deep, and truly impactful: forgiveness.
The Value of Forgiveness
Forgiveness truly changes lives, and in that way, we can certainly refer to it as a game changer and path to awakening. More than a diet or workout routine, you may be able to heal deep wounds that have led to the superficial troubles you now face (perhaps even your weight!) when you lighten your load through forgiveness.
Many people carry the burden of anger for years or even a whole lifetime... I see as its need echoes in my loved ones, in empty and full spaces... Spaces in desperate need for it, and spaces that have been mended by its delights. Forgiveness can certainly be a delight. It has served as a pinnacle in my life. Though we often think of forgiveness as it pertains to others, it is fundamental to focus on forgiveness as it pertains to ourselves. Forgiving ourselves is often the first step we must or are even able to take.
In the process of learning how to forgive ourselves for our own mistakes, we are teaching ourselves how we can forgive others. We are able to feel and respond to our own act of forgiveness. With even moments of this intentional practice, we notice a relief in our shoulders, a warmth in our chest, and a tenderness in our tone. Practice forgiving yourself with depth and sincerity, and you will be able to return that favor to others in a magnificent way.
If you are ever unsure whether you need to practice forgiveness, start by being more mindful of your thoughts, which simply means observing them and noticing any patterns. Repeating actions over in our head with negative connotation or if you notice feelings of shame or disappointment are all signs that you may need some time for forgiveness. Learning to forgive will be a necessary ingredient in your attempts to move on and recover from your mistake.
Let's chat a little about mistakes to offer a different perspective around them.
Certainly, we would all qualify ourselves as having made some sort of mistake in our lives. If we look at our mistakes with an optimistic and compassionate eye, we may be able to unlock a different understanding.. "If I hadn't done that, I would have never ended up..." "I wouldn't have learned tha..t." etc...Thus, upon completing a certain amount of mistakes, a certain depth of trust is naturally created as we accept the necessity of error. We learn to trust the process of the universe and not fear making a mistake. We learn to trust God. In this trust, we can fully surrender and allow our mistakes to be part of God's greater working.
Recognizing the value in our perceived mistakes enables us to soften the harshness that might surround those memories and approach them with loving kindness. Forgiveness is the acceptance that it happened and letting it go. The depth we learn to forgive ourselves enables the depth we are able to forgive others.
We can forgive others without needing to talk to them. Of course, an expression of forgiveness has the power to change someone's life. When someone feels they are forgiven, it encourages forgiveness within themselves. You could help someone else embark on their journey of forgiveness by your example of forgiving.
Forgiving means that you will find more peace and clarity. Your judgment and perception won't be clouded by reflections of injustice or incapabilities. You will be able to look into the world through more empathetic, wiser, kind, loving eyes, and the reflections you will see back will be marvelous. Forgiveness is takes STRENGTH and COURAGE, which resides within all of us.
There is hope for us all. Let us start the journey by forgiving ourselves and ignite change in others through our forgiveness of them. Everyone wins in forgiveness.
4 Steps to Forgiveness
We all make mistakes. We are human, and it seems to be in our nature. Learn how to acknowledge and feel the emotions of guilt that may arise when we think about our mistakes. I personally like to close my eyes, take a deep breathe, and welcome any feelings that arise as I choose to think about my mistake. With each inhale, I breathe in acceptance, and with each exhale, I let go and accept it as part of my past. This is a great moment of reflection. Journalling can help with acceptance as you write down how it made you feel and also reflect on what thoughts or beliefs lead you to making that particular mistake. Mistakes are simply the grounds for learning, and as you learn to forgive, you will grow more compassion for these moments of growth.
2. Letting Go
'Forgive and forget.' This is a common saying that most of us have heard even perhaps if only in a certain Dixie Chicks song. Learning to let go is a different process for all of us. It may involve some sort of admittance or apology. If your mistake hurt another person, it is important to give an apology. This can open the dialogue up and bring more clarity to your situation, and it may also help the other person start their path of forgiveness. Sometimes, we are not able to speak to the person to offer forgiveness, or we are focusing on forgiving ourselves. If this is the case, write out an apology where you clearly state you are sorry, why you are sorry, a description of what happened and what you were feeling, and ask for forgiveness. You are human. Most of the actions we take that bring about cause for our mistakes are a result of limiting beliefs and past injustices we may have faced. Give yourself some grace and then dispose of the letter in a way that allows you to fully let go.
3. Take Care
Learn new habits and ways of thinking that support a positive change you seek in your life. Perhaps in your reflection you notice that your mistake was made through an action that was rooted in insecurity or a mind that focuses on scarcity. This is your opportunity to build better habits that make you feel better about who you are and allows you to focus on positive changes. Physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. It is all related. Upon a reflection of your life, ask yourself if you take daily action to practice care in each of these elements. Do you need to add exercise or healthy food? Do you need to practice meditation or journaling? Do you have a healthy way to express yourself perhaps an art or sport? Do you have a spiritual practice? Do you pray or say thank you at some point during the day? These are all great questions for your to reflect on your own actions and create your own version of living a healthy, fulfilled life. YOU HAVE THE POWER!
4. Be Patient
Be patient. Be patient. Be patient. Change happens through consistent effort. You don't have to move miles each day, but you can always take one small step towards improving. Again, give yourself grace. Depending on the depth of pain, it can take more time to forgive. Keep giving it a chance. Keep trying. Remember the great feeling of relief you may have felt the very first time you attempted to forgive, and know that you aren't doing anything wrong, just sometimes forgiveness takes a lot of time. Stay with it.
On the road to forgiveness, you aren't trying to change anyone except for yourself. Forgiveness allows for the freedom to focus on healthy, positive things in your life so that you don't end up in the same patterns. Forgiveness can bring transformation to all areas of your life so I do hope you give it a chance.
Thank you for reading. Wishing you only blessings as you embark on a spiritual journey of a lifetime.