The Power of Forgiveness
True forgiveness is powerful. Like the truth, true forgiveness sets you free. It has this remarkable ability to lift weight from your shoulders; it enables freedom to feel without fear. Forgiveness can give you back your life, or just fill a hole where pain had taken up space. It can heal broken hearts and relationships and it is the ultimate gift for you, the gift of inner peace.
This article started out as a road map to help others forgive, truly. But what I encountered was the struggle that most of us have. The finality of the act itself, forgiving. This article is more about acknowledging the challenge in it rather than the actual solution. The solution is the easy part. It’s a choice. It is a conscience choice to decide to let go of the pain and the hurt and be completely free. I know this because I have truly forgiven in my life. I have done it and it was incredibly liberating. But what I learned from writing this article was that it is an ongoing process that demands the need to revisit it over and over again in our lifetime. Just because you have done it once, doesn’t mean it will be easier to do the next time. Each time you have been hurt it most likely touches on different places of pain within you. These places of pain that make it hard for us to truly forgive are old hurts that manifest in new situations.
Eckhart Tolle, famous author of The Power of Now and New Earth describes this eloquently as:
“The emotional pain body as a semi-autonomous energy field made up from old pain. You will know when the pain body is active when something irrelevant and insignificant produces an outburst reaction of pain inside of you. This is when we ‘get our buttons pushed’ by situations or other people”.
Knowing and acknowledging that we all have pain somewhere deep down does NOT mean that we can’t successfully overcome our present pain. In fact, even Eckhart Tolle would say that the very act of putting this darkness into light kills the pain body and allows us to live in peace and free of pain.
The struggle to forgive is a very difficult one. The journey to forgive is one that is trying and exhausting and feels down right impossible at times. We all know and trust that “time heals all wounds” but with deep pain associated with your desire to forgive that relief can’t seem to happen soon enough. I have been there. I have actually said “I can’t wait until this doesn’t hurt anymore.” The process of forgiveness is one that starts with removing yourself from the immediate pain. Time helps with perspective and distance helps with healing. There are a million and one ways to approach your quest to forgive. There are probably a million articles that can help you on your way. Each person is different and alternate solutions with new perspectives can only enrich your knowledge base. The more you know about yourself, the more powerful you can become though.
As I have done my share of reading and researching the act of forgiveness, I have practiced these very steps and found that the most important of all ways can be summed up in this simple yet potent recipe. The recipe for forgiveness can be remembered simply by “TRUST MA” and it looks like this:
Truth (knowing the facts, not just the interpretation of events)
Reality (your hate and pain does NOT inflict or have any impact on the other person, it only damages YOU)
Understanding (self awareness of pain)
Space (from each other to gain composure and perspective)
Time (to heal; too much time causes a whole bunch of other issues that I will touch on in a bit)
Move forward (ditch the negative feelings associated with the pain and adapt a healthy perspective about it)
Attitude (turn the event into an experience that gives you strength or a new perspective)
Take all ingredients and mix together…add more time for growth and healing. Put it all on the table and examine again. Apply the love you have in your heart and lastly, forgive.
As I have noted in the ingredient section of this article, there is one very important variable: TIME. I strongly suggest time to heal. When the pain is right on the surface you are in no shape to listen to the other side. You will have a much harder time trying to express yourself. Time will help with that. I must warn though, that if too much time goes by without any resolve then you run the risk of being more comfortable with the hurt than taking the risk of working things out. There are times you can and should walk away but I don’t recommend this when it is family or a loved one that you have had this conflict with. Severing ties and refusing to ‘work things out’ only avoids the healing process. Complacency arrives after too much time has passed. Complacency kills any real motivation to grow. The best outcome and benefit in forgiveness is the personal growth your experience as a result.
“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future”. ~ Paul Boese~
Sarah was born in Boston, MA, raised in New York City and graduated from the University of Connecticut with two degrees. She obtained her degrees in Communications and Psychology. Through her own personal tragedies and struggles Sarah married young and had two beautiful girls. Even though her marriage failed, her devotion to her graduate education and her girls was unsurpassed. With her Masters in Business Administration (MBA) in analyzing foreign markets, and a new career opportunity in MD, she moved to MD where she met and fell in love with Enrique. Today, Sarah lives in Maryland with her husband and their children, researching, writing and publishing articles and books.