Forgiveness Strengthens The Capacity To Choose

The beauty of the New Year is already upon us! It ‘s the perfect time for personal reflection on the year’s ups and downs along with it’s challenges and triumphs. It’s an opportunity to affirm what went well and feel grateful for that. Perhaps as next year comes, we’ll all be able to learn from what didn’t quite go as well as we wanted.

Are you holding a grudge of some kind from something that happened over this past year? If so, it’s an apropos time to consider how the process of forgiveness can free up your creative energy to focus on positive endeavors and healthy relationships. As far as I can tell, it sounds like a pretty good trade off. Of course in reality, forgiveness is not always as simple as it sounds. It oftentimes stirs up intense emotional reactions that reside in the undertow when thinking about the object/person we may choose to forgive.

When discussing the nature of “forgiveness” there is an apparent irony within the conceptual meaning, particularly, why would we want to “forgive” what has caused such injury to us? The answer is that when you let go of that pain, you are actually unburdening yourself from recycling stuck energy. It’s not about condoling was done or in any way making it seem right. It’s really about making yourself right by recalibrating your emotional body. Forgiveness is a gift that you give yourself.

We’re all human, so we all have someone or something to forgive. We all have an inherent capacity to forgive if we are willing to stop to examine ourselves first; when we believe in its virtues, we find the way to let go of our grievance. As this is done, feelings such as anger, resentment and bitterness may emerge. This is normal, as it acts as a spiral to clear out the energetic channels. As these emotions are released, they dissolve and allow you to re-align with your true nature.

Forgiveness requires a shift in consciousness to release old wounds, whether they’re from 10 years ago, 10 months ago or even just 10 minutes ago. Changes in mindset and heart are foundational pillars to promote movement during the forgiveness process. It may require a great deal of self-inquiry, self-inventory, re-processing and eventually the reintegration of such event. There is no correct way to do this, though there may be helpful strategies in order to expedite the process along. Real resolution best occurs through an individual grieving process that is the natural path for coming to terms with the grievance. Insight oriented techniques will also help, but the real work is experiential. Every individual needs to reach their own conclusions and emotional healing in their own timely way. The permission you give yourself to do this is a gift to your highest self. Trusting your compassionate heart to remain open for yourself is to truly heal. It is the essential self-care and self respect for who you are.

Psych- immunology research supports the theoretical claim that forgiveness alleviates depression and enhances self –esteem; however, false forgiveness leaves one with residual anger and self-hatred. Those who compulsively forgive may have underlying fear of abandonment in which case they go along with anything and don’t stand their ground as necessary. Healthy forgiveness as a holistic approach is a healthy, meaningful experience that is not based on pathological attachment issues and separation anxiety.

Some individuals are just not ready to complete the process. There is such a thing as partial forgiveness or ambiguous states. This is based on comfort level, as long as you can still remain receptive to change, as this is not a linear process. You may find yourself swaying and even delaying as you need to access your own resources to see things in a different light. The cognitive-affective states must resonant with one another for true forgiveness to occur. As author Jeanne Safer, Ph.D. states in her book “Forgiving & Not Forgiving: Why Sometimes It’s Better Not to Forgive”. She elegantly captures this ambivalence with the following analogy, “You cannot make yourself forgive any more than you can force yourself to fall in love.” (p.53). The process of forgiveness oftentimes occurs in an incremental fashion over the natural course of time. We’ve all heard it said time and time again that ‘Time Heals All Wounds’.

Most importantly, Dr. Jeanne Safer refers to the reinterpretation stage that involves finding some meaning from the suffering. Passive suffering may be painful, though it can be transformed into an active acceptance as the way to come to terms with the person/situation. Forgiveness in this capacity is disguised as a form of personal growth. When you are able to find deeper truth beneath the initial pain, you can find good reason to forgive and move forward on your own sacred journey.

Forgiveness is a choice. Forgive yourself and forgive others to strengthen your capacity to choose.

Author's Bio: 

Moreen’s holistic Mind, Body, Spirit philosophy integrates traditional and alternative modalities in all of her endeavors. As a NJ Licensed Social Worker (MSW), she has worked in both clinical and non- clinical settings with individuals of all age.

She brings her unique presence into practice. She is an intuitive, authentic individual who communicates on a soul-to-soul level. She offers individual Life Purpose and Career Coaching (certified by The Life Purpose Institute). She uses a Strength’s Based Approach so that others may access the best of themselves. She has additional trainings in Heart Centered Hypnotherapy, Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP), Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing Level II), Masters’ level Reiki II and Parenting Education.

She has a passion for reading and writing metaphysical, and self-help literature.

Publications: “Self Trust, Self Care, Self Signature” Chapter 23 in The Confident Woman: Tapping Into Your Inner Power. Professional Woman Publishing, Edited by Linda Ellis Eastman 2013.

To be released (January 2014): “Rebalance Your Reality”, Chapter in The Female Leader. Professional Woman Publishing, Edited by Linda Ellis Eastman.

Co-author Your Heart’s Magical Journey. A meditative, inspirational book dedicated to children of all age. It uses the earth’s treasures as guides to foster self-knowledge, self-esteem while promoting health and balance. (In process)

Available for Free Lance writing.
She may be contacted at 732-754-8681