“If you haven’t forgiven yourself something, how can you forgive others?”….Delores Hureta
Dolores Clara Fernandez Huerta is a labor leader and civil rights activist who, along with César Chávez, co-founded the National Farmworkers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers.
Forgive. To forgive is to pardon. To pardon is to let it go. To forgive, you must truly let it go. You are not just letting go of the circumstances or wrongs, you are releasing it all. It never happened once. It is forgiven. “True forgiveness does not even remember the injury.” (The Two Seekers) Forgiveness is an activity that moves us past hurts and disappointments and on to serenity and fulfillment.
Forgiveness is a gift that you give to yourself and to others. Forgive yourself. As stated by Robert Watts Jr. in “People Are Never the Problem,” to fully enjoy our potential and to increase the potential in others, we must learn to forgive ourselves and our fellow man. When we forgive others, we are forgiven for the things we do wrong. Forgiveness is the power to start over and try again. Forgiveness is the power to do better next time. Give yourself that chance. The most enriching experience from forgiveness is that we gain a greater understanding of ourselves as a spiritual being.
When one is offended in some nature, intentional or not, it is an opportunity to respond with love and compassion as the Deity within us all would do. Troubled times provide prime opportunities to put our beliefs into practice.
I believe we are all equal and are one as our beginning, everyone’s, starts with the same source, Deity, call Him/Her what you may.
To others, forgiveness is a gift because you are letting the other person take the “wrong” and are letting them release any fear or retribution. They can live in without hiding around a corner in fear. Fear causes many actions, anger and violence as well as illness and depression. The forgiven now feels like they can truly change because you have let go of the idea that they are bad. You release them from negative self-worth. You let them know that there is a clean slate and they alone have the choice to change or not.
Forgiveness does not mean you shouldn’t file the information as if it were a lesson. That is what it should be - a lesson for all concerned. Use it to protect yourself and be sure it is not something that will hurt you again or destroy anything you have worked for. If it happens again, you are in a position to say that the person is noteworthy of trust and should not be part of your life. They lack respect and you cannot put yourself in that situation to be misled again. That person can be forgiven, even again, but you can also ask them to move on in their own life if the wrong is bad enough. Only you can determine if and when that point is reached. It is also a point when you need to ask yourself if you contributed in any way in making certain things happen or led the person to think wrongly. There is always cause and effect and there could be something that leads them to repeat their mistakes. You do not have to forget, just let go of the emotion attached to you don’t become destructive, for if we do not practice forgiveness frequently, it can destroy us from the inside out and can also destroy those we love who are innocent bystanders.
Life is a wonderful roller coaster, full of ups and downs, filled with excitement and fear. We cannot and should not blame those who journeyed along with us, even if they pushed us off course. We have to find the lesson in where we are at the time and be thankful for being led to a place where we were able to experience it. Good or bad, we had an experience. If it was bad, be thankful for making it through and be thankful by forgiving them and yourself.
Forgiveness can be one of the greatest acts of kindness you can commit. Let go of the past and not only will you grant peace, you will achieve peace.
If we are willing and anxious to forgive others, why not forgive ourselves, for we are as worthy of forgiveness as our equals are. I was told once by a highly respected professional that I was the calmest person she ever met. I grinned at that comment, smugly perhaps, and told her that was because I was at peace. Peace? Yes, and I went on to explain to her that I was at peace because I forgave myself. I accepted the fact that as a human, I made decisions that hurt many others, though that was not my intent. In my search for happiness, I put others’ interests secondary to mine. Did others have a role in my decisions and actions? Absolutely, but the ultimate decisions were mine. But, as I stated in earlier articles, life is an experience, a learning experience with no right or wrong decisions, for lessons are to be learned from whatever direction we choose.
Let Deity within you guide your actions in good times, turmoil or challenging situations. Listen closely. Deity is there guiding all of us.
There is no need to wait to be asked for forgiveness, for at times the other person may not even realize they have offended you. Is there someone you need to forgive? Yourself? Today is a good day.