“Forgiveness is not a single act of courage, it’s an ongoing act of grace. “
Rosalie Gibbons, MFT
This quote describes how we must be open to forgiveness … moment by moment. Life is all about relationships. Few of us get through life untouched by some degree of conflict, disappointment, hurt, regret, betrayal, or failure. Dealing with these issues as adults may be more difficult for some of us. Unresolved painful childhood experiences may emotionally haunt us and unconsciously continue to shape how we see ourselves and others. Regardless, these hurts, regrets, and disappointments hold us hostage to the past and limit our growth, development, and success. When we are willing to reveal our pain, communicate honestly, and forgive ourselves and others, we begin to heal.
The world needs healing! Look what’s happening in the country today. Violence and persecution permeates our world. How do we process all of the tragic events occurring day after day. How do we begin to forgive?
I am pledging to be part of a solution to offset the pain. I believe we must do this for our children. Children live what they learn. What are we teaching them in our families and schools? When we stay angry with someone in our lives, we judge others, close our eyes to bullying and other violence, or we simply don’t even forgive our own mistakes and continue to live in regret, what are we modeling? We can all do our part in creating a better world by beginning a process of forgiveness. Who do you need to forgive … a family member, significant other, friend, co-worker, or yourself?
In order to move forward in relationships and in life, we need to develop the skills necessary to resolve conflicts in a healthy manner including …
- Setting clean, clear boundaries that respect everyone in the relationship
- Being a positive voice for forgiveness (practice in our own lives)
- Recognizing the difference between forgiveness and trust. Forgiveness is a conscious choice we make in the moment. Trust must be built over time through repeatedly demonstrated positive action.
Forgiveness of ourselves and others presents us with the opportunity to reclaim our personal power.
Forgiveness does not make an offender right. It doesn’t mean that we put our trust in them, sweep the potential for danger under the rug, or remain in relationships that are unhealthy or abusive. Speak out honestly about any situation you see where another is at risk or you are being hurt. It is only through honest communication that we can resolve situations that could go from resentment to revenge.
Being in a state of forgiveness requires us to be responsible not for someone else’s behavior or the offensive act, but for how we negatively define and limit ourselves as a result. We must be willing to take an honest look at the debilitating choices and decisions we make and hold ourselves and others accountable for the actions taken or not taken that caused distress.
In the book RE-The wisdom in rethinking your life, available on this site, we explain how the negative three R’s – resentment, resistance, and revenge – emotionally and physically restrict and constrain us. We also elaborate on the positive three R’s – recognize, respond, and recalibrate. The reader is then taken through a powerful forgiveness process to release current and/or childhood hurts, disappointments, resentments, and regrets. This is an opportunity to be part of a solution to offset the pain and injustice around us, something each one of us can actually do.
The heart in forgiveness begins within each of our own hearts. As a part of our healing, as a society, we must each look within and consider where in our lives could we shift our perceptions and practice forgiveness. It starts with me!
Gloria Manchester is a certified life and business coach and incorporates forgiveness exercises in all of her work. To learn more about how you can write a forgiveness letter and design a new exciting story for your life, go to page 103 of the Amazon bestseller, RE-The wisdom in rethinking your life!