As I’ve often said, drama zaps energy and steals focus. Holding grudges or living with unresolved frustrations towards others can definitely zap your energy. And you need to harness your focus of energy and time with intention to make your unique impact!
So…….Does forgiveness need to be a part of your work? Bitterness, anger, frustration, and hatred are all energy sucking emotions and are often associated with how we feel about those we believe have disrespected us, hurt us, or taken us for granted.
I’ve definitely had to walk some tough roads of forgiveness. Perhaps I made it harder than it needed to be. But, I definitely felt those negative feelings and more about the man who abused me. I was angry! I had a vision for what my life would be and he took it from me because he was unwilling to own his behavior, or change anything.
I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying, “holding resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the offender to become ill”. Yes, those resentments will continue to impact you and have an affect on your current and future relationships.
An important part of my healing process was the intentional act of forgiveness. I needed to forgive him for what he did to me. Forgiveness doesn’t mean what he did is okay. It does mean letting go, ending the bitterness and reducing the anger.
Forgiveness certainly didn’t happen overnight for me! As a matter of fact, it didn’t even enter my mind for a very long time. To be perfectly honest, for the first few years after the relationship ended I collected his struggles and failures like little affirmations. “Yep, I made the right choice.” Or, “guess that’s what happens when you are such a horrendous person.”
I wanted validation. The abuse always happened behind closed doors. I wanted his life going forward to act as proof of what had happened to me. And I loved taking note and sharing his continued indiscretions with friends. “Look what I’ve had to put up with!”
A nice secondary effect of my continued anger towards him was that it provided me a layer of protection for my heart. Stopping to think about him as a broken human being who was not capable of doing better was too close to empathy. Empathy lives very close to love and I did not want to feel any feelings that even remotely resembled love for him. That chapter was closed and I needed to protect myself.
Truth was, I really didn’t have anything to worry about there. I had successfully removed myself emotionally from him over the course of those years of healing but I continued to find comfort in the idea of that extra layer.
The act of forgiveness was very difficult. As is always the case, however, forgiveness is a gift I’ve given to myself. It took a lot of energy to hold on to the negative stories, took up time to re-tell them. And empathy is okay. It has softened my heart and I have compassion. He is a broken man. But….The truth is, we are all broken.
Forgiving continues as a daily choice, an ongoing challenge with new experiences to add often but I am getting better.
So does part of your preparation need to include forgiveness? Are you wasting energy to hold onto resentments, frustrations, disappointments, or anger towards anyone?
Maybe it’s yourself you need to forgive. The same concepts apply. Whatever you did that led to the demise of relationships or choices that led to a life moving down an unintended path, it was you in your brokenness leading the way. Question is, what have you learned from those consequences, what will you do differently going forward and will you forgive?
The reality is, you can beat yourself up while you live the consequences of your actions or you can give yourself grace as you embrace your current circumstance. From a place of grace you have more energy to devote to creating a better life and making your unique impact.
So…..we all know we need to forgive, but how do you actually do it?
Here are some steps to follow. The steps are simple but the process can be very challenging. Start today so you can be on your way!
9. Pray: If it’s not your thing that’s totally fine. However, if you are a praying person or want to give prayer a try, praying for God’s help in this area is highly recommended. Pray to have him help you change your heart and see the situation through His eyes. Pray to have discernment and wisdom. Pray for God to guide you through next steps. Pray to express sorrow to Him for your un-forgiveness. Pray to have your offender gain wisdom, insight and healing.