We know that health is much more than just nutrition and exercise. For true health and a balanced life we need to take care of our other needs; one is our connection to others. Whether you consider forgiveness spiritual, relationship or self-esteem it is an important part of emotional health and thereby physical as well.
The following is borrowed from Masten Kipp, a man who has been sending out love to everyone for a long time. His blog is called “The Daily Love.”
“The joy that comes from realizing that suffering in our lives comes from the meaning we have given it is unlimited.”
I am not saying that painful things in your past didn’t happen, but what I am saying is that they no longer have to be as painful. It’s not as easy as changing your mind once or twice. It takes work, repeatedly, just like exercise. If you continually try over time a new life and new meaning can emerge.
One of the best ways I know how to do this is to take ourselves out of our own story and step into the thoughts, feelings and beliefs of the person who hurt us. Not so we can make right what they did, but so we can begin to understand the painful event from their point of view. I pray on this daily to help keep me focused.
The point of forgiveness is not to make right what happened, but to bring a new sense of empathy and compassion to all involved – including you.
The best way to turn the tables on people who have hurt us is to forgive them, because that is how we break the bond over the painful event. From there, when we step into their shoes and consider how they must have been thinking and feeling, we begin to understand that their actions were not truly against us, but a request for love or significance in a very skewed way; that was the best way that they knew how to at that time.
From a soul perspective, we can claim ownership over the meaning we give that event, and no longer make it about how it hurt us, but about how they were hurt and our job is now to step into more love and compassion and empathy, for them and for us. This takes us deeper and helps to bring clarity, resolution and forgiveness.
It is easier for me to write this and harder to do. It’s not as easy as reading The Daily Love and being done with it. My hope is that this can be a beginning point for you to start the journey of forgiveness, of empathy and of compassion, so that one day soon you will be set free of the chains that bind you from the past.
When we see things from the point of view of others, we realize that what they are doing as not against us but as an action to make up for the love they didn’t get. In this realization, we can transcend the hurt and the pain because we realize it was never about us in the first place, and so the victim story can be replaced with the story of the hero who overcame the darkness in another with love.
I believe that there is unbelievable healing in forgiveness. Forgiving someone can take years of burden off your shoulders not to mention your soul. It restores relationships, enables new beginnings and allows us to move on to better things.
I’m ending this year by replacing those hurts of the past and the associated negative feelings with love and compassion for those who I have felt caused the pain. I plan on beginning the New Year embracing forgiveness and releasing those negative feelings for good. The last several years had taken its toll on my health. I’ve worked through the physical and medical aspects of my recovery. This act of forgiveness is a gift to myself that allows for my spiritual and emotional healing.
I wish all of you a healthy and happy New Year filled with love and forgiveness.
How can you start practicing forgiveness right now? I’d love to hear you share with me in the comments below.