Posts Tagged ‘forgive’

FORGIVENESS: HOW TO, Part 2

In last week’s show, we spoke about why some people choose not to forgive and why it’s essential to do so. There are many reasons and two of the biggest are: they feel the person is not deserving of being forgiven; 2. they feel that should they grant pardon, the other party will think the incident was not serious, will not have to be held accountable, or may very well repeat the offense. Although none of these is true, they are considered by many to be valid reasons. However, as I stated previously, to withhold absolution can have dire consequences for the one who was harmed.
“Not forgiving is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” (unknown)
The act of exoneration has multiple benefits including freeing one from anger, animosity, bitterness, hatred or thoughts of revenge. It restores inner peace and joy. It reduces the risk of physical and emotional maladies or from interfering with having other healthy relationships. It also keeps the door open for a possible reconciliation of both parties at some point in the future. Forgiveness is not for the other person; it is a gift you give yourself, the gift of serenity.

Assuming you have made the decision to let go of the incident, how do you proceed? Forgiveness, for many, is not immediate. It is a process of healing emotionally and spiritually and can take some time. Keep in mind: one need not forgive and forget. To forget what has transpired, such as an assault, puts one at risk for the incident to reoccur. Forgive but remember without negative emotions. Keep in mind, too, that while some believe the old adage that time heals all wounds, in truth time heals nothing. It is the act of pardoning that heals.

Here are some steps you can take to let go of the anger and move beyond the incident.

1. Keep in mind that all of us are human and mistakes, selfish acts, fear, betrayals, disappointments and such are all a normal part of the human experience. One cannot journey through life without ever offending or disappointing others. To forgive means to refrain from judgment and to make allowances for man’s imperfections.
2. Change your perception of the person or incident. Life isn’t about truth and reality; it is about perception – how we choose to see others or the world. Perception is simply a thought. We choose a thought, either one that is kind or judgmental. So ask yourself, “Am I being fair in my assessment of this person or incident? Was there a misunderstanding? Am I over reacting to what happened?” Your thoughts create your feelings (refer to T~E~~C~O Magic*). Therefore, all one really needs to do to change how they feel is to change what they are thinking. See the offender through the eyes of kindness, understanding, and fairness.
“Do not judge me until you have walked a mile in my shoes.” – Native American philosophy
3. Realize that every experience that enters your life is a critical part of your life’s journey. Each person and situation provides the opportunity for you to fulfill your Divine Destiny and to bring you into closer communion with God. Rather than find fault with or complain about what happened, find its value. Be grateful for the opportunity to further your spiritual development. Gratitude thwarts anger and bitterness.
4. Pray. Prayer is a powerful form of communication with the Divine. It’s like holding on to the hand of a fire fighter as he guides you out of a burning building to safety. Conversation with God provides us with guidance, comfort, and the strength to do God’s Will rather than succumbing to our anger or desires, for our need for justice. Our first responsibility is always to abide by the Father’s directives, not to surrender to our ego. “Align with the Divine” is a simple but powerful mantra to remind us that we must always respond to life from a spiritual perspective, in a way reflective of God’s Love.

Also, it’s important to pray for the one who committed the offense. Rather than seeking revenge, pray for their healing, for whoever commits a hateful act upon another is in need of healing not punishment. God’s Way is to heal and our way must be His Way. James 5: tells us to “Pray for others so that you may be healed.” This is a prayer I recite for those who have betrayed me:
“Heavenly Father, please help _____ to keep their heart and mind open to you today and everyday, allowing you to work through them, with them, and in them, helping them to become the person you created them to be. And help me also to remember every day that what is happening between them and me is not between the two of us. It is always between you and I. Amen.”

If necessary, one can also take the following steps towards forgiving:

1. Discuss with the other person what happened and why for the sole purpose of understanding their position. Clear up any misunderstandings. Discuss facts only. Refrain from blame or excuses. Accept responsibility for your part.
2. Discuss how each person felt. This may be uncomfortable but is necessary to more fully understand the impact this incident has had on both parties.
3. Decide what you both want to happen now. Do you want a reconciliation, a chance to rebuild your relationship, or would it be best to part ways, amicably? What can each party do to accomplish this?
4. Focus on and remember everything good about the person. Remember, thoughts dictate feelings. One act of bad judgment does not erase all the good in someone.
5. Separate the behavior from the individual. Behaviors are not who we are; they are outward expressions of our internal environment and issues. Remind yourself that this person is still a sacred child of God, deserving of love and forgiveness.
6. Detach and let go of all negative feelings. Revisit the incident as an objective observer, not an active participant.
7. Extract the value of the experience. Learn the lessons, be grateful, let go, and move forward.
Keeping in mind that this experience is a process and may take time and effort, how does one know if they have in fact truly forgiven the other party?

When the following elements are present:

1. Have you let go of the need to discuss it? It has served its purpose and needs no more of your time or energy.
2. Can you think about the offender without anger or animosity?
3. If you came face-to-face with them, would you feel at ease?
4. Are you at peace with what happened although not necessarily happy about it?
5. Does the thought of the other party suffering for their offense cause you sadness?
6. Can you be grateful for the experience and see how it has actually been a blessing in your life?

Remember, forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. It is the ultimate act of self-love for it enables you to live in the peace and joy that God intended for you.

Mark 11: 25 “And when you stand praying if you hold anything against anyone forgive them so that your Father in Heaven may forgive you your sins.”

I invite you to watch a very powerful video on the importance of forgiveness at www.FromGodWithLove.net.
*T~E~~C~O Magic* in The Secret Side of Anger

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FORGIVENESS: WHY WE DON’T, BUT NEED TO AND HOW Part 1

Is there someone in your life that you either refuse to forgive or are having a hard time with? I’ve often heard people make statements such as “I’ll never forgive them for what they did!” Or, “Some things should never be forgiven.” Still others feel that some people simple do not deserve exoneration. Why are some reluctant to do so when others believe it is absolutely necessary and must be offered to the offending party? Shouldn’t the choice to extend absolution be a personal one?

Let’s first examine some of the reasons why people withhold this act:

1. People believe that some offenses are too heinous to be worthy of forgiving. Rape, murder, an affair, embezzlement, betrayal and others are considered too serious by nature to move beyond.

2. Some feel that forgiveness opens the door for the offending party to recommit the transgression as it appears to remove all accountability. Holding on to one’s anger and judgment imposes guilt and shame on the offender and therefore offers some reassurance that it will not occur.

3. Holding on to arrogance and judgment makes us feel powerful. It enables us to damage the offender’s reputation and credibility, influence others to rethink the nature of their relationship with the guilty party, and inflict pain and suffering on them, thus offering us some distorted sense of satisfaction and restitution for their crime. (We’re getting even.) Forgiving may make us appear weak. Ghandi said, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”

4. Smaller wrongdoings are understandable as for the most part we all realize that people are not perfect and will make mistakes. But by a certain age, we feel they should know better. That is, they should know right from wrong, how to treat people, to recognize their own weaknesses and refrain from acting them out. We impose our values and expectations on others (“They should know…, they should do/be…”) and those who fall short are not granted exemption.

5. Those we are less fond of are often judged more harshly than those we care about. We deem them unworthy of forgiveness. They simply don’t deserve it. Yet were that same offense committed by a loved one or someone of greater importance to us, we might be more inclined to extend compassion. Our feelings towards the individual can play a role in who we determine is deserving.

6. The individual continues repeating the same offense or commits additional affronts against us.

7. Those who refuse to acknowledge their wrongdoing, take ownership, apologize, or make amends are often denied absolution.

8. If we forgive we fear it will send one of two messages: either the offense was not as serious as first believed or we are allowing the person exemption from facing the consequences.

However, those who choose to withhold absolution put themselves (and others) at grave risk. One can easily become consumed with anger or rage which can lead to an assortment of physical maladies, interfere with the health of other relationships, and impede one’s ability to be fully happy and enjoy life. It can also become a crutch for hindering one’s successes, such as in the case of a person who was bullied as a child and suffers with self-esteem and trust issues as an adult. The object may hold the other fully accountable and blame them for their continued suffering and failures. Long-term unresolved anger and blame can easily lead to bitterness and self-pity which will ultimately destroy a person’s life.
“Not forgiving is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” (unknown)
Although one may not seek a reconciliation with the other party in the moment, holding a grudge will obstruct their chances of ever making amends and possibly reuniting in the future.

While all of the above grounds seem reasonable to a many people, each fails in comparison to the reasons why forgiveness is essential.

1. We need forgiveness because it neutralizes our feelings of anger, judgment, resentment, and thoughts of retaliation. Louis Smedes: “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”

2. It thwarts any chance of seeking revenge or retaliation, thus preventing both side from further harm.

3. It is the first step towards a possible reconciliation and at the very least enables both parties to part without feelings of animosity or hostility.

4. It restores inner peace. Some say that when you have your health you have everything. I say, if you have inner peace your life is truly blessed beyond measure. You have all you need and need nothing more. You cannot achieve optimum health or happiness if you harbor feelings of hostility towards anyone. “Forgiveness doesn’t excuse their behavior. It prevents it from destroying your heart.”

Choosing to pardon someone from an egregious act in no way condones their behavior nor does it minimize the serious nature of the offense. One must still be held accountable, accept the consequences, and offer restitution whenever possible. Ephesians 4: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Forgiveness is freedom from the past; it heals all wounds and enables the individual to move beyond the incident and fully embrace the present. It’s akin to breaking a bone: in time, the pain subsides as the bone heals. One remembers the incident and the extent of the pain but no longer feels it. Forgiveness does not erase nor diminish the serious nature of what transpired. One remembers but without emotion, for they have been restored to wholeness.

One of our primary goals in life to continually improve the quality of our lives: to become healthier, not sicker; to gain intelligence, not to become more ignorant; to have more fun not less; to be happier, not miserable; to be more loving and less judgmental; to gain courage and relinquish fear; to be more peaceful and tranquil, not more hateful. Therefore, it is only logical that to forgive is a life-affirming method of self-improvement.

Mark 11: 25 “And when you stand praying if you hold anything against anyone forgive them so that your Father in Heaven may forgive you your sins.”

Watch a very powerful video on the importance of forgiveness at www.FromGodWithLove.net.

Tune in next week for the “How To’s” of forgiving.

Order The Secret Side of Anger, Second Edition or The Great Truth @ http://www.pfeifferpowerseminars.com/pps1-products.html

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Self-Forgiveness

Forgiveness is one of the powerful modalities we have regarding our spiritual and emotional healing. I have always found it easy to forgive those who hurt or offended me yet I am not as generous with forgiving myself. Professionally speaking, this is one of the topics I lecture on that I am most passionate about. I know I’ve enabled thousands of people to find peace in their hearts through the sharing of my knowledge and my own life experiences. In recent years, my spiritual journey has lead me to the understanding that forgiveness becomes obsolete with the awareness of two factors: first, when we recognize that every choice, every life experience, and every mistake is an essential part of our spiritual journey. What is essential for our growth does not require forgiveness. Secondly, the ability to view others through the eyes of compassion rather than judgment prevents the onset of anger or disdain, both of which require the forgiving process to heal from and move beyond.

While learning to forgive others can be challenging for many, forgiving one’s self can present an even greater obstacle. Why is it so difficult for some people to extend the same compassion and understanding to one’s self as they do for others?
Here are six possible reasons:

• While we may be understanding and compassionate of others for their perceived imperfections and mistakes, we often hold ourselves to a higher standard. “You did the best you could at that time”, “You didn’t know any better” are common responses to those who have committed a wrongdoing. Yet we put greater pressure on ourselves believing that I could/should have tried harder; I should have known then what I know now. While it is permissible for others to be weak or imperfect at times, I expect myself to be smarter, kinder, more fair, and courageous than what I displayed at that time.
• It can be hard to forgive ourselves if others refuse to put the past behind us. They continually remind us of how badly we hurt someone or of how selfish our behavior was. Still others try to impose guilt and shame for the poor choices we made. “Your gambling problem completely bankrupt us – we have nothing left for our retirement! This is all your fault!” One cannot move forward into reconciliation when trapped in past events. However, sometimes it is not the other party but ourselves who keep reliving the sins of our past.
• How often are we compared to others? “Your brother always been here for me since my diagnosis with MS. Now that I’m dying you come to visit me? Where were you all the years I needed help?” Typically comparisons are intended to hurt us, to point out flaws and so-called poor judgments. They keep us trapped in feelings of worthlessness and self-loathing. If one does not see themselves as valuable, how can they receive the gifts of mercy and compassion?
• There may also be a concern that if I forgive myself I am diminishing the serious nature of my offense. Am I in essence suggesting that the other party just suck it up, that it wasn’t as bad as they claim it to be, that they are not the only one who have ever been hurt in life? It can be misconstrued that I’m giving myself a free pass to repeat the same offense or another.
• It may be easier to forgive myself for the poor judgments or indiscretions that only impacted my own life. However, if my actions caused pain and suffering for another, how can I possibly excuse myself for involving someone who was completely without fault? They may have put the incident behind them but for me the remorse of unintended consequences imposed on one who was not deserving of such is a heavy burden to carry.
• Have I lowered my standards, abandoned my values, betrayed those who believed in me? Am I stuck in grief or remorse? Is the other party still suffering from my mistakes? Am I not worthy of forgiveness? If I irresponsibly caused a car accident due to driving while intoxicated causing an innocent passenger of the other vehicle to suffer traumatic brain injury they will never recover from, what right do I have to heal my anguish and resume my life of happiness and success? As long as they continue to suffer, is it not only fair that I do so as well? This should be my penance for the remainder of my life.

In each of these scenarios, we have a different set of criteria for forgiving others vs ourselves. Forgiveness is a universal gift afforded to each of us without stipulation. Jesus instructs us to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” As yourself: one cannot love and judge simultaneously. We are commanded to be as kind to ourselves as we are to others. After all, if God can forgives us who are we not to extend the same mercy to ourselves?
Keep in mind that our God is a forgiving God who did not create us to suffer. The same gifts He bestows on others He blesses you with as well. So be kind and compassionate with yourself. Learn the lessons, make amends, let go, and love again. Be at peace for that is what our loving Father has intended for each of us. And without self-forgiveness there can be no inner peace.

Jeremiah: I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you hope and a future.
Acts 3:19 Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out.

Please check out my very powerful 3 minute video on the healing power of forgiveness at www.FromGodWithLove.net.

Order The Secret Side of Anger, Second Edition or The Great Truth @ http://www.pfeifferpowerseminars.com/pps1-products.html
Listen to past shows on iHeart Radio @ http://ow.ly/OADTf
Listen to my newest iHeart Radio show, BETWEEN YOU AND GOD, @ http://ow.ly/OADJK
Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Google+