As we go through life we cannot help but feel negative emotions from some interactions. Whether the upset is at a rude store clerk or someone who's caused us deep anguish, we often take the feeling in and hold onto it. Usually, we are not conscious of the damaging impact this has on our lives. By holding onto resentment, anger, jealousy, wounds of rejection, and other negative emotions we allow every new interaction to be influenced and shaped by them.
If you've had an unfaithful partner, and you are holding on to that pain when you meet another, the very thing you want to escape will color your behavior and bring suspicion into your new relationship.
If you've had a falling out with a family member and you are determined to have a better relationship, but you're still sore about the past, you will unconsciously infuse the new moments with the wounds of the past.
If you are determined to start anew and become the greatest expression of you, but you're not going to let anyone take advantage of you like they did before, you are a magnet for people who'd like to take advantage.
Retained negative emotions act as a smoky haze clouding our perceptions, feelings, creativity and motivations. When more negative experiences happen, and they will, the weight of the negativity grows. Lugging it all around is debilitating and can harm all aspects of life. In extreme situations, bitterness and cynicism become prevalent and then isolation because no one wants to be around someone like that.
Forgiveness improves our health, our relationships and our moment to moment well being. By letting go of the heaviness of negative thoughts and grudges we free up space for new experiences of love, inspiration, success, connectedness, health and power.
The bottom line: It is not about the other person or thing. Forgiving benefits the forgiver.
I make a conscious effort to let go of ALL negative feelings I have about ALL people in my life, past and present, 2-3 times a week. I do the best I can, sometimes I can't completely let go with one attempt, but I can over time. Join me.
Forgiveness is the release of the persistent negative thoughts and feelings that we have about ourselves, others and events.
Forgiveness is not the acceptance of continued bad behavior. You are responsible for your care and safety, emotional and physical. When someone harms you, they have shown you who they are. Believe them. Thinking that they are someone apart from their behavior is your poor behavior. You are abused by another only once, regardless of how many times the bad thing actually occurs. The first time it is their fault, the remaining times are yours for continuing to subject yourself to that person/situation. Granted, their are exceptions (stalkers, random/unavoidable encounters, etc.) and sometimes people do change, but if the "change" is spurred by being caught (ie. Michael Vick, Tiger Woods), buyer beware.
How I forgive (There may be a way that works better for you - please share):
I am cerebral by nature and I gain a tremendous amount of power when my brain believes in what I am doing (faith is my growing edge). So I begin with the understanding that by holding on to unforgiveness, I am harming myself. That always gets my attention.
Second, I acknowledge that I cannot take the actions of others personally. I know that I am not the real cause of their behavior, anyone who triggered their fear or upset the way I had would receive the same treatment.
Third, I reflect on the truth I've chosen to live my life by: Love is the most powerful force in existence and I am one with it. I cannot hold on to unforgiveness and uphold my commitment to love too.
A final note. Often the one we must forgive is our self. Do that first and frequently.
Your life is waiting.