Guest Author - Cara Newman
One cannot fully comprehend the meaning of love until we truly understand the word “forgiveness”. Even though the practice of forgiveness can be greatly challenging, it is a discipline in life that we need to embrace in order to fully experience love.
The following quote by Robert Muller lovely sums up the relationship between forgiveness and love “To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness.” How true! Holding on to resentment is the opposite of forgiveness. When we furiously hold on to our resentment, we inevitably push all the peace and happiness out of our lives.
Loving someone or ourselves when everything is going well is simple and beautiful. However, loving the same person when we feel angry, violated or let down takes great discipline and inner strength.
Forgiveness calls for compassion. It is the compassion we have towards others’ mistakes as we choose to view the pain they have caused us differently, and to practice the power of letting go. Forgiveness also calls for compassion for ourselves when our thoughts or behaviors are less than perfect, understanding that we, too, are human. Forgiveness is the conscious decision to let go, and also choose to remain loving even when our expectations fall short, and our hearts ache sadly.
All of us have circumstances in our lives that call for forgiveness. In order to fully experience peace, love and happiness that life abundantly offers, we must actively choose to forgive and to love. Tonight, sit down and start writing down a list of people whose actions call for your forgiveness. It is totally ok if your list is longer than you want to admit! We are all here to heal. Before you panic, no, I am not asking you to forgive all these people instantly. Even though that would have been wonderful, it is unrealistic and Pollyannaish. The purpose of this list is to allow us to be aware of the “baggage” that we have been carrying with us all along. No wonder our heart feels so heavy!
Starting today, take one person on the list at a time, and work down the list. Make active decisions and evaluate the cost of holding onto resentment towards this person, and hopefully your decision is to let go of the hurt. You might not need to or want to contact any of these people. It is perfectly fine, and perhaps sometimes it’s the most appropriate thing to do given the circumstances. However, the most important action this exercise calls for is to truly let go in our hearts. Choose to let go of the pain and hurt! When we do, our hearts free up, feeling much lighter as we become ready for more joy and wonders that life brings.
Remember to celebrate our strength and inner growth! Practicing forgiveness is a lot more beneficial for ourselves than for the person who acted hurtfully. If we take small steps everyday and embrace the discipline of forgiveness in our life, we will be amazed with how much lighter, happier and loving our lives become as forgiveness is truly a blessing to the heart.