“Forgiveness will unleash a power in your life that is underrated and often ignored.” – Allen R. Hunt – Everybody Needs to Forgive Somebody
With forgiveness comes growth and grace for yourself and others. When we forgive others we are removing negativity from our hearts and minds.
I’ve truly never been one to hold grudges, anger, or bitterness in my heart towards anything or anyone. My motto since High School was “no regrets”. That meant that I gave myself permission to make mistakes, to love, and to live. When we truly live our lives we risk getting hurt and I can tell you that there have been many instances in where I’ve found myself having to forgive.
Unforgiveness and grudge hurt us more than it hurts the person that actually did the hurting, betraying, breaking of trust, and caused us intense emotional pain. Often times you’ll see that as my friend Nesa reminded me this week “hurt people…hurt people”.
I’ll share a little story with you. In 1994, what should have been perhaps my first great accomplishment as I was graduating from high school, turned into possibly one of the worst days I had experience in 17 years. This experience took place because a hurt person decided to hurt others. I’ll spare you the details but I’ll share enough to give you some overall context.
The incident ended in my first and last physical fight (other than being a young girl fighting with her brother and cousin). I reacted to someone’s disrespectful behavior towards me and a loved one. At 17, I didn’t really think about the consequences, I just reacted to the hurt. Up to this day, I have very faded memories of what took place immediately after the incident. But I can tell you that within just a few weeks or months that day turned into what I viewed then… as the biggest betrayal by a loved one.
After that betrayal, I didn’t speak to my loved one for a little while but due to the nature of the relationship, I was not able to keep that ugliness and grudge in my heart. But the bitterness and hatred that I felt for that other person were greater than any negative feelings I had ever felt. And if I have to be quite honest, those are still the worst feelings I’ve ever held in my heart towards anyone in my 44 years. I held those feelings for quite some time and truth be told, I can’t remember how long because I’ve erased much of that experience and those feelings from my heart and my mind. But in order to bring closure to this story, I have to share with you what led to the forgiveness.
This is the first time that I am sharing this story. I think I’ve maybe shared it once or twice in the past with a close friend. Prior to forgiveness, I had nightmares often where I pictured a different ending to that physical fight. In many of those nightmares, I was able to get my revenge. One night, I had this horrible nightmare worst than any other.
**Warning..as this may be a trigger for some of you who may have faced physical abuse or violence. If so, then you may not want to continue reading.**
Anyhow, in this nightmare, I was fighting with this person and I literally chopped their head off and grabbed the head by the hair, turned on the gas stove, and threw the head on top of my gas stove. As you can imagine that was a horrible nightmare to wake up from. I may not remember a lot or how long I held those feelings in my heart but I do remember that vivid dream. I woke up a wreck because that wasn’t me. That wasn’t an action that I would ever take or ever desire to take. That nightmare scared me. It scared me because I didn’t understand how my mind could go there. And that was the day that I decided to forgive.
That was the day that I realized that those feelings were only hurting me. This person had moved on with their lives and so had my loved one. Yet, I was holding this hatred and grudge in my heart. That was the day that I realized that bitterness and anger were holding me back from greatness. On that very same day, I got on my knees and prayed. I got on my knees and prayed for all those feelings to go away. And I realized that in addition to praying I needed to forgive for the feelings to actually go away. I had to say it out loud in order to relieve myself from what I was feeling.
I have to admit that as I write this to you today, I have tears coming down my face. I cry because in writing this I realize the power that came with overcoming that hatred and being able to forgive. I don’t cry because it still hurts, because it doesn’t, I cry because the hurt was significant, and it was a significant moment in my life.
Sometimes life gives us those significant moments in order for us to be stronger and to grow. And unfortunately, sometimes those moments come with suffering and pain. But until we forgive, until we forgive ourselves, until we forgive whoever hurt us…we are not able to move forward and grow.
It takes a lot to forgive others and to forgive ourselves when we are the ones to put ourselves in hurtful situations. But that’s where we need to look up to our creator, look up to God and ask for strength. In practicing forgiveness we strengthen our mental muscles so that the next time we face something that hurts us we are able to utilize our mental muscles to help us move through that pain. We are able to activate the Sage part of our brain where positive emotions live (peace and calm, clear-headed focus, creativity, and big picture) to bring in the gift that situation has presented us. Because every situation, every heartache comes with a gift and we can access those gifts if we train ourselves to do so. Your Sage will help you access the gift of knowledge, power, and inspiration.
Once we choose to see the gift, that gift will help us continue to move forward with forgiveness. In my story, I chose the gifts of knowledge and power. I remember learning whom to trust and allow in my life from that experience, and I also learned that I have the power to overcome my feelings and shift my thoughts.
So, I ask you again, whom do you need to forgive today?
With love and gratitude,
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