National Forgiveness Day began in 1994 and is observed on the last Saturday of every October. There is also a Global Forgiveness Day held in the month of June each year. But what does it really mean to forgive?

Freedom and Love…

I saw a great poster. The text on it read: “Forgiveness is another word for Freedom”.

I asked a young woman who is known to forgive easily what it’s like to forgive and she said “it’s easier to forgive than to not forgive, because not forgiving feels like someone has put a huge heavy chain around you against your will which is pushing your hate and anger down… Forgiving feels like you take control back and break the chain and then you can breathe again…” It is true that people report feelings of peace, calm, new hope, happiness and many other good things after they have forgiven.

I saw a quote from Mother Theresa. She had simply said, “if we really want to love, we must first learn how to forgive”.

Forgiving does not mean that we have to forget or that we should totally trust that people will not hurt us again. But we do need to “let go” and move forward and forgiveness is a big part of letting go.

Awareness and Understanding…

I always say that “awareness is the key to all things”. In the forgiving process we need to understand. We need to understand why we were hurt, abused, betrayed or whatever it was that we are trying to forgive. This understanding is a vital part of the process. We can’t forgive just because we think we should. When we finally choose to stop for a moment, to stop the hating and to instead sit down and breathe, we can and will find the answers as to “why”. Then we can understand.

I asked another man how he could forgive. He said that “after I understand, then I remember that we are all human and that humans are flawed…” and that this thought helps him to forgive. I would say that the world is made up of hurt, wounded and damaged people and that this is a big part of why people can act so badly towards each other. They act the way they do out of pain, fear, anger, a lack of love… There are so many different reasons and triggers in us all…

We each have the awareness and the capability of going through the process of understanding. We can understand even the most terrible of things… Understanding and getting answers does not make everything completely “ok”, but it does help us to be able to free ourselves and move forward.

Please trust that you CAN understand, you CAN forgive and you CAN let go and that this is good for YOU… Even when it seems hard and you don’t want to… It is good for YOU that you forgive. Forgiving is you taking your life back and being able to have and really live a new day.

Karma, Punishment and Help…

Often people ask “Well when is that person going to be punished? That person so badly hurt and wounded another or many…” Some people who believe in God will say that God will punish, others leave it to Karma… I say that often people who have hurt and wounded others are suffering themselves in so many ways that may not be known to us. Pain is already happening to them. Like us, the only way they are going to get and stay well is to also deal with their “stuff” and “issues”. So in many ways we are all in the same place. To be happy and healed is to free ourselves from our chains, hurts and wounds, whether they be real or imagined.

I watched a great documentary recently. It was called “Survivors Guide to Prison”. It was very interesting and showed that in many ways, our own justice system does not work. Rehabilitation needs to be offered across the board. Any one of us can end up in not good situations. Meanwhile, a goal for us all is to be well, happy and let go…

For help, perspective, workshops and private sessions on the art and process of forgiveness and for help in getting the answers you need in order to let go, contact me now!