“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” ~ Lewis B. Smedes
Forgiving others is often what we think about when we talk about forgiveness because we have all been hurt by someone else, and we know how painful it is to hold on to anger and resentment when we feel wronged.
It’s easy to blame everyone around us, especially when there has been an overt act or situation that warrants the healing of our wounded hearts. We know that harboring ill-will towards others only causes our own anguish and suffering. It isn’t until we forgive another person for what they have done intentionally or unintentionally, that we can truly move on and heal.
But, how often do we forgive ourselves? Forgive ourselves for the mistakes we have made in the past? Forgive ourselves for our wrong choices? Bad judgment? Failures? Or naiveté?
I think we all know forgiveness is the answer to holding unyielding compassion, empathy and kindness. It’s a gift that we give ourselves so that we are released from the pain within.
Whether it is love, familial or friendship relationships, we know that forgiveness is the key to setting us free. Forgiveness takes time for sure; it doesn’t mean that we have to forgive immediately. To truly forgive authentically, we have to give ourselves time to go through different emotions until we are at a healthy, loving place; then only, can we genuinely be in a state of true forgiveness.
I know I have had to forgive many people in my life over the years, as I’m sure you have. We all have a family member, a friend, a boyfriend or girlfriend, spouse or whomever that we’ve had to forgive so that we can move on to form healthier relationships.
I realize time and time again, that even when I have forgiven others, especially the ones I love the most, I have to remember to forgive myself too.
I have been so aware these days of the law of attraction and how our mind works. We attract what we focus on, and we really do manifest the world we currently live in from our past thoughts. We are co-creators of our universe.
Our minds are very powerful. For example, consciously, we may want continued employment or to be in a loving relationship; but, subconsciously we wish we could quit that job or we doubt we will ever be in that truly loving relationship, so we ultimately end up manifesting that in our lives, whether we like it or not.
I realized this exact thing when I lost my teaching job in 2017 because somewhere deep down, I wanted to stop teaching.
The year I moved to California, I was teaching at a great high school and I loved it, but I was exhausted that year, mentally and physically. I needed a special certificate that pertained to California teachers called the CLAD certificate, so that I could teach English Language Learners. We didn’t have this same certificate in Illinois, so it was an additional requirement I had to obtain.
When I was hired, it was a whirlwind of a time, and I signed papers left and right only 2 days after I moved into my new apartment, and I was set to start work just a few short days after. I was told during that time, I had to complete my CLAD certification that year. After that day, I was never told by HR or anyone ever again as a reminder to do it. And I also had forgotten about it.
I remember in February of that year thinking I had to get it done, but I thought I would be able to take the exams in the summer and complete it before the following school year. And then it slipped my mind because I had a million other things I was working on at school.
The end of May rolled around and I received a notification about whether my CLAD certification was completed. I still was under the impression that I could take the exams in June.
Well, that wasn’t the case. Human Resources said it was too late and as a technicality factor, they had to let me go at the end of the school year. I felt blind sighted and shocked, so I fought an arduous fight all the way to the top. But, I ultimately lost the battle.
How could this be? How could they let me go on a technicality? I had rave reviews and no reason for them to not hire me back, but the district was a stickler on formality and rules.
That was a very dark time in my life. I lost my job and it was all my fault. I dropped the ball. I should have known better. I’m an OCD perfectionist! How could I have let this happen?
Everyone around me thought I was the victim of an incredible amount of injustice and unfairness. And at the time I thought that too.
I was filled with anger and resentment against the district for what happened, but there was anger against myself as well. I became a prisoner of my own guilt and punished myself daily with blame.
Over time, and months of self-reflection, journaling my rage, and getting out all my anger, I realized that I lost my teaching job because somewhere deep down inside of me, I wanted to stop teaching. I believe deep down I manifested that situation.
I felt guilt and shame for that realization and for my mistakes. I had to find inner peace with myself. I forgave the district for what happened, but I had to forgive myself for subconsciously wanting this.
I had to set myself free; and gift myself peace and compassion.
Along the way, we must forgive others, of course, but we must never forget to forgive ourselves. If we don’t, we are holding ourselves back from inner peace, love and compassion. We hold ourselves back from our truth.
Forgiving yourself is the greatest act of self-love, self-care and kindness you can give your heart and soul. Forgiving is never easy, but it is the most healing and compassionate act on the planet.
I encourage you to take some time to honor yourself this week. See if there is anything you need to forgive yourself for from any point in your life.
I also highly recommend a forgiveness meditation or prayer on your path to forgiveness. I personally love the Ho’Oponopono Forgiveness Meditation. But there are many different ones on Youtube that you can find. Pick one that resonates with you.
And don't forget to always be kind to yourself. Nurture yourself. Love yourself. And forgive yourself.
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