Do You Even Forgive?

I look back on my life and I have to think where forgiveness has played a part.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve had to routinely reach out to people in my current and former lives to tell them: “Hey, you remember such and such incident? I’m really sorry for how I behaved.”

It’s a liberating thing to do but that doesn’t make it comfortable.

I found, early on, that grudges never served me so I don’t hold them.

People are who they are, which is often imperfect, so we choose how and when to forgive those imperfections.

It was a difficult but necessary act to forgive the person who abused me.

It has been difficult but necessary to forgive anyone who I felt wronged me or slighted me.

And, of course, I’ve had to learn how to forgive myself for everything I’ve done to slight others and how I’ve been unkind to myself.

Maybe it’s this last part that I want to expand on for this week.

In trying to coach others for self-improvement, there can be two forces at work:

-The burden you carry by holding grudges against others and not forgiving them and moving on. This can manifest in how you treat others and how you treat yourself.

-Not forgiving yourself for your own mistakes.

If you want self-improvement to work (and to last) you may be working through those areas of your life.

Get better at saying “I’m sorry” to yourself and to others.

Ask yourself if your inability to practice forgiveness is helping you or hurting you.

Take inventory of people in your past or your present that you may owe apologies to. Make that contact and apologize for how you may have contributed to the situation.

Recognize that the act of forgiveness never ends. It is constantly evolving, as you are, which means: the work is never done but it will almost always be worth it.