In my last blog, I talked about forgiveness of self and briefly about forgiveness of others. I didn’t spend a lot of time talking about forgiveness of others because, in most cases, the issue is really ours. Those feelings of betrayal, heartbreak and anger are really about us, not them. So what if I told you that forgiveness of others is unnecessary? What if I said the biggest problem is how YOU perceived the situation? I will share with you how changing your perception can eliminate the need for forgiveness of others. *Please note this information is only pertinent to non-violent and non-criminal activities and/or situations.
Our pain, heartbreak and disappointment comes from our expectations not being fulfilled. No person, thing or event has to turn out the way we expect it to. So why do we blame others for our desires not being met? We are the only ones responsible for our happiness, but yet we place that duty on our loved ones and other outside circumstances. We our disappointed when others do not behave in a way that we deem appropriate and then judge them or their behavior as bad. These are the people and situations that wind up on your forgiveness list. So I challenge you to pick a situation in which you feel someone did you wrong, look at it from a different perspective and honestly see where your expectations, desires and needs obscured your judgment and resulted in unnecessary turmoil.
Here’s a real life example of how changing your perception on a “that’s not the way I planned it” situation and forgiveness works. As you may know, I am a massage therapist. I was self-employed and recently decided to expand my practice and hire an employee. I hired a friend, Tina, who was still in massage therapy school. For reasons still unknown to me, Tina’s work performance quickly began to deteriorate and I was left with no other choice but to fire her. I was PISSED off and complained a lot about Tina’s disrespectful behavior and how unappreciated and used I felt. To say that I was angry and hurt was an understatement. However, knowing what I know about forgiveness and gratitude (I practice what I preach) I finally calmed down and realized that I was the one with the problem. I began looking at the situation from a non-blaming, non-self righteous angle. That’s when I realized that I had unmet expectations of Tina and her job performance. It was MY unfulfilled expectation that resulted in MY anger, frustration and disappointment. I wanted Tina behave in a certain way and when she didn’t, I reacted from the hurt feelings. Realistically when someone is hired for a job there is an expectation of performance and professional behavior BUT the problem, in this case and what we tend to do in life, is that I internalize her behaviors. I made Tina’s behavior all about me when I complained of feeling used and under appreciated. I played the victim and adopted the “how dare she do this to ME” attitude. We cannot assume that Tina’s actions were ever about anything or anyone except herself. Playing the victim only takes away my personal power and gives it to the other person or the situation. If we are the only ones responsible for our happiness, then why do we make other people responsible for our misery? So here’s where the forgiveness comes into play. I realized that my expectations were not met and that’s why I was angry. I forgave myself for over-reacting and concluded that maybe Tina was struggling with something that wasn’t my concern. I sent her loving thoughts and showered myself with gratitude for the lessons, emotional growth and the new opportunities that awaits me. Notice how now there is no need to forgive Tina, at least not in the traditional way. There’s nothing to forgive because her actions were not of any wrongdoing to me. Everything was my reaction to and judgment of her actions that caused the problem. Once I took ownership of my feelings, I felt peaceful again.
In addition to projecting our feelings onto others, judgment and labeling circumstances as right or wrong and good or bad is also part of the problem. The situation is what it is, but our judgment of how it SHOULD be is what causes hurt feelings, anger, resentment and/or hatred. In this story, as long as I labeled Tina’s actions as wrong and bad, I was miserable. Once the label was dissolved, I was able to move on and find my inner peace again. That feeling of inner peace, regardless of the outside circumstances, is so important to our well-being. Why do we hold on to the past? It happened and it cannot be changed. Our perception can be changed and our feelings about the events can be changed though. Don’t you want to be happy NOW? Let go of the old baggage holding you down, even if it just happened yesterday, work through the feelings, tilt your head to get a new perspective, forgive, breathe in gratitude and love and step forward into a happier life!
Here’s the forgiveness technique I shared with you last month:
The RELEASE – This technique is best done in a relaxing pose and with no outside distractions. Once you have mastered it, the technique can be done in a matter of seconds and even while you are with others. It will just look like you are taking a deep breath or taking a moment to gather your thoughts.
Put your attention on your heart and imagine a door leading to a cozy room. You open the door, enter the room, then comfortably position yourself on the floor in front of the deity of your choice, your higher self or even a healing fountain. Ask to know what forgiveness feels like. Once you notice the shift in sensation, visualize that the harmful thought that you entered with is just melting off of you and is instantly healed. Realize that you did the best you could at that time. You made a decision or performed an action and now it is done. It cannot be undone, so stressing about it is pointless. As this situation is washed away, you are showered with forgiveness, gratitude and love. Be thankful for the experience and the personal growth. Send yourself love. Feel your deity, higher self or healing fountain send you love. Now REPLACE those harmful thoughts with its opposite loving thought, using one or more healthy I AM statements and affirmations. Stay in the your healing heart space as long as you want or need to. When you are ready, give thanks and leave knowing that you can return as often as you like.
I recently discovered a modification to this technique that works really well: the heart space is a shower and the unnecessary thoughts are being washed away by a shower of forgiveness, gratitude and love. I encourage you to find the visualization that works best for you and your healing journey. Share it with me if you choose. Until next time, peace and love!