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Pay It For(give)Ward!

“Forgiveness is the most powerful thing that you can do
for your physiology and your spirituality,
and it remains one of the least attractive things to us,
largely because our egos rule so unequivocally.
To forgive is somehow associated with saying that it is all right,
that we accept the evil deed.
But this is not forgiveness.
Forgiveness means that you fill yourself with love and you radiate that love outward
and refuse to hang onto the venom or hatred that was engendered
by the behaviors that caused the wounds.
Forgiveness is a spiritual act of love for yourself
and it sends a message to everyone, including yourself,
that you are an object of love and that that is what you are going to impart.”
Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
Today I had sort of an aha! moment when I realized that after I learned to forgive others, I could then extend the same courtesy to myself . . . and forgive myself. As I thought about it, it felt kind of inside out, actually–but that’s generally been my path: living from the outside:in for a good part of my existence.
Knowing that pattern of mine, I can actually be grateful for the pains I’ve experienced, because they taught me how to forgive others and release my resentment, which in turn taught my forgiveness and acceptance of ME–for all my imperfections, for not knowing the right thing to do or say, for not being good enough, for hurting people I love. I was always doing the best I could with the skills I had at the moment; I just didn’t realize it at the time.
So today I’ll write a bit @ forgiveness. 
TOP SECRET: It’s not about the person you’re forgiving; it’s about you and your own freedom. And, just so you know, that doesn’t make right the crappy stuff that people have done. Pain is part of life, and so is forgiveness, release, and acceptance. And, thankfully, so is JOY! What I am saying, is it’s our choice what we do with our pain.
Holding onto resentment is like 
holding your breath 
– only you suffocate. 
~Deepak Chopra
And often it takes time before we are ready and willing to let go of resentment and actually forgive others. And, (I’ve learned this the hard way)–just because we’re sorry, doesn’t mean someone else wants to necessarily forgive us –in which case, the work is for us to forgive ourselves.
I know people who have been in pain, drama, and in victim mode FOREVER! I used to be there, too! And finally, I got sick of it . . . sick of feeling terrible, tired of my same old victim story, and I eventually had to choose to shift or die a slow spiritual death.
At one point in my life, I began to run–a lot (which begs the question: What was I running from?). I ran . . . and ran . . . and ran. I was burdened, stressed out, burned out, sad, and exhausted & one morning, as I turned onto my running course, I found a 15 pound rock (actually, it found me). Something nudged me to pick it up . . . and guess what? I ran 3 miles carrying that 15 lb. rock! When I was  done, I put down the rock, and I felt so very light!
That’s what forgiveness does.
It frees us.
It makes us lighter.
It means we quit judging others
and making them “wrong” so our egos can be “right,” “superior,”
and 
ALL
THAT!
(and it takes the pressure off . . .)
It’s easier to stay stuck in being mad, right, resentful, offended, or disgusted by someone else’s behavior–which conveniently takes the focus off of ourselves, right? And – - it’s only suffocating to the person who chooses to hold his or her breath, in Chopra’s words.
Can you forgive yourself or someone else today?
Let me know in the comments!
Much LoVe!
Dana

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Dana Lynne Curry, Ph.D., has been teaching middle school English (with no low bun) for over 23 years. She is a gReaT-fuL Writer, Storyteller, Teacher, Student, Irreverent GoofBall, Blogger, Servant, Philosopher, Spiritual Collagist (is that a word?), Mama, LoVer of LiFe!, Amazing Friend, and one cOOL pUsSy caT!! Find Dana at funfreeME  on Facebook and on Twitter @funfreeMe1.

  • Light

    My greatest challenge is continually forgiving someone I HAVE to depend on due to my disability. One day I remembered about Jesus forgiving 70 x 7. I thought: What if that’s a human challenge I willingly took on? What if I agreed in advance to navigate the treacherous waters of blame? What if the prize is discovering how to repeatedly look past another’s habit of not being there for me? What if this is a (seemingly unending) test of my maturity and not simply a selfish other? Daily I am searching for that perfect attitude beyond resentment, victimization, and righteousness. In each situation, I know there MUST be a way to see this differently. It feels like walking uphill on stilts, but I am committed to this path.

    PS: Normally I hate lists of questions but apparently I created this one for myself.

    • MeredithShay

      When you wrote, “I HAVE to” in capitals it jumped out at me. Then it made me think of a blog that Christine Hassler (on here) wrote a while ago about the whole idea of “having” to do something. Try substituting the words, ‘I choose to” and see how it works. It kind of blew my mind! Sometimes I catch myself saying, “I have to….” and get agitated afterwards. But then I remember that all things, even the most difficult, come down to a choice. We always have a choice.

      With love,
      Meredith

      • Light

        You are right, Meredith. I CHOOSE to. Thank you for this illumination.

    • danalynnecurry

      I truly believe we have sacred contracts with every being and every circumstance in our lives . . . and this contract continues until the Universe sends us a message that the lesson or truth has come into our consciousness. I know for me, there has been a pattern of my expecting people to show up for me in ways that they could not have possibly shown up, and that pattern repeated for years with people first, as I expected them to read my mind about what I needed (didn’t work), then as I learned to ask for what I need (didn’t work), THEN as I expected them to automatically say yes to what I needed (didn’t work + resentment ensued!), THEN as I came to understand that it was their choice to say yes OR no, THEN to finally gage their capacities and willingness to try to meet some of my needs (getting more respectful), and then FINALLY—to meet my own needs first and walk away from relationships where our individual needs and capacities aren’t a good match.
      I have definitely not arrived, but it feels much more free and loving of the contract!
      I love how you are deeming this contract as an opportunity for your own growth. Good luck and breathe!
      Blessings,
      Dana

  • Rose

    It’s been three years since my girlfriend told me she wanted to end our relationship in order to checkout sexual feelings she had for her best friend. At that time we were five years into our relationship and quite a bit of unresolved stuff had been “swept under the rug.” We reunited (the interlude lasted 6 months), and with the help of a very skill thearpist we did a lot work looking in depth at ourselves and how we had been showing up in the relationship. I’ve come to understand my part and make a true amends and grow as a result of it all.. Currently, eight years into our relationship my difficultly continues to be that my girlfriend has since resumed her friendship with her best friend…I know her priority is me but I find myself feeling vengful at not getting what I want- which has been all along for her dump the best friend. Have I really forgiven?? I have made my truth clear – I don’t like their friendship and I’m not going to ever like it! Am I lacking in acceptance??? Is there something else going on inside me that I’m unwilling to address such as ego and pride issues. What am I afraid of – that it could happen again?? All this has got a hold on me and I am not free. Thanks for letting me have a space to talk.

    • danalynnecurry

      Hi Rose–

      That sounds really tough, for sure. I can’t imagine being in your shoes, but you and your girlfriend must have a contract that is not yet finished.

      I know that resistance only makes things more powerful–maybe continuing to accept, honor, and respect your girlfriend’s right to choose her relationships (which you would also want from your girlfriend?) and digging deep to see what feels scary to you– working on your end to grow might be the way to go.

      Your freedom may be in your acceptance of what is, and breathing through it may be your freedom.

      So much love,
      Dana

  • Karen

    This is one of the most powerful, enlightening and empowering articles I have read in some time. Thankfully I began my forgiveness journey some years ago (however refresher courses are always welcome as I am a work in progress :-] ), but I know of people I truly care about who have great difficulty in forgiving. Your explanation of the importance of forgiveness is so clear and compassionately written I am hopeful that by sharing it, healing may also begin for those that I love. I thank you.

    • danalynnecurry

      Karen,
      thank you so much for the lovely feedback. Forgiveness is for sure a journey, and in my life, being a victim of “others” used to be a way for me to keep myself from my own accountability. Once I learned to take my own power back, I came to realize that even the most horrible things “others” have done to me may just be:
      -my own interpretation of their act (mine)
      -a projection of their reality onto me (theirs)
      Either way it’s all okay–I can look at it as learning. As Mastin says, “Everything happens FOR us, not TO us” . . . unless we choose to see it in that manner.
      Lots of love,
      Dana

  • Munza

    This is one of the amazing articles. I read alot about forgiveness and have forgiven many people in my life for mistreating me. But sometimes you know, your life is completely destroyed or ruined by someone, the person has spoiled your past, messed up your present and has done something with you, after effects of which you are going to bear in future as well. there is no light and peace left in your life just because of him.how can you forget such person? After trying hard its really been difficult to forgive someone like this. Can you please help me out in this regard!

  • Brianna

    This is an uplifting and fantastic article; thank you for posting it. That said, I have something that occurred earlier in my life (sexual abuse for years from a family member, complete with guilt trips and threats of violence if revealed). I’ve truly dealt with it, know it’s not my fault, and have disowned that family member…but I haven’t forgiven them. I don’t think I ever will be able to. I don’t hold resentment in my heart – I’m usually more saddened than anything when I think on it, but I’ll never be able to accept them into my life again. Do you believe one can accept but not forgive something that heinous without it eventually turning sour?

  • http://www.pinchmeliving.com/ Bernadette @ PinchMeLiving.com

    Great post. Love this… “TOP SECRET: It’s not about the person you’re forgiving; it’s about you and your own freedom. And” Brilliant. Blessings!!
    Bernadette x