Forgiveness is a beautiful gift I choose to give myself.
It’s interesting that this is the card that came to the top as we move into Easter, in particular Good Friday. Jesus showed us the example of forgiving others, even in the midst of our own pain. And if I just take that one act out of the whole Easter Story, as a lesson in and of itself, and apply it to my own life, I find strength within it. Let me explain.
Have you ever noticed that it is easier to forgive those who have wronged you than it is to forgive yourself? Have you ever noticed that the regard you hold yourself in is often vastly different than the standard you hold yourself to? Have you ever stopped to wonder why that is?
Now, I am going to generalize here, because each of us carry pain, hurt, trauma, loss – yes the situations, events, circumstances and triggers will be different for each of us, but the root emotions as a result are common among us. The true healing and acceptance of what is can really only happen through forgiveness…of others but most importantly of ourselves. It truly is a gift we give ourselves. The alternative is to choose to stay in suffering. And that prison just doesn’t work for me.
Listen, when we were children, do you remember being told to apologize to someone for hurting them or doing something bad or wrong? And did the adult telling you to forgive that person ever encourage you to forgive yourself for making the decision to hurt or wrong them? My guess is likely not. We are taught from a young age to forgive others, to apologize to others…but where and when were we ever taught how to forgive ourselves? Bold statement: Forgiveness is NEVER a one way street. It is ALWAYS an intersection. And if we don’t offer forgiveness to each direction, we leave debris behind only to leave hazards for future collisions!
The R.A.G.S process is a formula I use to journal or letter write my way through the muck of life. It’s a forgiveness process that works for me every time. I call it a process because sometimes it doesn’t happen in one sitting. I know I have gotten all the way to resolve, when I FEEL the forgiveness. Yes, forgiveness is a feeling – and that is why it is such a powerful gift. So, should you feel inspired to enact your inner street sweeper this week, get out a pen and paper and let it flow:
R – Recognize the players, situation, and the story in detail. Stick to the facts, not the drama.
A – Acknowledge the responsibilities within the relationship and/or situation. What was your role? What was their role?
G – search for the Gratitude for the lessons learned through this experience. What did you learn about life, love, relationships and health? Why are you thankful that this happened? Remember, there is always something to be thankful for.
S – Surrender. Finish by writing “I release you. I release me.”
And then, I like to burn my letters, or journal entries. There is no sense keeping around the muck. So I let it go, literally.
This is a gift we have to work for, but it is totally worth the effort. This week, this Easter, my wish for you is that you feel the gift of forgiveness of others as they bestow it upon you, that you feel the gift of forgiveness as you offer it to others, but mostly, I wish for you to experience the blessing and the gift of self-forgiveness. You deserve all things beautiful. And this is one of the most beautiful gifts there is.