Forgiveness is an act of kindness that we may extend to ourselves or another. Yet it may be one of the hardest lessons we have to learn, especially when it comes to matters of the heart. It requires great strength, understanding, compassion and patience. It is a state of complete acceptance of ‘what is’ and transmutation of any previous judgments or fears.
But what does this mean? How do we truly forgive and let go? I believe the answer is in our judgments and in the act of forgiving ourselves.
In the dictionary, forgiveness is defined as “compassionate feelings that support a willingness to forgive, or excuse a mistake or offense. It means to cease to feel resentment towards or grant pardon for a particular act or person.” The two key emotions involved are compassion or resentment. Resentment is a natural byproduct of our judgments and when present there is no room for forgiveness. It is energy consuming, toxic and blocks us from moving forward. It suffocates any forgiveness and locks people in the past.
Compassion is the opposite emotion to resentment. It is a higher energy emotion which is kind, gentle and always patient. Compassion understands that we are all one and knows that we are all here to learn and grow the best way we know how… through experience. It honours mistakes as a natural part of our lives and sees them as needed for any real growth.
Compassion remembers that there are always two sides to every story and what we perceive to be true may not be true in the eyes of another. It understands that everything that we attract into our lives serves a purpose. What it also knows is that we are not intended to be punished or wronged in any way, just that we’re here to learn and grow each and everyday.
But how does one bridge the gap between resentments and true forgiveness? I believe the answer is in our judgments. We need to learn to let go of our judgments by forgiving ourselves. Many would disagree with this statement and argue that by suggesting we need to forgive ourselves is somehow implying we are fundamentally flawed. This is not the case. In truth, an experience is neither ‘good’ nor ‘bad’; and as such, does not require a judgment. It’s our mind that seeks to place judgments upon experiences so that it may be able to understand, measure, and assimilate the information it is taking in. However, without the mind’s judgments, forgiveness is never required.
Try and visualize it like this: It’s kind of like we are all silk nets flowing in the wind and life is meant to flow through us. Every time we hold a judgment towards something, we catch that experience within our net. Over time, if we continue to do this, our net becomes clogged and heavy. The material no longer flows freely and it becomes more difficult to see through its mesh. The net becomes toxic, heavy and depleted just like us humans can become. In order to free these trapped elements, we only have to forgive ourselves for holding a judgment towards the experience to begin with. Then, that which has been stuck is freed to flow through us as it was naturally intended.
Staying in the present moment also helps to transform resentments into forgiveness. It’s a ‘state of allowing’ which simply means allowing life to move through us. This is our natural and intended way of being. It is a state of total aliveness and acceptance of ourselves and our lives. As soon as we move out of the present, we move into judgment—judgment about the past or the future. The past is meant to be a place of reflection of lessons learned and the future is our untapped possibilities of what’s to come. But the mind gets in the way! Through judgments, we hold onto experiences instead of allowing them to move through us and this takes us out of the present moment. We hold the judgment within our hearts, our minds and our bodies. This makes us tired, depleted and toxic just like our silk nets. The end result is harbored resentments.
So what have I learned that forgiveness really means? I believe it is transcendence of any judgment through forgiveness for oneself. We are all here to learn forgiveness. To do so, there has to be something within our lives to forgive and this is not always easy. To truly forgive another, we have to forgive ourselves. But forgiveness is not about freeing us from being judged, it’s about freeing the judgment from us so that we can be free!
Angela Strank is a Life and Abundance Coach, Intuitive Consultant and Practitioner.