Forgiveness can be very difficult. But if it were easy, then we wouldn’t really need it, would we? It’s forgiving the things that are unforgivable that makes it worthwhile. Here are the five people (sort of) who you need to forgive right away. It’s not going to be easy, but it never is.
#1. The person who wronged you.
Whether this person cut you off in traffic or they traumatized you in some way, forgive. It may be easier to let go of the small stuff, and that’s great. Start there. Practice forgiving the person who cut you off. Practice forgiving the person who screwed up your schedule. Forgive the person who spilled your coffee. Once you can develop the feeling of forgiveness, begin to turn it toward the people who wronged you in more major ways. Don’t do it for them. Do it for you.
#2. Your parents.
It was your parents’ job to screw you up! In our early years, we are like little sponges, soaking up the world around us which is made up primarily of our parents, or guardians (or their absence). Whether you had a traumatic childhood or a great one, you got some level of damage from your upbringing. That is great. Grist for the mill. Could you imagine being perfect? No thanks. You have to be at least a little bit screwed up in order to put yourself back together. And if your parents screwed you up more than most, it just means you’ve got an even bigger job, to end up even better on the other side. Forgive your parents because, for better or worse, they started your ball rolling. The direction you roll now is up to you.
Somewhere along the way you got the impression that life was supposed to be easy. And it was supposed to be fair. But in the history of the world, no one has ever said that. Maybe you had expectations about how your life was supposed to turn out and it hasn’t quite panned out that way. Maybe you have a bit more suffering and struggle than you signed up for. But in the history of the world, the other thing that no one has ever said is that suffering is bad for you. Forgive life for not turning out the way you planned. Maybe if you let it, it will turn out better.
God didn’t do anything wrong, so you don’t have to forgive him in the typical sense. To be honest, all too often we think that God is a bit dense. How can one who is all-knowing and all-powerful do such dumb things? I mean, I prayed for that job and I didn’t get it. I prayed for that relationship and I’m alone. I prayed for kids and I’m barren. I prayed for healing and I’m sick. Is he not-so-bright? Is he cruel? Is he there? God is way too big and way too expansive to understand. It’s when we are praying for my will be done instead of thy will be done that we get wrapped up in what we think God should do. But his vision is so much broader and deeper than our tiny brains can comprehend. Forgive God for whatever way you think he wronged you. In your limited sight, it might seem that way. But you are a piece in a puzzle. A very important piece in a very important puzzle.
Just a sec. Before you forgive yourself, you first have to take responsibility. Everything is a choice. Every detail in your life came about because of your choice. Now sometimes you don’t choose what happens to you, but you can always, always choose how you respond to those events. You can no longer be putting too much blame on the other 4 points above. You’ve got to be honest and take ownership of what’s yours. There is no point blaming someone for something they didn’t do, and forgiving them for something they didn’t do. That won’t be very healing for you. Here’s an example. You can forgive someone for spilling coffee on you. But you can’t forgive them for making you angry and spoiling your day. You did that last part. Once when you acknowledge your part in your life (and you’re the leading character), then you can forgive yourself.
Here’s to Conquering Stress,
The Stress Experts
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Practical Strategies to Deal with Daily Stressors
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