Archive for the ‘Forgiveness’ Category

Having Trouble Forgiving? Read This!

Friday, June 29th, 2012

While browsing at a bookstore recently a book jumped off the shelf at me.  It whispered, “Use me for your next blog.  Some of your readers are still struggling with forgiveness. I can help.”  Understanding this to be a serendipitous call, I listened and the following is the result.

FORGIVING AND MOVING ON is a book by Tracy Dayton, Ph.D. It is a book of  affirmations to aid those people who still hold grudges and anger in their heart and have trouble forgiving, letting go, and getting on with their lives. I have seen my share of those types in my practice over the years.

This is a wonderful little book, filled with a rationale as to why one needs to forgive and daily prescriptions on how to do that day by day.  It is inspirational.

Dr. Dayton gets it!  Let me quote this insightful woman therapist;

1. “To forgive and let go – to truly release the old resentment – fill us with a sense of freedom.”

2. “We forgive, if we are wise, not for the other person, but for ourselves … to relieve the residue of the wrong that is still alive within us.”

3. “We forgive because it is less painful than holding on to resentment.”

4. “Forgiveness does not necessarily mean acceptance or re-connection.” A boundary may be necessary for that person that hurt you.”

5. “When you let go of the past and move on it is a kind of maturation and growing up.”

Dr. Dayton says it is important for a person to recognize the need for this change. That holding on to anger and resentment in your heart is destructive to the core of your existence.

You may  not be attuned to your inner angst. You may hold a grudge against another.  Perhaps you have guilt for wrong things done by you to another.  The double G’s – guilt and grudge -  are insidious and sully the soul.  Forgiveness of the other and of yourself are called upon for spiritual and psychological serenity. I once saw a word carving that said “Let go, let God”.  Wise words indeed.

Let me close with one of Dr. Dayton’s affirmations:

“Today I recognize forgiveness as the quickest road to freedom and serenity.  When I forgive my past I release myself from the grip that it has on my present.  I no longer carry the heavy baggage around with me.  It is difficult to live in peace if I am psychologically engaged in yesterday’s battles.”

May this article serve as a catalyst to look inside of yourself and see if you are still living in the past with your negative thoughts about yourself or another.  May FORGIVING AND MOVING ON be a mantra for you every day of your life!

Forgiveness Tips: Free Your Heart to Love!

Monday, October 17th, 2011

     Over the course of life’s trek there are many situations where you may feel hurt or angry in reaction to another’s behavior.  Someone may do something to you, or someone you care about, that in your mind was inappropriate and uncalled for.  Negative feelings and thoughts about that person may be challenging and difficult to put aside. So, what would be a good thing to do?  Retaliate?  The urge is strong.  The decision wrong.

     Forgiveness is a better choice.  Forgiveness is a healthy psychological and spiritual alternative. Here are a few tips to think about as you explore this option:

1. Know exactly how you feel about what happened and know the reasons why such behavior upset you.

2. Decide what you need to do to feel better.  Perhaps you need to address the particular concern or incident with the offending party.

3. Forgiveness does not mean that you condone that person’s behavior nor does it mean that you want some type of reconciliation with that person.  A boundary here may well need to be established.

4. When you have negative feelings developing about this person “change the channel” to some other thought.  You do not want negative energy to continue to reside in your brain. It is not particularly easy to forget, but by not allowing these thoughts and feelings to linger you gradually extinguish them.

5. Give up naïve expectations about how things “should be” or how such persons “should” behave.  “Stuff happens.” Be the “bigger” person.

6. The act of forgiveness is for you, nobody else.  It is for your own internal calm and peace.

7. “Just do it!”

     Further encouraging words:

“The weak can never forgive.  Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong”. Gandhi

“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the prisoner was you”. Unknown

“To err is human; to forgive, divine” Alexander Pope

Forgiveness: An Act of Love

Saturday, November 13th, 2010

     People hurt and get hurt.  That is a basic part of human existence. Hurts, whether they be physical or emotional, can be hard to heal.  Long after the painful event has occurred the psychological remnant remains.  If your reaction is to get, and stay, mad at someone else for what they did to you, you are stuck in GRUDGE.  If you continue to blame yourself for hurting someone else, you are stuck with GUILT.  The two G’s are toxic emotional and spiritual cancers of the soul that drain and deplete your capacity to love and move forward in a healthy manner.

     One of the most difficult task that I have in therapy is helping people get over their grudges and guilts.  Many people hold on for dear life!  There apparently is benefit that people feel by continuing to blame others or themselves for transgressions of the past. Those negative angry people are not people you want to be vulnerable to or hang around with.  They are an emotional pain and drain..

      The answer is to get rid of guilt and grudge and become a positive spirited person.  FORGIVENESS.  Forgiveness wipes the slate clean, allowing you to live inthe present moment, able to move forward.  Forgiving is not the same as forgetting.  You do not forget, but you can forgive. Forgiveness is a spiritual act primarily.  It is a recognition that a life in the spirit is impossible while one holds on to grudge or guilt.  They are incompatible, positive energy versus negative energy, open versus closed.  Forgiveness allows you the opportunity to re-connect with yourself and with the person who has hurt you.  In the process you become whole, a person of integrity, thus capable of being united with another.

     You are not capable of loving if you do not forgive.  Some people deceive and delude themselves into thinking that they are capable of loving while holding malice in their hearts.  Those of the Christian persuasion are familiar with the admonition of Jesus to always forgive, over and over.  (“Seventy times seven” means infinity for those who do not understand that quote.)  Those in the Recovery movement know well that making “amends” is a critical component for moving forward to a life of integrity without addiction.

     Forgiveness does not always necessitate re-connection to the other person. There are some people that will continually hurt you.  This is where the concept of “boundary” is relevant.  You can forgive someone and still maintain a barrier to ever being hurt again. Some people cannot be trusted and, therefore, need to be kept at a distance.

     If you choose to cross the bridge from grudge and guilt to forgiveness, there are a number of ways to convey it. For grudge you can tell the perpetrator face to face or send the person a letter.  If you do not want to deal with the person per se, you can just let it go in your heart.  For guilt, it is important to actively forgive yourself and let it go, not just push it down into your subconscious. If you do that guilt will eat away at your core self.


THE STRONG.” (Ghandi)                                                                                              “TO ERROR IS HUMAN, TO FORGIVE IS DIVINE” (Alexander Pope)