Forgiveness

When did you make up your mind that you had to forgive, so that you could start living? Bitterness, resentment, anger and hurt are hard burdens to carry. How did you learn how to move on with your life? I posted these questions on the Internet and received the following wise words of wisdom.

From Margie:

Forgiveness, for me, is the sweet elixir that allows any sour situation to be transformed. All the rage, bitterness, and blame gets removed and there is nothing left but tasty lessons for my consumption.

The journey with forgiveness must start with ourselves. A separate journey of rigorous recovery and healing from self sabotaging addictions helped bring this home for me; only when I am able to forgive myself for the glorious imperfections of this human bodies experience can I ever hope to forgive others.

If I was not able to reach deep into my soul for forgiveness, my life would be very different. The joy that I cultivate, and the peace that I thrive in, would not be able to exist, and I would be left a sad and depressed women. I choose to live joy, so therefore, I must practice forgiveness.

I looked at your website. You have a very compelling story. I imagine you are seeing, and living life, in a whole new way.

I will be launching a new BlogTalk Radio show called Bliss101:Learn It, Play It, Become It! soon and am looking for guests. Might you be interested?

Blessings,
Margie Scott

Healthy Choices for Happier Lives
“Living Bliss” Life Coaching & Retreats
Coach Margie Scott

From Francesca:
Wantd to recommend this book to you: http://www.amazon.com/Forgiving-Self-Road-Resentment-Connection/dp/0385488742 Thanks Francesca Lyman

From Cindy.

I am a 52-year-old author of the recently published book, _Awakening the Spirit: The Open Wide Like a Floozy Chronicles_. MARIA SHRIVER, First Lady of the State of California, award-winning American journalist and member of the Kennedy family HAS WRITTEN THE FOLLOWING ABOUT MY BOOK, _“I know you inspire others through your personal story of overcoming pain and suffering. I applaud you for having the courage and strength to share your extraordinary story.”_

I found that my depression and illness was a result of holding onto destructive emotions of anger, guilt and shame from adversity in my life, beginning with a childhood rape at age nine. After meeting a shaman in 2007, I discovered that dissolving (not forgiving) those emotions was necessary for me to heal. It was a choice to release those emotions. However, before I could do that, I had to feel safe enough to do so and for me, it was necessary to realize that the spirit of God was not only outside of me, but also within. Therefore, until I came to the realization that everything I wanted in life, including joy, is within, I could not allow those things to come forward.

Thank you for your time. I wish you the best.Author, _Awakening the Spirit: The Open Wide Like a Floozy Chronicles_
http://www.cherbchronicles.com

From a Cognitive Behavior Therapist from New York.

I also practice in LA. I work with clients who are not only depressed and angry but who are also anxious on removing blame thoughts from their lives. Those who are anxious blame themselves, those who are depressed blame the world and those who are angry blame others. I have my clients start by identifying and labeling their blame thoughts, then we work on restructuring them to direct their attention to the situation. By focusing on the situation, they gain control and feel not only symptom relief but lighter and a TRUE sense of empowerment. Blaming does not give an control and it just bring us pain.

Feel free to quote all of the above. My referenced sites are below.
Jayme Albin, MA, Ph.D
http://www.AsktheCBT.com
http://www.DrJaymeAlbin.com

From Gayle:

Like most people I learned this lesson the hard way. I was a victim of my abusive ex-husband, my dysfunctional boss, my judgmental family. I toughened up, shrank away, and disengaged until by grace (and grace comes in many forms – a phrase from a book or article, the touch of a caring hand, being knocked down that one last time) I realized that I was choosing my life experience. I told my husband, boss and family through my acceptance of their behavior that it was okay, that I wasn’t worth much more. It wasn’t until I began exploring my own beliefs and thoughts that I realized that I didn’t have a clue as to what they were really thinking. What I believed they were thinking appeared inside my head. Those thoughts weren’t theirs, they were my beliefs about myself.

I have learned to view forgiveness through a different lens. Forgiveness to me is accepting that what is, is what is. I can’t change what has happened or not happened. What I can do is accept my life to date. After all resisting it, didn’t work very well for me. The knots inside my chest, my withdrawal and holding back didn’t change what had been. Acceptance doesn’t make it right. It doesn’t make it wrong either. It just sees it exactly as it is without the stories of abuse, neglect and betrayal. I choose from this point forward what I make of anything and everything, even when I choose to be a victim (which I don’t anymore). I think the most important phrase here is, “I choose.”

There is a great quote. I am certain you have heard it “Resentments are like swallowing POISON AND EXPECTING THE OTHER PERSON TO DIE from it”

My best,

Gayle Gregory
AUTHOR|CONSULTANT|SPEAKER
http://www.WorkplaceEvolution.com

From James:

I was married to the love of my life. About 5 years after marriage she turned to prescription drugs for ADHD. Not long after she began using illegal drugs. At the time our daughter was 6 years old and I suddenly found myself becoming a single Dad. Our marriage hit the rocks and her drug and alcohol abuse skyrocketed. I tried everything in my power to “fix” the problem, nothing worked. I began to work even harder to simply “change” her back to who she was before, again nothing worked. She dropped all of her responsibilities and began creating crisis after crisis.

I was left to deal with everything. The resentment which grew inside of me was staggering. Its amazing how you can love someone for who they were and simultaneously hate them for who theyve become. One of my struggles was letting go of this “prefect family” image I tried to keep going. I also did not want to accept the position I had been placed in. Once I finally accepted that this is how things were and what I wanted was gone, I was able to forgive and move on. It takes time, dont get me wrong, but it eventually comes. Each day I took a piece of my life, which had forever changed, and accepted it. Day by day I worked through this process. IMPORTANT NOTE: This will only work if you set out a direction and stick to it! If you go back and fourth on your decision you will never make any real progress.

http://www.JamesInspires.com

From Jennifer:

I’m a 33 year old writer, editor, and brain injury survivor. I’ve had several bouts with depression. After my brain injury erased all memory before age fifteen, I had to re-learn nearly every skill, from walking, talking, to tying my shoes. Through my recovery period of about five years, I had many, many setbacks- from physical and mental to relearning social rules. I nearly flunked out of college because I wasn’t fully recovered and able to do the work. But the key to my success is persistence. I think it’s okay to be depressed about your situation or your ability level; of course. But it’s what you do with the situation you’re in that can help. My only “cure” for depression in my own life, along with medication when appropriate, is keeping at it. I was able to graduate from high school, receive an associates degree, have family and write a book, all because I wouldn’t accept that I couldn’t. At one point insurance adjusters came to my house to make a list of the functions they were certain I would not be able to regain in my life. I refused to believe it. A lot of hard work helped. I made it through. And changing my definition of “success” helped, too. I am successful because I choose to be happy with what I have, and where I’m at. I have been working on my Batchelor’s degree for fourteen years, and I’m almost done. I can still work on it, but it is what it is, right now. I hope this is helpful to you. In my professional life, I edit a literary magazine, _Groundwaters_ (www.groundwaterspublishing.com,) and my novel about two women with brain injury, _Learning Life Again_, was released a few weeks ago. I have been featured in _Redbook_ magazine, the front page of AOL.com, blogtalkradio, and _The Nashville Examiner_, among other things. http://www.jenniferbchambers.com

From a man who found forgiveness at a retreat:

My journey of forgiveness, self-acceptance, and real understanding of who and what I am came in a big rush, at 9-day retreat called the Hoffman Process (which you may already know plenty about).
For as many of my 40-odd years as I could remember, Id always felt that there was “something missing” deep inside me–a hollowness. Looking back, I think I was angry at that absence, as if Id been denied something; my anger took the form of cynicism and sarcasm. Although I had success and friends, I was a sad soul. The deep dive the Process provided into childhood learnings, misperceptions about my parents, and my until-then-hidden spirituality blew me wide, wide open. I forgave, I embraced, I swooned in the presence of my true self. Ive never been the same, and Im deeply grateful for the way my inner self finally dragged me into the light, and for the Hoffman Process being there as the piece of genius it is.
So, thats my (short) story. Hope it helps. I would highly recommend the Process to anyone who is depressed or bothered by doing the same dumb things over and over.
http://www.hoffmaninstitute.org

I just did a radio show on this. If interested-here is the link to the episode AND the After Show blog w/show notes.
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/bante-design-llc
This is such an important topic. I’m glad you’re focusing on this.
http://www.brantedesign.com

Anonymous:
My breakthru came when my therapist asked me when I was going to stop seeking my mother’s approval! It was at that moment that I realized that I would never be able to do anything to make her approve of me, and that I’d better learn to accept myself just as I am.

From Melody:

As a child I was neglected and sexually abused. When I told my mother about the abuse she had the boy arrested. She was so upset she told my Dad we couldn’t live in our house where this had happened and insisted that we move. He was barely scrapping by to provide for our family of 5 at the time and it was an extreme hardship. He was angry, she was angry and I just knew it was all my fault.
I carried the shame of not only the abuse but the consequences of my telling for most of my adult life. It played out in my inability to select mates that could show me how amazing and precious I really am. The pain of it drove me to drugs and alcohol and serial marriages. Now on my third marriage, I thought I was repeating the pattern because my husband would be angry with me for not telling him how I felt about things, or really much of anything that I thought. It was then I realized I had not ever forgiven myself for speaking up as a child. Forgiving that little girl for doing something brave, was not so easy. But over time, I have realized she had nothing to be forgiven for, that she had acted exactly as she needed to at the time. In fact, she was very courageous and strong. I am able to tell my husband what is going in inside and what my thoughts are about things that happen without shame, now. And, our marriage is stronger and with a deeper connection than I ever could have imagined possible.
Melody Brooke,MA,LPC,LMFTAuthor “Oh WOW this changes everything”Host “Oh WOW This Changes Everything!” http://awakenedheartproductions.comhttp://compassionmovement.orghttp://www.demosaccess.com/actors/Melody_Brooke.html

13 responses to “Forgiveness

  1. At age five, during my tonsillectomy, I had a Near Death Experience. When floating above the operating table, I heard the resident doctor ask the staff doctor if he was giving me too much ether. ‘I don’t care if it kills her’. ‘Too late!’, I thought from my place on the ceiling. I knew that his remark was wrong-headed but from where I was in that place of peace and comfort, I just couldn’t get upset about what he said. Throughout my life, when disappointment or unforgiveness comes, I long for that peace I felt on the ceiling and strive to get back to it, to give up judgement, to give up ‘shoulding’.
    This attitude helped me to get over the clergy sex abuse that happened repeatedly during my fifth year. I write about this in my book, ‘I Didn’t Fall, I Was Pushed’.

  2. In my own case the word forgiveness did not even register in my mind or heart for many years simply because I was so fractured I needed to love and support those fractured off parts of myself that my main concern was to get to know the different persona’s and what pain and memories they each carried because it was a different pattern and memory set for each one of them. I had to honestly get to know them as members of my family and within a family there needs to be support and love and understanding so you can see forgiveness was not even on the radar at those early years. I came to learn so much about forgiving myself for having to create all these personalities because I felt I was to blame because many others in the world called us freaks. Many times I just wanted to give up because I felt I was keeping this horrendous secret and it was going to eat me alive. Through my writing and my therapy I know that I was a very created person who took very good care of herself even when my real family did not because they did not know how to do that. I then knew I had to forgive myself of nothing and this was when the journey took on a different meaning simply because I came to learn about myself and to love myself and therefore in time the compassion I had for myself started to be felt for the members of my fleshly family I can tell you one thing I didn’t have to forgive them to get well this was something I wanted to do from my heart. I do want you to know I do not forgive the act of sexual abuse because of its unending trauma it leaves on the person, however, I can forgive those who hurt me because I honestly believe if they had known how to do better they would have done it. I am just glad I have a new and energizing perspective on what transpired. And when all is said and done we will all stand in front of our Maker(Almighty God) and he will set things straight. I believe in a loving and merciful God who is just through and through.

  3. When an issue is brought up about someone, all that is being said is that someone believes something has happened that is felt was not the correct thing to so. At this particular time there is one thing that has happened on one day usually by one person. If this is the first time that a mistake might have happened then a person deserves what we call the benefit of the doubt. First of all this implies that it will never be known if someone did something wrong or not, almost like circumstantial evidence. It is more of a feeling that the person did a wrong act. Unless of course it is an eye witness account and even here people view things differently and can be wrong. So in this case especially in the first reaction there should be no judgements. There needs to be a little investigation, if you will, getting as much information as possible. The more information the more the truth of what happened will come out.

    But the simple notion of a benefit of the doubt is a wonderful occurrence. It says that maybe a mistake was made but we are going to look at it as a mistake. Further we are going to believe that the person , even if he or she knew it was a mistake it is regretted, so there is trust that the lesson has been learned. If a person is made to feel that everyone has lost trust there is no reason to correct the behavior. Instead benefit of the doubt says that if there is not surety that a person is guilty of a wrong that needs to be corrected, it will be looked at as everyone knows the right thing to do for the next time. So there is no punishment necessary this time.

    Benefit of the doubt mentality is very good because it gives a person another chance. Even on those times that a person did do it and lied about it in most cases will at the very least get that person to think about what was done. In this respect the problem often times does not happen again.

    Even if someone does get away with something that will soon become evident because a pattern will occur. The the steps can be taken to fix this. But to make sure there is not an over reaction when a mistake is made for the first time the use of benefit of the doubt is a way to have what could be a lesson that is beneficial. A mistake does not necessarily have to feel like a person is bad and in fact should not do this. Especially on a first occurrence a person should be allowed to learn and start over.

  4. My name is Bob Livingstone and I am the author _The Body Mind Soul Solution: Healing Emotional Pain through Exercise_, Pegasus Books, 2007. I am a psychotherapist, licensed clinical social worker in private practice in San Francisco and I have twenty years experience working with adults, adolescents and children. I have been featured in _CNN.com_, _ABCNews.com, The New York Daily News.com_, _The Associated Press,_ _The Dallas Morning News, The Hartford Courant, The Miami Herald, The Saint Louis Post-Dispatch, USA Today, MSNBC, WCBStv.com The San Francisco Chronicle, MSN, The Christian Science Monitor, The Detroit Free Press.com, The Chicago Sun-Tribune_, _Natural Health Magazine, The Library Journal, Grand Magazine, Positive Thinking Magazine,Boston.com, Lee’s Summit Journal, The Athens Banner-Herald,OregonLive.com, San Francisco Examiner.com, Martha Stewart’s Satellite Radio Network, AOL Canada, WebMd _and_ Womansday.com. _I have written articles published in DrLaura.com, Beliefnet.com, Sheknows.com, Ediets.com, Selfgrowth.com, Care2.com, Memory-of.com, Lovetoknowkids.com, The Therapist and Psychotherapy.net. I am a featured blogger on Yahoo Shine and a regular columnist for Parenting on the Peninsula and Going Bonkers Magazine.

    My father died when I was fifteen years old. It wasn’t until I was forty until I began the journey of forgiving him not only for dying but for being so disappointed in me. I carried around this burden of bitterness for many years, but it took me a long time to understand what exactly I was holding on to. I was intensely not letting go of the fantasy that my father would one day return to earth and finally display his love for me by smiling over me. Sometime along this path, I realized that forgiving him for leaving me so abruptly and forgiving myself for longing for him in such an unhealthy way needed to occur in order for me to move on. It was also necessary to do so to let go of the dream that he would come back from the dead. I no longer have this dark cloud that used to be a combination of my hateful father and my lost inner child hovering over me. I have this sense of freedom that I try to teach all my psychotherapy clients to achieve.

    Bob Livingstone LCSW

    http://www.boblivingstone.com

  5. Only through Absolution will you reach the absolute. Use my Absolution Ritual to come to astonishing new perceptions about the role of forgiveness in your life. Go to http://www.sacredspaceswa.com/absolution.cfm to access my ritual in audio, video and text form.

  6. Cyann Rose Jensen

    I have written a book and have included the last weeks of my daughter’s life written by the killer through me, as he serves forty years to life in prison. I almost took the life of the killer during the trial. After, I almost took my own. I hated him so that I wanted him dead!
    Years past and I have learned to turn that hate into a forgiveness of his flawed humanity. Today, I promise my spirit to feel free from hate, I have found a way to forgive.

  7. I just came across your site on a media connections newsletter. I’m passing on your request to some of my contacts who might have something to share.

    In addition, I wanted to share my blog on Forgiveness from last week.
    http://sandraksamuel.wordpress.com/2010/0
    2/20/forgiveness-6/

    Thank you!

  8. Hi.

    After my very prolonged and bitter divorce, I was mad, bitter, and
    resentful. A very wise elderly woman shared this with me:
    forgive him – otherwise it’ll just eat you up. But I can’t do it! I responded.
    Then tell God you “want” to forgive your ex-husband but
    you don’t “feel” like it, but your intention is there. Let God
    help you. So I did as she suggested…and guess what?
    It worked! How do I know? One day during family counseling,
    the kids told the therapist that Daddy was still mad at Mommy
    and says mean things about her, but Mommy isn’t mad at him. Wow!
    That was the first time it “hit” me that I’d forgiven him. It’s observable by the sharpest observers: your children.

  9. As a doctor of clinical psychology who treats depression (and manages dysthymia herself), I offer:

    * I am a survivor of clergy abuse. After years of hatred of men, spiritual cynicism, promiscuity, an enormous fear of intimacy, and more, I learned that only through forgiveness could I truly be free. I might add that it was not only forgiveness of my preacher, but also forgiveness of myself.
    * After 25+ years “in the dark,” and through my own education as a psychologist, I was finally able to see that child molesters are human beings, too..they are damaged, disturbed individuals who need compassion to recover.
    * To stay in a place of empowerment vs. victimization, I choose to work with victims of sexual abuse as well as sex offenders. It is my belief that the best way to help victims is to help perpetrators.

    Best of Health,

    Dr. Nancy Irwin
    http://www.drnancyirwin.com
    http://www.makeayou-turn.com
    YOU-TURN: CHANGING DIRECTION IN MIDLIFE (Amazon.ccom)

  10. My name is Cindy L. Herb and I am a 52-year-old author of the recently published book, Awakening the Spirit: The Open Wide Like a Floozy Chronicles.

    Maria Shriver, First Lady of the State of California, award-winning American journalist and member of the Kennedy family has written the following about my book, “I know you inspire others through your personal story of overcoming pain and suffering. I applaud you for having the courage and strength to share your extraordinary story.”

    I found that my depression and illness was a result of holding onto destructive emotions of anger, guilt and shame from adversity in my life, beginning with a childhood rape at age nine. After meeting a shaman in 2007, I discovered that dissolving (not forgiving) those emotions was necessary for me to heal. It was a choice to release those emotions. However, before I could do that, I had to feel safe enough to do so and for me, it was necessary to realize that the spirit of God was not only outside of me, but also within. Therefore, until I came to the realization that everything I wanted in life, including joy, is within, I could not allow those things to come forward.

    Cindy L. Herb
    “The Joyful Survivor”
    Author, Awakening the Spirit: The Open Wide Like a Floozy Chronicles
    http://www.cherbchronicles.com


    Follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/cherbchronicles/
    Connect with me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/people/Cindy-L-Herb/1271135088
    Read my articles at http://www.ezinearticles.com/?expert=Cindy_L._Herb

  11. Thanks for posting my response, and everyone else’s too. What a rich plethora of experiences!

    I recently came across this quote about forgiveness that I really liked:
    Forgiving is love’s toughest work, and love’s biggest risk. If you twist it into something it was never meant to be, it can make you a doormat or an insufferable manipulator. Forgiving seems almost unnatural. Our sense of fairness tells us people should pay for the wrong they do. But forgiving is love’s power to break nature’s rule. ~Lewis B. Smedes

    Blessings,
    Margie
    bliss101.net

  12. Relationship with an Alcoholic & Addict

    I was married to the love of my life. About 5 years after marriage she turned to prescription drugs for ADHD. Not long after she began using illegal drugs. At the time our daughter was 6 years old and I suddenly found myself becoming a single Dad.

    Our marriage hit the rocks and her drug and alcohol abuse skyrocketed. I tried everything in my power to “fix” the problem, nothing worked. I began to work even harder to simply “change” her back to who she was before, again nothing worked. She dropped all of her responsibilities and began creating crisis after crisis.

    I was left to deal with everything. The resentment which grew inside of me was staggering. It’s amazing how you can love someone for who they were and simultaneously hate them for who they’ve become. One of my struggles was letting go of this “prefect family” image I tried to keep going. I also did not want to accept the position I had been placed in.

    Once I finally accepted that this is how things were and what I wanted was gone, I was able to forgive and move on. It takes time, don’t get me wrong, but it eventually comes. Each day I took a piece of my life, which had forever changed, and accepted it. Day by day I worked through this process.

    James Ross
    Author & Speaker
    http://www.JamesInspires.com

  13. My sister and I grew up as victims of physical, mental and emotional abuse, at the hands of our own parents. They were, and ARE, to this day, addicted to drugs and alcohol.

    After being “haunted” by the horror of my childhood for years, I began the process of healing with a skilled therapist. I was forty years old, and filled with anger. I learned that holding on to that rage was only hurting me. With her guidance, my therapist and I healed the “child within”, GRIEVED for Little Leslie, and the childhood she never got to experience. Eventually, I was able to let go of the events which had engulfed me in bitterness. I began to see my parents as “flawed” individuals who DID THE BEST JOB THAT THEY COULD DO, under the circumstances.

    I am now 57, and my sister is 51. She is finally in the process of seeing her childhood clearly, and taking the proper steps to forgive our parents’ poor choices.

    Fortunately, we BOTH stopped a generational pattern of abuse, and raised healthy adult children who are high achievers, with a solid sense of “self.”

    By the Grace of God, and my own hard work, I am free of the “demons” which once haunted me. As a healthy adult, I am now dealing with my “abusers” in their old age, with forgiveness in my heart.

    Leslie Rubel, M.A., H.H.C.P.

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