Learning to forgive may be one of the most powerful ways to repair relationship drama and begin living an empowered life. If you withhold your forgiveness, you may become a Victim to the situation or event that caused the original hurt.
By holding onto the pain or slight and not forgiving, you may extend and deepen the hurt. We have reflected upon our own inability to forgive and have come to realize there are several complex dynamics that make forgiving so hard. Ways that hinder forgiveness may include:
- holding on to the grudge, thinking it will somehow punish the other person so we can finally feel better;
- hoping we will be protected from getting hurt again;
- believing that fairness and justice must be served, since the other person was wrong; and/or
- thinking that forgiving will excuse the behavior that caused us so much pain in the first place.
None of these hindrances really work because, in many cases, the other person has moved on from the situation while you are still in the drama!
When you hold blame or resentment and are unable to forgive, your spirit can become bitter and fearful. With this as your inner emotional state, you are seeding the anxiety that fuels the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT) ™. This bitterness hurts you more than anyone else in the long run.
If you hold a grudge, you run the risk of becoming a Persecutor. You will also keep the negative energy alive – whether that energy is outwardly expressed or only held silently within your own mind and spirit.
What we know about forgiveness, as the character Ted explains in The Power of TED*, is that “forgiveness is giving up the hope of having a better past.” Letting go of the unrealistic “hope” of righting the past creates an opening to forgive and creating a new future.
You never know the motives or situations that are behind another person’s persecuting words or behavior. All you know is, as a Creator, you have the power to choose your response to a difficult situation or person. You can view them and the situation as a Challenger from which you can discern your own “lessons learned.”
Forgiveness is not about being passive in the face of injustice, abuse or condoning the wrong actions of others. Forgiveness requires great courage to let go of your own inner judgements and focus on seeing the other as a Creator in their own right, while not approving of their external behavior.
And, forgiving yourself may be the most difficult of all. Holding onto self-persecuting thoughts restricts your heart and prevents you from realizing your true essence as a Creator. When you let go of your inner scorecard you can begin to nurture the Creator in yourself. As you put down the mantel of judgment and resentments, know that you are creating an opening for the Creator in you to arise.
One final point. If you cannot forgive now, set an intention that you will forgive when you are ready. Setting the intention to forgive, sometime in the future, can help thaw the negative energy that keeps your relationship drama active.
Give yourself a gift this holiday season by beginning the practice of forgiving yourself or others. Be patient with yourself as you begin this powerful practice and free yourself from the bondage of living in an unforgiving past.
By doing so, you can free your energy and spirit to turn toward the future with more resilience and resourcefulness.