As much as I hate to admit it, I stink at forgiveness.
When I was hurt, all I heard was, “You need to forgive and move on.” I was stumped, what exactly is forgiveness?
My first stop was the dictionary for the definition of forgiveness; “to grant pardon for or remission of an offense, debt, etc.”
The word that intrigued me was “pardon.”
I suddenly pictured a judge sitting behind a court bench pounding her gavel or, the president signing a presidential pardon saying, “You have received special dispensation and thus you are hereby pardoned of your offenses!”
This hit home the fact that I have the power and a choice to make.
I imagined someone with whom I had been holding onto some hurt. I pictured myself signing a decree that, from heretofore this person is officially pardoned.
“Forgiveness is me giving up my right to hurt you for hurting me.” ~Anonymous
I wasn’t condoning what they had done, I simply was saying I will no longer hang on to the negative energy that resulted from their actions. I felt the hurt begin to melt away.
I also pictured signing that executive pardon for all the embarrassing, hurtful and stupid things for which I judged myself.
If you’re struggling with forgiveness, give these steps a try:
- Make a list of the people with whom you’re currently holding a grudge. Don’t forget to include yourself.
- Go through the list and write down (or state out loud) what they did to hurt you. Dig deep, and don’t forget yourself.
- Before moving to the pardon, ask yourself, “What did I learn from this experience?” Don’t skip this as it can help you see patterns of behavior and/or help to avoid repeats of the situations and people that you are now trying to forgive. Again, don’t forget yourself.
- One at a time, imagine them standing before you. Declare that they are officially pardoned and bang your pretend (or real) gavel. Move on to the next person and, you guessed it, don’t forget yourself.
- This takes practice. You may have to run certain people or situations through the courthouse more than once. However, if there are people and things you just aren’t able to forgive and move past, consider seeking support from a licensed therapist or counselor.
By taking a few minutes to forgive, we can free up energy to begin again with a clean slate. What a great way to say good bye to 2018 and welcome 2019!
Did this work for you or do you have another way that helps you practice forgiveness? Please let us know in the comments below.
A client recently noticed that she was continuing to let her sister tell her what to do. At the end of lamenting, she said the same thing she says every time this comes up, “I wonder why I do that?”
How many times have you asked yourself “Why?”
“Why did I blow off my walk today?”
“Why did I play video games instead of working on my job search?”
“Why did I finish that whole bag of peanut M&Ms?”
“Why, why, why?”
“Why?” is a strategy to stay stuck inside your comfort zone. When you ask, “Why is my apartment such a mess?” conversation shuts down and you end up going in the opposite direction of your destination. Suddenly you’re exploring the past, your mental woes and all the bad things that could have caused this when all you really wanted was a clean apartment.
“Why?” is a great diversion as it sends you on a journey to figure out what happened to cause this pattern of behavior.
You’re doing a great thing, right? You’re healing the past and your hurts.
Let’s say that you actually do figure out “why” you’re eating all those peanut M&Ms. Great!!!
Ok, now what? You know the “why,” so what?
Does knowing “why” help break out of the pattern that is keeping you stuck?
Nope. And you can tell by the results you’re getting.
So how do you break out of the analysis paralysis of “WHY?” Here are 4 simple steps:
- Practice noticing when “Why?” shows up. This can be tricky because we are so used to stopping when it shows up. Hint- Are feeling stuck? Are you thinking about the past?
- When you notice you’re stuck in “Why?,” stop, take a breath and tell yourself, “It doesn’t matter “Why?” or “Who cares?!” or “Frankly Scarlet, I don’t give a darn!”
- Remember the old cheer, A-C-T-I-O-N, ACTION, ACTION, WE WANT ACTION! Ask yourself, “What is the next right action I can take RIGHT NOW, that will get me closer to my goal?”
- Then DO IT, no matter how small.
For example, say you are miserable in your current job and are ready and anxious to find a new one. Instead of updating your resumé, like you said you would, you’re sitting on the couch playing video games, for the third time this week!
You hear yourself saying, “I did it again! WHY do I keep doing this?!” Instead of analyzing, get into action. Shut down the video game and grab your computer. Set a timer for 20 minutes and get to work on your resumé. When time’s up, set the timer again and give yourself permission to play video games for 20 minutes. Continue this pattern until the resumé is done.
The only way to break this or any pattern of behavior is to stop letting yourself get sucked into the “Why?” and get into action.
I hope this helps you to leave the drama of the “Whys?” behind and move toward designing your destiny!
Let me know how you handle your “Whys?” in the comments below.