Archive for November, 2013
I hear the term “forgive and forget,” but I am unsure what the difference is between forgiving and forgetting. Can you shed some light on this? Thanks.
First, let us consider the term “to forget.” It has at least two shades of meaning. First, it can mean this: to put the hurtful event behind one so that it is not always front-and-center, causing strife in a relationship that needs to be nurtured. Second, it can mean a kind of moral amnesia in which the forgiver fails to consider issues of justice and therefore is prone to being hurt again. When people “forgive and forget” they try to do the first and avoid the second meaning of the term “to forget.” When we forgive we not only put the hurtful event behind us but also we acknowledge the personhood in the one who was unfair to us. So, “to forget” centers on the hurtful event; “to forgive” centers on the person who acted in such a way as to create the hurtful event.
In the United States, Thanksgiving is celebrated annually on the fourth Thursday of November. It is a custom going back to the 17th century when immigrants and those native to this land celebrated together with a feast. The tradition has continued for about 300 years.
Yesterday, while teaching a class on the psychology of forgiveness, I mentioned that next week the students likely will be getting together with family and extended family. Some of the students rolled their eyes, others groaned (as civilly as they could within a classroom setting, but the pain was obvious).
So, how can we avoid the “family dreads,” the restless, uncomfortable feeling of being face-to-face once again with those who have caused hurt and toward whom there may be some resentment?
Here are three suggestions:
1. First, acknowledge the pain. Do not run from it. After all, pain is a speedy little thing and always seems to be right behind us no matter how hard we run.
2. Practice now to see the inherent worth in that person. That person has a built-in value even when behaving badly. All people are unique, special, and irreplaceable. Start realizing that now before you pass the mashed potatoes to him or her.
3. Stop the pattern of treating this person as if he or she were invisible. Make eye contact. Smile (after all, this is a person who is special, unique, and irreplaceable). You need not say a thing. The eye contact and smile may be a good start.
And enjoy the journey that is life. That journey was never supposed to be pain-free. You can reduce the pain in you, and perhaps in the other, by recognizing the humanity in the other. They are not invisible to you. Show that you see them…and that they are special despite hurtful patterns in the past.
Catholic-link.com – Sometimes words are not needed. Sometimes actions do indeed speak louder than words. And here is a case in point.
“Moments of Mercy: The embrace of forgiveness” is a powerful 6-minute movie that has absolutely no dialogue. It’s about a homeless man who is reunited with his daughter and his wife. Yet, the video is mysterious in the sense that the viewer doesn’t know why the family was originally separated, and there also seems to be a team effort whose objective is to reconnect this man back with his family. The viewer doesn’t learn the purpose of this operation until the movie is brought to a climax when the daughter embraces her father – the ultimate act of acceptance and forgiveness.
“We all must actively make a choice to forgive and take that step forward – to embrace one another and reach out in a loving gesture,” says writer Anna Carochi in describing the video. “We all strive for acceptance with one another and when we achieve this, we are able to become the best version of ourselves.”
My body experienced a “dis-ease” from my lack of forgiving. Understanding the Act of Forgiveness and how it can change your life is my message. Here is an article I wrote sharing my story:
The Act of Forgiveness: Learning How to Forgive
“To err is human; to forgive, divine.” ~ Alexander Pope
There is one golden rule of happiness that sounds so simple but is often drowned out in the chaotic noise of our lives: “Treat others like you would like to be treated”.
We need to cultivate the ability to forgive others as well as ourselves in order to live in harmony.
Throughout our lives we may find ourselves in a position that requires us to think about forgiveness, and we do not always know how best to do that. There are three types of forgiveness, forgiving the self, those that have been harmed by our actions, and forgiving of others that have harmed us. To capture the essence from the transformation of forgiveness, the emotional steps occur:
Understand your actions;
Resolve to change;
Right the wrong;
Heal the damage.
“To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness.” ~ Robert Muller
These steps are challenging, I know from personal experience. It takes great courage and strength to follow them. To me it was transformational, a healing journey to release wrongs. The wrongs that I held against myself, the wrongs inflicted upon me from others and wrongs I inflicted upon others. Reaching out and moving forward to release these fears, past hurts, resentments, anger and judgments will change your life. By forgiving you are releasing the initial harm. The real gift comes from releasing the second harm the energy you have been using to hold on to it. By releasing the second harm, you are releasing them from your present and your future.
On our journey on this beautiful blue planet earth, we all need to learn how to forgive. We will not pass to the other side without forgiving. We all make mistakes. We do the best we can with the information we have at the time we make decisions and act.
Start with yourself first. Forgive yourself. If you are not in harmony and balance in your heart and forgive yourself, how can you forgive others or ask for forgiveness from others? People will feel it authentically when you come with your own forgiveness in the past. They will see your energy and light. They will know something changed.
By forgiving you are not letting another off the “hook”. Forgiving is helping you heal. You can forgive, but you cannot forget. Put it in the past and learn from the experience. Once you forgive, you see life with a new view. You live in the present more.
What happens if you cannot forgive? Everyone here is on a journey. If people cannot forgive they are holding onto the lower energies and vibrations that limit joy, love and the light within each of us. If others cannot forgive, still send them a blessing. Know that they are doing the best with what they presently have in their life. Do not judge them; do not make assumptions. Each person must experience this within his or her own heart. One cannot force another to forgive or accept forgiveness. Again, send the blessing and move on. Forgive with the highest emotion – LOVE.
Enjoy your life, laugh again and see wonderful qualities in others, this is the benefit you receive when you forgive! You also lose judgment. Judging another is one of the lowest energies. Worry about yourself. Send blessings and be at peace, and maybe some day that blessing will connect.
Sharing this message will assist others to be at peace. This is my mission. If one person captures the sense of forgiveness and moves to forgive – energy has been shifted. The act of forgiveness and learning how to forgive is passionate to my heart.
Learn from the past, forgive yourself and let it go. Move forward with a light heart, mind and soul. Your light will shine with balance joy, harmony, love and peace. You will discover a new self at your core. Your soul will dance. There will be a wellspring of love from the release. The gratitude and appreciation will be transformational. I guarantee it will make a difference in your life – I did for me!
“You will know that forgiveness has begun when you recall those who hurt you and feel the power to wish them well.” ~ Lewis B. Smedes
Why do you think its so hard for so many people to forgive, release and let go of past hurts? Is forgiveness an act of weakness or an act of strength? Have you figured out a way to let go of resentment, forgive yourself and those who have harmed? I really want to know what are your thoughts on this. You can share your insights by joining the conversation in the comment section on the blog website PurposeFairy.
Editor’s Note: Eileen Timmins, Ph.D. is on a mission to shift the energy of the world by one forgiving act at a time. Eileen is an author, artist, motivational speaker, teacher, coach, labyrinth builder and board member. She is founder of Aingilin (which means little angel in Gaelic) and her mission is “to create a better future for the world through acts of service.” Her book “The Forgiveness Fairy: Sharing the Light of Forgiveness” is available from Balboa Press. You can contact Dr. Timmins at firstname.lastname@example.org.