Your Forgiveness Story
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 email@example.com.
I had been trying to forgive my parents for 25 years. And, when I was unsuccessful, I lied, and I told others that I had forgiven them. Since I was not honest, I drank and used drugs. Since alcohol and drugs generate guilt, I had low self esteme. I would go over the story in my head every day. And, since I “should” have “let it go” I was ashamed and did not tell anyone my secret. So, instead of ruminating, I told jokes and became funny. No matter how hard I tried to stay sober, I failed. And I got angry because everyone else in aa had forgiven their parents while I was stuck. I tried to forgive, and the harder I tried, the more I drank. I was trying to do the “right” thing and it kept producing the “wrong” results.
And then, soon, I stopped being funny anymore. Now I was always angry. But, of course, I had a good reason to be angry. I had been wronged. My mother was a narcissistic alcoholic who projected her guilt. I was neglected and molested. And when my closeted father was not absent he was tyrannical and abusive. He hated his own parents and wanted to make sure his sensitive little boy did not turn out to be a pansy homosexual. One day, when I was 18, while they were busy arguing, I left. Nobody really noticed much. “I WAS NEVER GOING TO BE LIKE THEM” Then my grandfather died and I came out of the closet and my father got jealous. He tried to steal my inheritance so I yelled at him which hurt his pride so he retaliated with blackmail. I took him to court and he disowned me and lied to everyone. I turned into the black sheep. THAT WAS NOT FAIR! How could a disowned black sheep get revenge now? That pissed me off even more.
Since I could not be perpetrator I became victim and told my story to anyone who would listen. Then, as the years passed, others grew tired of my story. Since I was not able to forgive, I made new friend who would listen for a while and until they grew tired also. Since I had no intimacy, I became lonley and drank more until I was more dysfunctional than my own parents. Now I was trying to forgive them and myself also for having turned out to be even worse then them. Compulsions and distractions worked for a while. But, when the escapes wore off, the anger returned. It was hopeless. And my psychiatrist agreed, I had a textbook case of PTSD.
Then my parents died, and now I was blaming dead people for my problems. So, one day, I finally gave up trying to forgive them. It was hopeless. I was never going to succeed. I bought a book called the “Final Exit” and went shopping for helium. I did not have the courage, so I got loaded instead(again) Thats when it happened. In one flash, it came clear. Since I wanted to die, spirit granted my wish that night. I died! But since I was still breathing, something was askew. Thats when I had the flashback. I saw my life in one instant, and the tragedy of my story. It had all been a giant drama on stage. It was not death, although the curtain did go down. It was only the end of act 1. And, since it was a stage in a theatre, I was able to walk back out on for a curtain call. After my first bow, I looked into the audiance, and I saw my parents, my mother and father. They were in the front row, and they were applauding. This made no sense at first, and then it did. Mom and Dad were only acting. And, since they were only acting, they were playing roles. They were the perpetrators and I was the victim (or was it the other way around?) Thats when I had my shift. And, for the first time in my entire using career, I wanted to get sober. For the first time, I really wanted to live.
To make it simple, My parents had never done anything to me. They had done all of those things for me. They were hired by the director because a good drama will not sell tickets unless it has a good perpetrator and a good victim. This was also a comedy, which the critics loved! When this became clear, and the play ended, I no longer had to play my role any more. Thats when my parents left their seats, got up on stage, and all three of us gave standing ovation. Its all true, except for the part about the play. That is just a metaphor I use to describe the way I see it all now. I was trying all of those years to forgive my parents for what they had done “wrong.” It did not work because I was still living with the belief that something was not right. Everything was perfect.
Today I see. But, since this was only a play, and since we were only actors, they had been hired by the director to do those things to me so I could entertain everyone else with this wonderful story. For the first time today I want to be sober. Today I want to live. And, the lights are about to go down, which means its time go go back on stage and begin scene 2 of this drama. Instead of a comic tragedy, the next scene is going to be a romance!
My mother and I have not had a close relationship. As a nurse, I understood the psychological impacts of her childhood abuse and being raised in an extremely poor area with an alcoholic father. My father had the exact same life events. They joined a very “narrow minded” christian church that taught my sisters and I that drinking was a sin, showing any type of affection in public was a sin, and on and on. When my first child was born, I recognised I was transferring those learned behaviors to my son. I went into 3 years of therapy where I worked on letting go of my resentments and anger towards my father, Then, life took over (I had 4 sports minded children and worked full time) and forgiveness took a back seat. I have always been a spiritual person and am a medium and shamanic practitioner, which is totally alien to my mother’s belief system.
At the age of 55, my life took a sudden dramatic change with the illness of my husband ,and consequently the loss of our business and income. I had a lot of time on my hands and so began my spiritual investigations and healing of myself on an intense level, not quite understanding how important forgiveness was, until an argument while at my mother’s house opened my heart. I was so angry with her that I walked outside and around her neighborhood until I calmed down. I sat on a park bench, while mentally complaining, how she never forgave her abusive relative or anyone else that hurt her. I looked up and saw huge dark storm clouds in the distance coming towards me. I did not want to be like her and suddenly “knew” that I had never forgiven her for the verbal abuse and lack of affection growing up. I’m glad no one was out in the impending storm to see me sobbing and releasing so many toxins I had held onto for so many years.
I cannot help my mother, but I can heal myself, by continuing to forgive those that have “caused” me to feel pain. It’s definitely an ongoing process!
Today, I finally made the final step to forgive everyone who ever offended me, including damaging my life.
Its been 2 years since i was injured by a very close friend. My life turned upside down, i suffered and lost 90% of my life as I previously knew it. I prayed and verbally forgave the lady about 2yrs ago. But over the years i found myself talking about it with so much resentment, deep down my heart i wished the worst for her. I blamed everything wrong on her, and constantly accused her. But after some time i would verbally declare that I forgave her again.
This has been going on for 2 years. But today, i learned something new and valuable to my life. Forgiveness is a process that should be deep rooted. I went through the steps on this site and it was very very helpful. Dear readers, it doesn’t matter what the injury or outcome of the offender has on you, forgive them truly and you will start to enjoy the fruits of a pure heart. I would never find the words to describe what i went through with my offender, I was physically and spiritually attacked in so many ways.
But today I truly forgive her and wish her peace and happiness. I understand by doing so truly, it will be my first step to healing and happiness both physically and spiritually. Its my greatest prayer that the Almighty God will grant me this request. I congratulate everyone who decided to follow this wonderful steps towards forgiveness.
I’ve recently completed a memoir, Riding the Cyclone, the strange story of my chaotic, violent upbringing. As I began it, when the old faces began reappearing in my mind’s eye and the old conversations replaying in my head, I was surprised to discover how many people I wanted to thank. Or apologize to. In the pause between drafts, it dawned one me: hey, we have Google and Facebook now, I could probably find some of these people. I could still say thanks. Or even: I’m sorry, please forgive me. Now that was a scary thought. Took some getting used to. A few weeks, at least.
My first searches led to blind alleys; well, it had been forty years, after all. Then came the dreadful week in which I learned of first one death, then a second. Two thank-yous to swallow, one after the other, that slowed me way down. So it was a while before I had to face my first apology. The big apology. The one I dreaded. The day came, though, when I found myself staring at the home page of my old high school roommate, the one I blew up at. I’d raged at her with such volcanic fury that she’d fled the room in tears and wouldn’t return until I was gone. Then she moved her bed downstairs, where it barely fit. Dinah’s an artist now. She lives in a city on the east coast. Her website includes a Contact Me form. I clicked the button and began typing: “Greetings from your former high school roommate. [I felt sure that further elaboration was unnecessary. I knew she hadn’t forgotten. You don’t forget something like that.] I’m writing to say how very, very sorry I am for the way I exploded at you. I’ve regretted it for years, almost since the moment it happened. I hope you can forgive me. For what it’s worth, I never did anything like that again.” Her reply came soon. “I forgave you years ago. How are you?” We began corresponding. Finding a great deal to say to each other, we Skyped a few times. Eventually we got around to rehashing the incident that had triggered my outburst. “Wait a minute, you mean when you told the teacher I was doing drugs, you only meant pot? I didn’t even know about the LSD!” Together, we burst into laughter. Okay, I was no choir girl in high school; I was, admittedly, a mess. But to be able to laugh now at the whole thing as a colossal misunderstanding–how good that felt! I missed forty years of Dinah’s friendship, and for that, I’m truly sorry. But I have it now, and that feels wonderful.
I missed over forty years of Elly’s friendship, and it looks like I’m going to keep missing it. Elly is another person due an apology, for an older hurt. A deeper one. It didn’t take long to discover that the black girl (Negro, as we said in ’66) who was my friend in 8th grade, the girl I’d invited over to my house one Saturday and then, at the last minute, disinvited, was now a college professor. No surprise, she always was smart; it was one of the things I’d liked her for. I had her email address for months before I managed to use it. I rewrote that mail about fifty times. The message I finally sent was short and, despite the promise of the first line, didn’t explain much: “Greetings, and a very belated apology and explanation from your former friend and classmate. But the truth is so melodramatic. Over the top.The monster was there. If you’d come, you would’ve been hurt even worse. The woman my father paid to take care of me was a violent psychotic. But she wasn’t supposed to be there that afternoon. I’d been counting on her absence when I invited my friend over. Maybe I shouldn’t have invited her; it was too risky. But I was so lonely. It was so good, for once, to have a friend. And the crazy woman wasn’t supposed to be there. But she was, so my friend couldn’t come. She would’ve screamed at her, and who knows what? She was ignorant, hostile, without social inhibitions. Big and strong, too; when I told her I’d invited a black kid over, she beat the crap out of me. Then my father demanded that I call and cancel. Maybe this is what I should’ve said, right off: I know I hurt you. I’m sorry; I’m still sorry. I have an awful feeling I hurt you in an already-open wound, and for that, I am especially sorry. But it was to spare you something worse.” But how can you send someone a message like that, out of the blue, after 46 years? The dry, sane email I sent her said much less. Later, I printed a letter that said a bit more, and sent it along with a copy of the book. Which, after all, tells the whole story.
That was months ago. I’ve had no reply. I don’t expect one. So be it. Can’t help thinking, though, what a shame it is. A loss, all around. My life would’ve been more interesting with a friend like Elly, certainly. Wouldn’t her life, too, be better without this hurt? And that woman my father hired, the one shouting nasty racial epithets and pummeling me to the floor, what was her problem? I’ll never know for sure. But I do know that when the Nazis occupied her home town of Kristiansand, Norway for five years, she was a teenager. Memories of hunger tormented her. The rest we can only imagine. Think World War II is past and gone? No, it lives on in a billion places, such as the heart and mind of a college professor born eight years after it ended. All the hurt and harm we do to each other does not vanish on its own. There’s only one way to erase it. For the whole story, see www.ridingthecyclone.com.