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Forgiveness: A Personal Issue

Updated: Apr 21


There are a lot of therapists, healers, teachers and religious writings that talk about forgiveness and why it's important. For this 3 minutes blog, I want to give forgiveness a different spin. Like all things that happen to us and around us, they are filtered through our own minds. They are given voice and vision by our own imagination and words. We see the world through our own eyes. It is the same with forgiveness. It is a personal experience.


Forgiveness then, has nothing to do with other people or the outer world. It has nothing to do with those situations that harmed us or people who did us wrong. In fact, it has nothing to do with reality even. It does, however, have to do with you. It has to do with what you tell yourself, and how you carry emotions. And, no one can do anything about what you tell yourself or how you feel inside, except YOU.


First, when you have thoughts that tell you that you are a victim (of anything), then you're repeating a pattern of thought that gives away your power to feel and behave the way you want. You give away your control to do anything about how you feel or how you respond to life. You give away your ability to find peace and feel good. Second, when you blame others for how you feel or how your life situation looks today, you again take away your power to take control and change your situation. This is still a form of victimhood. Third, when you do not allow a negative experience to move away from you and be gone forever, you are the one keeping the negativity around you. Remember, no one else can control how you think or respond, except YOU.


Forgiveness, then, is a personal problem. It is something that gives you a chance to control the outcome of your experience, and no one can do it for you. If you chose to experience what we call forgiveness, you have freed yourself from negative thoughts and feelings. If you choose not to experience forgiveness, you run the risk of feeling terrible for a long time. It's really that simple.


I'm going to give you an example to make things more clear. Let's say your intimate partner has an affair that you find out about. You feel hurt, betrayed, and no longer feel you can trust that person. You might behave calmly, or you might act crazy. No matter what, your internal system is shocked, and your arousal pattern is triggered. No matter how you react - go running, thrown things, have a drink, cuss and start crying, yell - you're shaken up. You have decisions to make. You may do things to hurt your partner to get back at them, you may walk away, or you may do many things in between. But, you, and only you, decide what you do in response to learning that your partner had an affair. You have no control over what your partner did, but you do have control over what you do.


Now, regardless of what you do (break up, go to therapy, stay together, etc) or how you feel, you have a choice to make, eventually. Do you blame your partner for a miserable life experience, or do you forgive and let yourself feel good anyway. Most people say that you have a right to feel terrible, and of course you do. You have a right to feel any way you want. What I am suggesting here is that given any situation that takes place around you or to you, to forgive or not to forgive, is about you letting yourself have a chance to feel good, or keeping yourself feeling terrible. Period. Only you can allow internal forgiveness, a letting go of trying to control what happens around you, and give yourself a chance to feel good about yourself no matter what. Forgiveness, then, has nothing to do with other people. It only has to do with what you do inside yourself.

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As always, please contact me at theresamarschik@thecenterofloveandacceptance if you are interested in therapy or therapeutic discussions of how you can feel better in you life experience.







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