I love new beginnings and the wonderful promise they bring. And as we welcome this gorgeous new month, let’s take a moment to release all the unwanted baggage hanging on our backs. Nothing weighs us down like the baggage of unforgiveness whether directed at ourselves or others.
To forgive means to give up on your revenge or to let go of your hatred. There is a simple reason for this. The only person that hatred will ever harm is the hater. When you hate, or have negative thoughts about others, your body creates all the negative chemistry that will ultimately damage your body. It raises your blood pressure, hardens your arteries and leads to stroke, heart attacks, ulcer, back ache, neck ache, head ache and dementia. Then comes the nausea, irritable bowel, eczema, asthma and so on.
We refuse to forgive because we feel morally obligated to hang on to pain. We feel that we deserve to feel bad for having allowed people to offend us. How could I be so stupid? What was I thinking? Was I even thinking?
The truth is if you keep focusing on those guilt-inspiring moments of your life you will never get anywhere. Everyone makes mistakes and you are no exception. Open your heart and seek forgiveness through words, actions, thoughts or prayer. Offer a sincere apology to those you may have hurt. If you’re still hurting and are unable to transcend the pain, honor where you are. Give yourself as much time and space to heal and to forgive.
Write yourself a letter with detailed expression of the painful experience. Put time into this act and decide that when you are done, you’ll really let it go.
Making amends is the other side of forgiveness. One can take place without the other. You can forgive even if the offender has not apologized or asked for forgiveness. Waiting for an apology only blocks the ability to forgive. You can also make amends whether or not the person you offended is willing or able to forgive your wrongdoing, or whether or not they want to accept your apology or effort to make amends.
Admit the wrongdoing without explaining yourself. There are always reasons why we do things which we regret later on. The reason for our behavior doesn’t matter. And no reason can justify an inappropriate behavior nor does it make it acceptable.
Once your heart is light and your soul is free, it is time for you to live your life without guilt or shame. Live out loud. Stop hiding. Stop holding yourself back. Stop worrying what people think of you or say about you. If you are waiting for someone to tell you how great you are so you can embrace your greatness, then you, my friend will wait forever.
Today have the courage to live exactly as you are. Have faith in yourself and in your God. Stand by your values and principles. But most importantly, love yourself enough to drown the noise of the world and pump up the volume of the music of your soul. Live out loud. Live free.