As we approach Thanksgiving, everyone is talking about being grateful.  Anyone who reads this Blog knows I am a strong proponent of Gratitude. Forgiveness is a marvelous key to open the gates of appreciation.

I have had many discussions with those who say complete forgiveness is impossible.  There are just some things which are unforgivable.  How can I forgive someone who is so clearly in the wrong, or has hurt me so deeply? Fiddle faddle!  I don’t know if I can convince the doubters, but maybe my humble treatise on forgiveness may help change the minds of one or two.

When something happens which creates one of those difficult things to forgive, your heart is filled with anger, hurt or disappointment.  And those feelings grip you tightly.  They crowd your mind with thoughts of the incident over and over.

Forgiveness could be another word for release.  What it does is release your heart and mind from its constant churning. That’s all.  It might have some residual benefits for the other person, but only if that person loves or cares for you.  The big and important change is in you.  It is all about bringing more peace to you.

I had an experience recently with someone who hurt me deeply and left a trail of destruction in her wake. She is out of my life now; I made my peace with her.  But I still think of the situation too often, wanting some kind of vindication. Only total forgiveness will free me from this. That forgiveness will not offer her anything and it will never erase what she’s done.  It will, though, lighten my heart and my mind.

With that lightness comes more energy.  Anyone who has not forgiven knows the amount of energy (and time) given when you are in that state. When you can’t get it out of your head. (I’ve also been known to spend a lot of ink on the subject.)  There’s so much you can regain simply by releasing all your angst around the situation.

Acceptance is part of the process of forgiveness.  I am of the belief that Acceptance is a truly powerful gift we have.  The simple act of acceptance can profoundly effect every aspect of your life.  Just think how easy life would be if you accepted everything that happened to you!  Far from making you weak, it keeps you from getting bogged down in trying to change things you can’t and empowers you to change what you can.  The first step to releasing is accepting what happened.

When you get really good at accepting, you negate the need for forgiveness.  You forgive in the next breath and keep moving. Like magic, the need for forgiveness evaporates right before your eyes.  This doesn’t mean you won’t be careful next time. In fact, without the cloud of unforgiveness you are likely to be more aware and avoid the kinds of situation which can cause you to need to forgive.

This acceptance and release gives you much more space for gratitude.

Forgiveness NEVER says it’s okay to harm another.  Nor does it eliminate the possibility of punishment for the other. It has nothing to do with any of that.  Forgiveness offers the forgiver calm, happiness, lightness, clarity and flowing gratitude. Pretty good stuff!

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