The Hard Work (and Art) of Forgiveness

Forgiveness is a common theme in my office. Forgiveness of ourselves.

And, forgiveness of our loved ones.

Much like the art of letting go, forgiveness can be one of life's trickiest bitches.

We must learn to forgive

I believe the people hurting the most on this earth are the ones who are holding onto to things that simply cannot be changed; past hurts, betrayals and disappointments. Especially the ones committed by our loved ones against us. The ones we really don't have control over.

When we hold onto these past hurts they very easily eat us from the inside out and don't move us to being who we are truly meant to be.

When we hold onto these past hurts we live our lives from fear and not love.

When we hold onto these past hurts we are the only ones holding ourselves back from moving forward.

The art of forgiveness

As Desmond Tutu writes, "Forgiveness opens the door to peace between people and opens the space for peace within each person. The victim cannot have peace without forgiving..."

As Matthew B. James writes, "Flow love to the other person. Release the hurt, retain the learning."

The hard work of forgiveness

And, as I wrote to one of my friends in a text message,

"You work on forgiving her for yourself, for your own well being and sanity. Not because she deserves it or because she will change.

And, you work on loving the parts of her that you do appreciate and continually work on accepting her limitations (practicing loving compassion).

It's sucks, it's hard and feels impossible.

But, that's what I'm continuously working on with the forgiveness of my past hurts.

For myself.

And you attempt to move forward with an open heart but with a nice privacy fence of boundaries not a brick wall. Because that isn't who we are or who we want to be.

Move forward with a protected heart with boundaries and not a guarded heart with brick walls. It may look the same from the outside but your intentions on the inside are very different."

 
 

We forgive to find peace.

We forgive to live from a place of love and not fear.

We forgive for ourselves.

We forgive now because there may never be anything that can be done to make up for the hurt. And, it definitely cannot be taken back or erased. But, holding onto it and withholding forgiveness only keeps us stuck in the hurt, reliving it every single day.

As with just about everything I work with my clients on, write about and practice myself, it is much easier said than done.

Simple but not easy.

I am figuring out this life is more of an art.

An art of faith. An art of practice. An art of forgiveness. An art of hard work. An art of letting go. An art of love. An art of acceptance. An art of redefining. An art of courage.

An art of ever upward.

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If you found this post enjoyable, inspiring, helpful, hopeful, interesting or even infuriating ;), please take the time and the chance to share it through your social media! More shares means more eyes, means more people helped and the message heard on a wider scale. Thank you! Justine

A Quick Lesson in Forgiveness for LeBron and Dan

I say it often in my office with clients. And, I know I have written it before. But, some words of wisdom don't really need to change much to continue to hold the power they do for us. We all do the very best we know how in any given moment of our lives. If we had known better, we would have chosen better. Even when we are really making a mistake or hurting ourselves or others, we are doing the very best we know how in that given moment.*

Just as the late and amazing light Maya Angelou wrote, "Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better."

 
 

This is where we can find our power in forgiving ourselves and others.

This is where we can find our power in truly learning, improving and changing.

This is where we can find our power in trusting our stories, every single part of them.

Letting Go of Regret and Resentment

For me, this is how I've let go of regret and resentment. This does not mean I haven't made many mistakes in my life, it simply means I refuse to be defined by them. Letting go of regret and resentment also does not mean I haven't learned many, many lessons from these mistakes.

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Just as both LeBron James and Dan Gilbert are needing to forgive one another and themselves for how things have played out over the last four years. We do the best we know how in that given moment; learning to forgive ourselves and others, letting go and learning to never define ourselves and our relationships in our regrets and resentments is how we wash away our shame, guilt and embarrassment.

It is how we move forward to even more amazing times.

For me, this work and my faith help in this letting go of regrets because I know and trust His way.

Learning to Forgive

Learning to forgive and to let go takes power away from regret. I believe, many times, our regrets only fester into resentments. And, resentments, well, they eat us from the inside out; stealing our light, shaming our spirit and suffocating our stories.

We must forgive. We must accept and embrace. And, we must own every part of our stories. These are choices, I think, we must make to save ourselves and to change our lives, to be happier and healthier versions of ourselves.

These are the choices, the practices and the work of recovery, of life.

Hopefully, these are the choices that LeBron and Dan can make. The choice to forgive and move forward. The choice to acknowledge that the scars may never go away. But, by practicing the work of forgiveness and letting go they can truly get another chance together.

It is only through this ever upward work and recovery that any of us can trust in ourselves and our stories and truly forgive ourselves and others through to no regret.

If you found this post enjoyable, inspiring, helpful, hopeful, interesting or even infuriating ;), please take the time and the chance to share it through your social media! More shares means more eyes, means more people helped and the message heard on a wider scale. Thank you! Justine

*Outside of the extreme case of a sociopath of course.*