People get in arguments. Small situations grow into giant problems, causing you to spend countless hours obsessing over things. In your head, the Negativity Beast tricks you into getting caught in the endless loop of:
- They could’ve…
- I should’ve…
- If only we would’ve…
Unfortunately, the “Could’veShould’veWould’ves” are only productive if you also have a time machine and a mind control ray. Since the majority of us live in the real world where we don’t have these things, we instead have one tool: Forgiveness.
And that brings us to the subject of this week’s Thoughtful Thursday…
The Gift of Forgiveness
“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” ~ Lewis B. Smedes
Forgiveness is For YOU
Here’s the thing: The Negativity Beast likes it when you stay in a pointless cycle of dwelling on the past because it stops you from focusing on the here and now. (And you sure can’t prepare for the future!) The trick to this is making us to believe that forgiving someone who’s wronged us – even the ones who really wronged us – makes us weak or somehow excuses the behavior we’re forgiving.
It does not.
Instead, what it does is allow you to move on; it releases you from whatever pain you may still be experiencing from the situation. In the end, we don’t forgive because we think our pain is unjustified or that the other person has suffered enough. We forgive because WE have suffered enough.
The pain you release through forgiveness is your own.
What if I’m Not Ready for Things to Go Back the Way They Were?
Here’s another lie the Negativity Beast LOVES to pull from its wicked bag of tricks: If you forgive someone for something they did, you have to let them back into your life as though nothing ever happened.
Yes, you can let things go back to the way they were and act as though you were never hurt. In time, perhaps this is the ultimate goal, but it’s not a requirement for forgiveness. You can forgive a person for what they did to you without restoring the original relationship.
Sometimes, situations irrevocably change a relationship, turning the original into little more than a wisp of smoke in the wind. That’s okay. The point of forgiveness is that YOU let go of the pain holding you in its clutches. Nothing more.
Forgiveness does not always guarantee the restoration of trust.
What Do You Need to Forgive?
As you consider the issues in your life this week, I’m willing to bet that at least one stems from an old grudge you continue to hold onto, letting it fester in multiple areas of your life. Perhaps now is the right time to let yourself forgive so that you can move on to a more positive frame of mind. In fact, now IS the best time to allow yourself to let go of your pain because it’s hurt you long enough.
The only question that remains is: Will you?
“If you can change your mind, you can change your life.”
Photo Credit: Marta Crowe via Wikipedia, Creative Commons
© 2011, Jen Whitten. All rights reserved. Using content from The Positive Piper without permission will cause the Negativity Beast to attack. BEWARE!