Why Forgiveness Is An Inside Job
Almost two years ago, I had a falling out with a dear friend who held a very important role in my life. It was my fault, and we haven’t had any interaction since. While it was very heartbreaking at the time, I can see it now for what it was, with the clarity and peace that only time, hindsight, and new awareness can provide. I can see now that the situation was exactly what I needed in order to gain entrance to the next phase of healing, growth, and purpose for myself in my life.
It’s not easy
It’s a tricky thing, finding forgiveness in a situation that involves more than one person when you only have access to yourself. This person was not available to forgive me, so I had to take myself through the process alone. I was given such a unique opportunity in this situation with my friend to let go of all the normal needs I had for being at peace and for being whole, especially when it comes to relationships. Instead of hoping to reconcile with another person, I only had the choice to reconcile with myself. So, I went inward.
On this journey inward, I learned a thing or two about the yogic notion that we call Ahimsa, or nonviolence. I learned that I have a historic pattern for judging (or flogging) myself when I have made a mistake in a relationship. I learned that when I am in conflict with others, I want to “FIX” it immediately, so any feelings of shame or disconnection can instantly be minimized and remedied. I learned that it is almost all-consuming sometimes, this energy I devote to wanting to make things right on the inside; to take away any discomfort or pain.
And I began to learn that all of these things – shame, guilt, judgment, fear – anything that acts in direct opposition to or pushes love away, is an act of violence towards myself or others. And that shit can really start to add up over time.
Conduits for emotions
We are meant to be conduits for our emotions, rather than containers. We are meant to be healed on the inside, rather than reservoirs for our pain. This situation with my friend allowed me to learn how to experience my emotion and let it move through me, rather than wallow and roll around in my suffering and misery. Sometimes I find it helpful to think of emotions, especially uncomfortable or painful ones, as “ENERGY-IN-MOTION.” It is not my job necessarily to change or to fix the way that I feel, but rather it is my job to experience each sensation fully, and then let it go, to see where it has left me on the other side.
Ho’oponopono is the ancient Hawaiian practice of forgiveness. It is comprised of four simple statements, that can be sent out to one’s Self or others in the form of a mantra or prayer. Sometimes it’s difficult to sort out who was right or wrong, who said or did what, which part is mine and which part is not. These four statements together have the ability to cover it all, somehow. Uttering this prayer might be one way to allow whatever is coming up for you to be acknowledged, honored, felt, and released.
Please forgive me.
I love you.
Where can this prayer heal your life right now?
How might you be pushing love away? On the inside, and on the outside?
How much bandwidth do you spend judging (harming) yourself? Those around you? What else could you do with this time and energy instead?
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