Generally speaking, we all tend to agree that forgiveness is a good thing.
…and as we go through this rollercoaster called life, the chances are that we will have reason to forgive one or two people along the way.
Maybe they’ve hurt our feelings.
Maybe they let us down.
Maybe they said something that upset us.
Maybe they took something from us.
Maybe they didn’t behave the way we wanted or expected them to.
Maybe they weren’t there when we ‘needed them’.
Whether it’s friends, family, work colleagues or a significant other, the chances are that you’ll come across the ‘forgiveness thing’ at some point or another.
So who is it you need to forgive?
The question I have for you though is “Are you forgiving the right person?”
In these kinds of situations, you might think that the answer is obvious.
If someone said something that upset us, then the person who needs forgiving is them, right?
If someone took something from us, then the person who needs forgiving is them…no?
If someone hurt our feelings, then the person who needs forgiving is them, is it not?
If someone let us down, then the person who needs forgiving is them…
…or is it?
You see, I had an experience with this during which I had a bit of an epiphany.
When I used to think about my ex-boyfriend, a lot of ‘stuff’ came up.
I was angry, hurt and embarrassed about what happened.
He dumped me the day before Valentine’s day, he left me broken hearted, he ‘borrowed’ the majority of my savings account and he lied to me.
He did this.
He did that.
Because when you’re hurt it’s so much easier to put the blame somewhere else.
It was his fault.
He was awful to me.
He was a bad person.
I knew I didn’t want to carry all this baggage around about the experiences that I’d had…so I knew it was time to forgive.
It felt like a tall order to forgive him…but I knew it was something I was doing for me, not him.
One morning I was journaling about this when it suddenly hit me.
It would have been so easy to stay in the role of victim.
You see, the victim role can be comforting….it wasn’t my fault. It was all them.
When you’re in the victim role you get people sympathising and empathising with you. You get comforted, and reassured that this wasn’t your fault, and you weren’t to blame. You get compassion and kindness.
But I didn’t want to be a victim…and in reality, I wasn’t.
I made choices along the way that contributed to the situation I found myself in.
I chose to lend money to him, when I could see that he wasn’t making any of his own. I chose to believe what he told me, when his promises hadn’t been kept before. I chose to give my heart.
Who did I need to forgive?
It suddenly became clear.
The person who I needed to forgive wasn’t him.
It was me.
I needed to forgive myself for giving money, with the best of intentions.
I needed to forgive myself for trusting in a promise…because I wanted it to be true.
I needed to forgive myself for giving my heart to someone who wasn’t in a position to keep it safe.
I needed to forgive myself for not being a better judge of character.
Eleanor Roosevelt once said “No-one can make you feel inferior without your consent”….well in reality no-one can make you feel anything without your consent.
I needed to forgive myself for giving that consent.
This was not about making myself wrong for the choices I took, as I thought they were the right choices at the time. This was simply about forgiving myself for taking them.
The funny thing is that there was a lot of good that came out of our relationship too…for a start the very website through which you found this article was something that he originally helped me to create.
But feeling so hurt by what had happened, I didn’t even want to acknowledge that at first.
What’s interesting about this is that by perceiving him to be far worse in my mind than he really was, by ignoring the good and focusing only on the bad…I was actually hurting myself more.
As I had chosen to be with him, if he was this terrible person, then I was a terrible judge of character. The more terrible I perceived him to be, the worse judge of character I was…and the more I needed to forgive myself for!
Now don’t get me wrong…I’m not saying that he didn’t make some bad choices. He did.
But for me…forgiving myself for the choices I made was where I needed to begin.
Because in forgiving myself I got to take responsibility for my situation.
In forgiving myself I got to take back the personal power I relinquished by being a ‘victim’.
In forgiving myself I was able to begin to let it go.
In forgiving myself I felt lighter, more peaceful, and much freer.
As Bryant H McGill said “There is no love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love.”
So forgiving yourself is a beautiful way of demonstrating self-love, in a deep, real and profound way.
As we know, emotionally connecting with ourselves is a key aspect of femininity…and learning to forgive yourself is an important step in learning to F.L.Y. – First Love Yourself.
AND it’s important to remember if it hadn’t been for that relationship, the path it set me on, and the lessons I learned, I wouldn’t be where I am now.
Using my gifts to help women and men around the world to find love…and enjoying life with a man who is everything I could have wished for and more.
So when you think about forgiving anyone…start first with yourself, it makes the rest of the journey a lot lighter.