Think really quick about the last time you apologized to a co-worker, a spouse, a child, or anybody really…what did that other person say after you said “sorry.” Ninety-five percent of the people come up with: “that’s ok.”
Really?… “that’s ok.” It is ok that I just hurt you? OK to invalidate my whole attempt at forgiveness? I think there is a much better way to do things, and this second Truth is all about it: forgiveness.
What is forgiveness? I have worked with so many coaching and therapy clients who are really stuck because they have a very difficult time seeing that forgiveness is first and foremost a decision, it is an act of the will. It does’t excuse the hurt that was done, but it is a decision to let go of the retribution.
I don’t know about you, but if I need to wait to feel like forgiving somebody it ain’t going to happen! I know myself too well. I don’t feel like forgiving people who have hurt.
But, I can do what research suggests: I can make a decision to say “I forgive you ______.” Even if the person is not around to hear these words, they help me heal.
The studies that have been done on forgiveness are very impressive. When I make a decision to forgive somebody and I can say the words “I forgive you______” some great things happens to my body: blood preassure can drop, heart rate can become healthier, my immune system works better, and my sleeping can be more restful.
Even though, I think forgiveness is primarily a decision, it is equally important to process the hurt feelings that you have with safe people. This can lead to more healing, and help our
feelings catch up the truth of forgiving somebody in our life.
How about you? Do you need to work on forgiveness? How do you define forgiveness?
We must also make it a habit of forgiving ourself. This can actually be harder than forgiving others. So when I have messed up I ask God for forgiveness and the person I have offended ( when appropriate), then I like to put my hand on my heart and say “Jim, I forgive you.”
Do you need to work on forgiving yourself? If so, please don’t put it off any longer.
This ritual of self-forgiveness is an excellent way to create a healthier you…which brings us to our last truth of transformation…making time for you!