Sitting there at the kitchen table covered with coffee cups and an ashtray full of cigarette butts, I began to slowly comprehend that working on my problems wasn't the same as healing them. "You didn't forgive him." Those four words changed my life.
We are deeply imprinted by the suffering we have caused others. In the Buddhist teachings, such sensitivity can be intelligent and healthy -- it plays an important role in awakening and freeing our hearts.
Forgiveness doesn't mean you condone the behavior or, in any way, make a wrong right. It just means you give yourself permission to release from your past -- and step forward with the mud of resentment cleared from your wings.
Forgiveness means giving up the suffering of the past and being willing to forge ahead with far greater potential for inner freedom. Besides the reward of letting go of a painful past, there are powerful health benefits that go hand-in-hand with the practice of forgiveness.
Forgiveness is for YOU. It's your liberation from the relentless re-experiencing of a hurt. It releases you from the gnawing feeling of ick you feel inside each time you hear the person's name or see their face.
In this video, I talk about the importance of forgiving difficult relationships. I share a personal anecdote of how forgiveness released me from a past resentment and cleared space for a beautiful new relationship.
Life happens. My question is: How can we find true and lasting forgiveness? Can you look past the sometimes rapidly-imposed judgments and attempt to see through our eyes why things happened as they did?
The best thing that anyone of us can do with an action or statement that we now regret is to forgive ourselves, learn from our experience, apologize sincerely (if doing so is appropriate and available), and do better next time.