2-26-23 Forgiving


To Forgive – To cease to feel resentment against. Excuse, pardon, disregard, release.

Antonyms – Resent, hold accountable, retaliate, hold a grudge.

Forgiveness, in a psychological sense, is the intentional and voluntary process by which one who may initially feel victimized or wronged, goes through a change in feelings and attitude regarding a given offender, and overcomes the impact of the offense including negative emotions such as resentment and a desire for vengeance (however justified it might be).

Forgiveness is fundamentally for our own sake, for our own mental health. It is a way to let go of the pain we carry.

We may have resentments, regrets about things “we” have done. We need to address those past transgressions and begin believing in ourselves, our humanness and our spirituality. That was who we were, not who we are. We may use a program to address past resentments of ourselves, or counciling, but we know we will make mistakes, like everyone does, and will rectify them the best we can. If we need outside help, we get it, if we need to be on some medication we do it. We do not shirk at becoming a better, more honest and kinder person. We believe in ourselves and our capacity to keep growing, learning and expanding our spiritual life, through right actions.
We also learn which situations and people enhance us and which ones darken us, and we choose the healthiest road. We change our playgrounds and playmates for the better.

Forgiveness of ourselves and of others is a necessary combination to pursue. As we join
forgiving and connecting more spiritually with ourselves and others, the clouds begin to part and the sunlight of the spirit begins to shine more strongly. But we need to make the effort, to have an active habit of forgiveness that is a normal part of our routine of who we are and how we live. It takes dilligence to displace the weight of the past and step willingly into a new consciousness of peace and contentment. Progress occurs with effort, not wishful thinking. 

When you have resentments, even small ones — at people that don’t drive well, people at work, family, acquaintances, partners, or neighbors, we maintain a state of mind that is negative and waiting for the next “mistake” they will make so we can add that to the list. So many small unimportant things keep us weighed down, and going nowhere.

Resentments are juicy, they have an energy that feeds a negative ego and gives us a sense of superiority, or of being a victim, and creates a distance from “them.” In feeling a victim the world becomes smaller and more hurtful. You lose the reality of wonder, curiosity and kindness. If you respond with anger and negativity, even if you are “right,” beyond the ego boost you feel, you know that you are acting petty and superficially. With negative outlooks or responses you won’t need to wonder why you keep getting negativity from others.
“Hatred never ceases by hatred, but by love alone is healed. This is the ancient and eternal law.” —Buddha

“And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today…. I need to concentrate not so much what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and my attitudes. If I focus on a problem, the problem gets bigger; if I focus on the answer, the answer increases.” Big Book. 

Any resentment that is not dealt with will remain, and continue to be a dark cloud in our hearts. If we keep replaying our resentment, they fester and grow, even if we don’t want them to — it just keeps coming up in our thoughts — it will define us and our view of ourselves and others. We can get used to living in a subconscious negative state and not really know it, it just seems normal. If we keep playing the same song over and over, it will be all that we can hear. We need to consciously overcome negativity and begin to be responsible for our spiritual wellbeing.

Resentment is the “number one” offender. It destroys (more lives) than anything else. From it stem all forms of spiritual disease…

Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the present and enhance the future.

Jack Kornfield – Forgiveness is not weak. It demands courage and integrity. Yet only forgiveness and love can bring about the peace we long for.

When we practice forgiveness individually, we start by recognizing that we have all betrayed and hurt others, just as we have knowingly or unknowingly been harmed by them. It is inevitable in this human realm. Sometimes our betrayals are small, sometimes terrible. Extending and receiving forgiveness is essential for redemption from our past. To forgive does not mean we condone the misdeeds of another. We can dedicate ourselves to make sure they never happen again. But without forgiveness the world can never be released from the sorrows of the past. Someone quipped, “Forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past.” Forgiveness is a way to move on. It is painful to hate. Without forgiveness we perpetuate the illusion that hate can heal our pain and the pain of others. In forgiveness we let go and find relief in our heart.

Forgiveness does not mean you have to seek out or speak to those who caused you harm. You may choose never to see them again. Forgiveness is an act of the heart, a movement to let go of the pain, the resentment, the outrage that you have carried as a burden for so long. It is an easing of your own heart. We have all been harmed, just as we have at times harmed ourselves and others.

For most people forgiveness is a process. When you have been deeply wounded, the work of forgiveness can take time. It will go through many stages—grief, rage, sorrow, fear, and confusion—and in the end, if you let yourself compassionately feel the pain you carry, it will come as a relief, as a release for your heart.

Forgiving may be hard, but there is no better way to pursue a healthy growth and expansion of the mind and the heart. We can step outside our darkness into the light, drop the weights that constrict the soul, and be amazed at all the things we were missing and fully enjoy and engage in a much brighter and fuller life, and help others do the same.

Forgiveness is a virtue of the brave. Indira Gandhi

How do you fill your bucket? One drop at a time

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step
The great arises out of small things that are honored and cared for
May you be well. May you be happy. May you find peace.
Heart Of Recovery web site  — fcheartofrecovery.com